For those of you unfamiliar to the vast, maze-like cavern that is Manchester’s Warehouse Project circa 2012, it’s essentially 3 brutally undecorated rooms linked together by a series of equally bleak corridors. Throw in some monstrous sound systems, a mind blowing lighting rig and a few thousand (very) wide-eyed revelers and you’ve basically got the perfect venue for a Chemical Brothers homecoming show. The atmosphere is one of overwhelmingly joyous confusion, and for the first time visitor here tonight, it would seem more than easy to become wonderfully lost amidst the dry ice, maddening strobes and omnipresent sound of a 4/4 thump.
Fortunately I’ve had my fair share of Warehouse Project visits so I’m able to focus fully on the artists up for review here. Maya Jane Coles’ set seems to meet expectations, typically chock full of tech-y house it works well in matching the mood of room 1 from 10.30pm to 12am, with quick fire mixing ensuring that those still ‘travelling in an upwards trajectory’ aren’t left standing still for prolonged periods of time. Yet as the room continues to fill up, there seems to be more stressed movement amongst those pushing for a good place than there perhaps ought to be. Of course you can’t really complain about people being particularly eager to see a pair of legends as prolific as The Chemical Brothers, but being restricted in terms of dancing space does seem to harsh the vibes a little bit.
After Maya Jane Coles’ suitably rousing set, anticipation peaks as the real gems in tonight’s line up step up to the decks. Barely visible onstage thanks to the sheer scale of the venue coupled with the trippy visuals (standard Warehouse Project geometrics/space themed material) tonight, the duo noticeably shy away from spinning their own tunes, instead opting to trade their big beat formula for a hefty dose of Techno. Whilst this might sound like a disappointing act of stubbornness from the pair, it’s important to keep in mind that, after all, it did say on the flyer that we’d be getting a DJ set tonight as opposed to a LIVE one. And fair play to the boys, their selection throughout the evening is absolutely spot on in terms of finding a balance between pleasing and testing the crowd. Lengthy periods of downtime are received with grace and just at the point where it feels as though we’ve hit a duff track, the overdrive button is pushed and the entire room suddenly doubles with intensity as huge roars of euphoric reverence from the crowd echo the sudden release of musical energy. The room is utterly packed, but that’s irrelevant right now. Everyone still manages to find a way to dance in their own given space.
On a personal level, I’d been more than excited to see James Murphy DJ ever since his Boiler Room set earlier this year, yet it was an excitement that remains unfulfilled. Not because Murphy didn’t rise to expectations. More because The Chemical Brothers entire set is so captivating that it is simply unmissable from beginning to end. Sorry James, but you can’t argue with local legends. Of course, the advantage of Murphy’s set running in parallel with The Chemical Brothers’ was that by 2am the dancefloor is feeling significantly roomier than it had been a couple of hours earlier. Prime for grooving.
After 5 hours spent in room one, it’s probably time for a change of scenery as the clock strikes 3am. A tactical decision is made to check out Horse Meat Disco, whose set seems to pivot around melody focused deep house tracks, which, whilst being lovely and pretty danceable, doesn’t seem quite right to finish the evening with. Room 3 it is then, with WHP residents Krysko and Greg Lord armed to the teeth with stunning disco house to wind down the night. Perfectly measured selection ensure that the maddened grins continued all the way to closing time.
All in all then, another top night from the Warehouse Project team, which aside from the usual minor overcrowding, went without a single hitch.