As the 2015 Warehouse Project season draws to a close, yet again it seems even more important to soak up the massive line ups put on at their Store Street home. With Bicep having one of their busiest years to date it made perfect sense for the Belfast-born duo to curate their own line up for one of last WHP shows. The night had one of most packed line ups I’ve seen in a WHP show this season, making deciding what to see particularly tough.
As I arrived at Store Street, two more of 2015’s busiest and most sort after DJ’s were warming up room 1, Ben UFO and Jackmaster. The pair are usually used to playing headline slots at festivals and clubs across the world but their job here was slightly different. Instead of shelling down anything too hard the pair criss-crossed between genres, from Soul/Disco classics like Inner Life’s Ain't No Mountain High Enough to warm and pulsating house tracks like Red Axes’s Todum Todum. B2B sets can easily be frustrating to watch if the pairing isn’t right, however both Ben and Jackmaster seemed very much in-tune for the nights performance. Even when one of them threw a bit of a odd ball track in there it never felt jarring or badly timed. An unexpected highlight of their set was when Ben dropped a random Dancehall track which I’m still looking for an ID on.
After there was no need to move from my spot in the now fully packed room 1. Heidi another selector who has had a busy year provided a hour and a half of acid, house and techno. The London based DJ is famous for her “Jackathon’ parties and recently her Radio 1 residency. She provided a heavy dose of the more lively tracks that where on offer that evening. As usual, plenty of acid, vocal driven techno and house. This set felt suitably heavy after a relatively tame (but necessary) warm up previously. Heidi is a regular and favourite of The Warehouse Project, she often speaks out about Manchester and her love for the parties there. A fantastic set all round, but highlights included 4x4 heaven in the track Hous-O-Matik’s vicious track B.A.D.S and Aphrohead’s Grown Man Cryy (Carl Craig Remix). Heidi spoke out after the show praising her friend The Black Madonna’s set earlier in the night which i choose to miss out on in favour of Ben UFO and Jackmaster.
It was at this point in the night where picking between Room 1 and 2 started to become very difficult. First I decided to check out the second half of Daniel Avery in Room 2, the UK based techno producer who became particularly revered after his fantastic 2013 album Drone Logic was out to prove that his recent shift in production style to a more Berlin style of dark, brooding techno, was not going to change his ability to keep the crowd guessing and surprise his audience with tracks spanning multiple genres and tempos. I think Avery pulled out the set of the night, playing in my favoured Room 2 gives more dancing space and a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. In terms of track selection, highlights for me included a small but power spate of disco tracks and debuts of some of his newest tracks like the stunning Clear. Also powerful 90’s tracks like Paul Johnson’s I'm A Freak (And Your Girl Is Too) made for a super enjoyable set.
Although Room 2 in general is my preferred space, there is no doubt of the sheer enjoyment of watching Bicep shell down a packed out crowd with plenty of unheard edits, remixes and tracks. Their performance at the London leg of the Dekmantel parties held at Studio Spaces under the belt of the London club night The Hydria fell a bit flat, however the performance that night was significantly more lively, and amazingly well received. Manchester’s clubbing scene has a lot to offer, but there is nothing quite like the production values of the WHP shows, although maybe not the most sophisticated set of the night hearing some of 2015 most iconic underground tracks with that level of bravado is always going to be special.
In was down to Berlin favourite and Berghain resident Marcell Dettmann to close Room 1 and his brand of moody Techno seems to go down so perfectly at the closing stages of the night. However, he certainly doesn’t do things in half measures. Tracks like Hell’s Passionate! (Traxx Rework) stood out as he seemed to allow the full 10 minutes of the track to play out, a real builder.
Although one of the most difficult nights to navigate in terms of seeing everyone you wanted (credit to the programmer though for making the right decisions on room placement) it was another hugely enjoyable night. Both Avery and Heidi putting on the best performances of the night in my opinion. Warehouse Project really seems to have found it’s feet again, after multiple venue changes the programming and logistics of putting on such a huge night seems frankly easy now they have very much settled into their Store Street location. The venue seems familiar and easy to navigate, issues with sound which plagued the Victoria Warehouse location have all been resolved. A truly great end to my 2015 WHP season.
Words by Stan Platford
Photos courtesy of Gemma Parker