Croatian festival Love International last week returned to The Warehouse Project with yet another all star lineup, this time featuring the legendary Chicago house pioneer, Larry Heard, aka Mr Fingers. With the likes of Laurent Garnier, Gerd Janson and Philip Lauer’s German Detroit double act – Tuff City Kids, and the ‘oh so smooth’ Midland joining the fro, the night was set to be a turbo fuelled masterclass in deep Chicago house and Detroit techno.
However, as is always the case with Warehouse’s impossibly full lineups, there was far more to this night than one might have first thought. One of the greatest sets of the night came from a dark and conspicuously weird figure, in this overwhelmingly classic old school lineup: Joy Orbison.
Joy Orbison began as a bedroom dubstep producer in Croydon in the early 2000s and has since gone from strength to strength. Joy Orbison in his sets ventures into weird and distorted sound worlds that few dare explore. His daring and insatiable appetite for experimentation has always made him a treat to listen to and this occasion was no different. Set highlights included “Treja” by Neel and The Mover remix of Trappist’s “Cassegrain”.
On to a more conventional support act, Leon Vynehall, the king of nostalgia, paid a very fitting tribute to the house royalty in the building that night, playing the likes of Maurice Fulton’s iconic remix of DJ Nori’s Happy Sunday. Vynehall also added his own modern flavour to the mix bringing out Modeler’s 2011 release on Dubsided, “Mint Condition”.
Also on support duties was Midland, with an unusually early slot for someone of his standing due to a second booking in Leeds later that night in his old stomping ground, Wire Club. If a slightly tamer set than fans are used to, Midland still delivered, and for an eleven o’clock warm up set it was difficult to fault.
Headliner Larry Heard’s stage presence was immense. Whether it was real or mentally projected, Larry seemed to emanate authenticity and experience. Close associate Mr White joined Larry on stage to deliver smooth and soulful words to a euphoric crowd. It was a predictable performance but the atmosphere was electric and whatever their expectations prior, the audience were left feeling well and truly satisfied.
And then finally at quarter to 3 in the morning, Laurent Garnier stepped up to the decks to deliver a set to shut down all others. Garnier was quite at home in this Manchester setting, having played regularly in the 80s in Manchester’s iconic Hacienda club becoming one of the first major DJs to mix American house music in Britain. The Warehouse lights dazzled the crowd and the deep resonance of the Warehouse soundsystem sent shockwaves through the Store Street rafters. Laurent Garnier pulled out one mind blowing track after another: “Motions” by Skream, “ Atacama” by Audiofly and Patrice Baumel, and my personal favourite, Satoshi Fumi’s remix of Ian O’Donovan’ “Forever Untold”. It was a magnificent end to a historic night that was both brimming with nostalgia and infused with the new.
Photo courtesy of The Warehouse Project
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