This is the big opening, the tremendous event we have all been waiting for : Repercussions at The Warehouse Project! spanning over two venues Mayfield Depot and Freight Island next door, this event is huge, with a sold out show and some amazing artists like Goldie, Fred Again, Nightmares on Wax, and Little Simz on the list... mind blown! We were pumped and ready!
It's about a 40-minute walk from where I live in Salford to the venue. Middle of the day on a Saturday afternoon. We left our apartment block and it was obvious we were following a couple who were also heading the same way. Each street we crossed, every apartment block we passed, more and more eager ravers joined the walk. By the time we made it to the Manchester city border, we had a herd of about 40 ravers all dressed in their best festival gear.
As we got closer to the venue it was becoming apparent the sheer scale of the event, and just how important it is for our scene and the fans attending. Thousands of eager partygoers crowded the streets around Manchester Piccadilly train station, a level of excitement and eagerness laced the air. One of the first overwhelming positives was just how kind and accommodating the security and box office staff were, despite the chaos and thousands of moving parts around them. The security checks were quick and painless, leading us into the action in just a few moments.
First arriving in the concourse room, you get a sense of just how large-scale production that Warehouse Project is. A huge lighting display fills all corners of the room, bouncing to the kick drum of Leon Vynehall’s pacing set. The long room snakes a full 360 around the stage, and boasts a platform on one side of the room, offering ravers an intimacy that isn’t offered anywhere else in the city. What was almost entirely unbelievable at this point, is that this was only the second room.
Arriving in the Main Depot room almost took my breath away. The high factory ceiling combined with the rows and rows of metal supports latticing the main room, giving it a dark and industrial feel you’d usually associate with that of the late 90s. Fitting with that theme, I managed to catch Goldie Presents Subjective Ensemble, one of the more diverse sets of the evening, weaving together beautifully melodic synths, soulful vocal lines and liquid smooth jungle beats.
Jamz Supernova followed after a short interval, throwing out a ludicrously groove-encompassed set, featuring soulful house cuts, afrobeat-inspired disco tracks and downright thumping 4-to-the-floor beats. flinging us high, keeping us buzzing - we were only getting started!
A short break for some fresh air later, I made my way to the Archives room. This is where the real magic was happening. Boasting a stage that is very reminiscent of the old Store Street main room. Think lower ceiling, long tunnel-like shape with archways on the side to exit and enter from. The stage easily had the best sound of the night too, maintaining perfect sound no matter your position in the room, something the two larger rooms struggled with. Firstly I managed to catch the last half of Nightmares On Wax, who as I’m sure everyone is aware, always smashes it. Technical mixing, making his way through mixes of house and melodic breakbeats. Gilles Peterson followed, spanning nearly 4 decades of dance music in his set. Everything from disco classics, 90’s house and even some soulful drum and bass towards the end. The crowd had begun to thin out as the headline names began to start on the other stages, unfortunately for them, they easily missed the two best sets of the night, if not the year so far.
Nia Archives started the audio assault by shelling out technical old-school jungle rhythms at a relentless pace. A beautiful selection of beats from around the 160bpm-170bpm spectrum. The vibe on the dance floor was reaching levels of insanity I had never experienced at WHP. As if by magic, maybe the only DJ who could top such a spectacular set, just happened to be on straight after.
Sherelle, undoubtedly the UK’s most exciting DJ in any genre, comes to the stage with her usual boisterous confidence. Her insane mash-up of all things fast and heavy (think old school hardcore meets new school jungle, with stop-offs at speed garage and gabbar along the way), offers such an exciting take on rave music in a time where we are dominated by safe, and often stale DJ sets. Luckily for me, this was the third time I’d seen Sherelle this summer, and each time was more exciting and wilder than the last. This set was no exception. It almost seemed a shame she wasn’t on a bigger stage, but in retrospect the Archive room was just perfect, lending all its gloomy features to the fast and punishing beats.
Due to the level of busyness, there were certain acts and stages that I had planned to see that unfortunately weren't possible. However, I ended up spending a lot more time in the smaller rooms, watching acts I’d not necessarily planned to see otherwise, and in all honesty, ended up enjoying myself much more because of it. Even with aches littering my entire body after a lengthy night of dancing, it’s hard not to be excited for the next trip to The Warehouse Project.
Moral of the story; please go and see the new music!!