The Warehouse Project has always been about pushing underground music and putting on shows which people will remember. Many DJs say there is a special feeling about playing at a Warehouse Project show; the atmosphere, venue and the musical knowledge of the crowd brings world class talent to Manchester every year. 2014 marks a one year downsize of the Warehouse Project and a move from its home for the last two years in the giant Victoria Warehouse in Trafford to the venue which many people claim to be Warehouse Project’s true home; Store Street, an underground car park below Piccadilly station.
I entered Store Street to sounds of Manchester resident Juicy DJs warming up the already hefty crowd with big, bass heavy Hip Hop tracks. Danny Brown’s ‘Jealousy’ and RL Grimes & Salva’s huge remix of Kanye West’s ‘Mercy’ played as I entered and found my self a spot in the crowd. The warm up continued as preparation went on to set up the stage for Manchester’s own Bipolar Sunshine. Juicy DJs continued to please the growing crowd by joyfully selecting and mixing bass heavy electronic tracks with Hip Hop and the occasional old school Rap tune that got the whole crowd singing along. Particular highlights were hearing Hudson Mohawke’s newest release ‘Chimes’ play out over the huge Funktion One sound system fitted in room one and seeing the crowd respond so well to a completely different genre being presented to them. The room was still filling out and the anticipation for Harlem’s own A$AP Mob to arrive on stage was growing. Manchester’s Juicy DJs had set the tone perfectly and the crowd seemed ready for the inevitably rowdy set, as was I.
However Bipolar Sunshine came on stage, an artist who’s soulful electronic R&B took off online via Youtube's alternative electronic music channel Majestic Casual and has been on the rise ever since. His vocal led music switched up the atmosphere instantly and although the change was not what I was expecting or particularly enjoyed, the rest of the crowd seemed happy to listen to a short but concise set from the Manchester based band. A mass Sing-a-long happened when lead singer Adio Marchant played ‘Love More Worry Less’.
The move away from Hip Hop however was short lived as the lights dimmed and the attention was turned away from the front of the stage and to the left hand side where A$AP Twelvy was standing ready to crowd surf into the sea of people via a giant inflatable boat. The Harlem crew are never afraid to make a bold and eventful entrance. Over the next hour and a half set, the A$AP Mob’s impeccable crowd presence was really shown to its fullest. A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg, the most prolific of the A$AP members lead the evenings show. It was an absolute pleasure to watch the entire crew onstage and simultaneously sharing the experience with the crowd. The selection of tracks played throughout the night would have pleased both new and veteran fans of the A$AP Mob. I was slightly disappointed about the lack of tracks played from A$AP Rocky’s first solo album ‘Live Long A$AP’. Although, a selection of his solo tracks were played including ‘F**king Problems’, ‘Goldie’ and ‘Wild For The Night’ which all sent the crowd wild. The night seemed to focus on A$AP Mob collective tracks and giving each member their rightful limelight. However for me the tracks that were performed best on the night were from the Mob’s A$AP Ferg.
Highlights of these included Ferg’s ‘Shabba’ which when dropped sent the entire room jumping and the remix of Ferg’s ‘Work’ feat Schoolboy Q, Trinidad James and French Montana. If it were possible to point out a stand out member of the crew, A$AP Ferg would be given that title. Although Rocky himself has the most prolific solo career to date, for many A$AP Ferg is the member to watch most in the future.
Something which I was always concerned about the Warehouse Project, a mostly electronic music based event, hosting a purely Hip-Hop centred night was sound quality.
After seeing A$AP Rocky’s performance at this years Parklife Festival in Manchester, I was concerned that the sound issues that marred his performance would repeat here. The problem with having a Hip-Hop artist play on a sound system set up and configured for electronic music is that the artist’s vocals can easily be lost.
However, due to the A$AP Mob having the billing on the night to themselves it allowed the Warehouse crew to tinker the huge sound system to suit the style of music, something which clearly couldn’t happen with the tight scheduling of Parklife where A$AP Rocky played directly before and after electronic music artists and DJs. The sound seemed well balanced between vocals and production of the tracks which, for many, is just as important as the lyrics and their delivery.
Although this particular event will not be been seen as a standard Warehouse Project rave and it was really one of a few of its kind in the long running history of the night. The guys at WHP have once again proved they can put on a huge variety of events to cater for everyone without comprising on quality. The Warehouse Project continues to show Manchester that for the 12 weeks of the year they provide nights that you seriously don’t want to miss out on.
Words by Stan Platford
Images courtesy of Sebastian Matthes