– THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT, MANCHESTER –

This is the first night of The Warehouse Project’s final series of events at Store Street. The car park under Piccadilly Station has been an ideal venue for some jaw dropping lineups over the last few years, the abandoned Boddington’s Factory was the first temporary home in 2006 and Manchester’s abundance of disused industrial buildings should leave plenty of options for WHP to continue in a new home next year.

True to form, tonight’s lineup borders on the obscene. SBTRKT holds the main stage just before midnight, he works his slightly glitchy work station while wearing a tribal, bearded mask, blending eclectic choices with his own signature tunes that include the pulsing ‘Wildfire’; Yukimi Nagano’s voice adding refreshment over the wobbly beats. Build up and the timing of the drops are perfect, though technical stuttering mars an otherwise superb set.

DJ Shadow customarily¬†addresses the crowd before stepping into his ‘Sphere’. He assures us all the material we are about to hear is original and he hope’s we’ll all enjoy ourselves. There’s little doubt we will, I’ve seen him live a few times already and 27 years of DJing ensures his live performance will be flawless and polished.

The large white pod, centre stage, houses his control deck and initially he can’t be seen. Images are projected onto the sphere and the back wall, combining with stunning affect. Cartoon and pixelated robots fly through the air and slash each other with chainsaws. At times it appears as though the pod is spinning at an incredible speed while the encased Josh Davis mashes up his sublime back catalog into a dizzying medley. Beats come and go and fluctuate, spanning too many genre’s to bother attempting to note, and leave the crowd mesmerised as they stare at the equally impressive visuals.

Onlookers include a mix of older fans from the mid 90’s and a new breed who are discovering his talents. Wide eyed, sweaty 30’s somethings jerk manically with little regard for others around them, while others chose to observe from the side walls and quietly proclaim the next song as a “tune”. Teens struggle to find their rhythm during some incredibly heavy drum and bass, and hip-hop heads fan one arm towards the stage in respect. Shadow’s hand pops out of the top of the sphere to produce the first of many earsplitting cheers.

The globe rotates to reveal the headliner and his work station. An extended version of ¬†‘I Gotta Rokk’ from his forthcoming album ‘The Less You Know The Better’ cycles through all those genre’s in itself, before the also fresh ‘Redeemed’ slows things down, as the orb is transformed into the earth and is sent on a trip around the universe. Showstopper ‘Organ Donor’ is recognised early, the crowd rightfully go ballistic for the classic, stomping anthem, with a majority of arms raised high. He improvises the beat live on his drum pads, preferring to get involved with the moment, rather than just “pressing play on a harddrive”.

The show has surely peaked? A sing-along to ‘Six Days’ from ‘The Private Repress’ says not and prolongs the excitement. ‘This Time’, ‘Walkie Talkie’ and the distinctive growling guitar from ‘High Noon’ sustain the intensity until the house lights eventually disperse the heavy crowd, who still want more.

Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.