Last Saturday some of Mau5trap’s finest parties beneath Store Street’s arches for the final time. With a two-hour slot from Canadian behemoth Joel Zimmerman being enough of a draw as it is, the rest of the lineup was populated by emerging talents from the big-room electro scene. With nothing really grabbing our attention before the main event, we found ourselves free to roam around and say goodbye to all four corners of Manchester’s most hedonistic car park.
Warming up for Deadmau5 is no easy gig. Keeping the dancefloor moving without being tempted to pull out similarly big-room electro takes some doing. Preceding Deadmau5’ own performance was Offaiah, an emerging young talent who released ‘Work It Out’ on Defected last month. I wasn’t familiar with the East Londoner’s own work before Saturday but his set leaned on enough popular anthems to win over any potential cynics. Strains of Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’ were woven through pumping house tracks as the atmosphere began to build. MonsterGetDown was also worthy of a mention, and looks like becoming a Mau5trap favourite having remixed ‘GG’ on the label’s recent ‘003’ collection.
Onto the show, and Deadmua5 himself was in fantastic form. There was enough material for Mau5-heads and techno fans alike, as he switched between popular singles and his altogether darker Testpilot alias. ‘Ghosts N Stuff’ was an emphatic singalong, whereas he teased elements of ‘Some Chords’ and ‘Complicated’ throughout his performance. Having recently brought the Testpilot project to Movement Festival in Detroit, it’s safe to assume that the EDM is held in equally high regard in the world of techno. Movement’s main stage is one of some repute, and nobody gets invited to play that gig without bringing some serious heat. We had an inkling for a few years that Deadmau5 would end up playing, and perhaps even producing, techno. If this is his new musical trajectory, then deal me in.
The music industry has changed a lot since Deadmau5 first established himself. House music swallowed EDM, and techno ate trap. It’s easy to see where an LED mouse head sits on the music landscape, but this night provided evidence that his following is as raucous and committed as ever. The transitions and visuals were flawless; the dancefloor was delirious. The organisation was, as ever, impeccable.
There is, however, a considerable but. This was the third time I’d been to the venue and each time the overcrowding had threatened to spoil the night . The walkways and revamp of the third room are both welcome but neither is enough to alleviate the 2am peak-time crush. Towards the end of the night Livsey was doing a stellar job of keeping Room 2 keen and the dancefloor was packed, though this was by accident rather than design. Many had come to see Deadmau5, been forced to the periphery of the dancefloor and been unable to get back in. Like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.
To that end, fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, and you begin to understand the decision to leave Store Street behind and find somewhere new. That may sound a bit clumsy, but there’s a valid point in there somewhere. Warehouse Project has outgrown its home both figuratively and literally. It’s time to move on to better and hopefully bigger things.
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