Victoria Warehouse, Manchester | December 1st
By the first day of advent, winter has been well and truly delivered to Manchester. There’s Christmas markets hidden within the city’s festively decorated streets whilst mulled wine flows freely, and carollers serenade at every corner: it’s a joyful time to be in the city. But Orbital are headlining Warehouse Project tonight for the first time, so there’s simply no time for seasonal pleasantries. It’s the beginning of the end of this year’s WHP season too, so Crack ditched the fairy lights for the laser strobes, and headed to Victoria Warehouse for one of the most exciting line-ups of the year.
Rather unsurprisingly, not everything immediately went to plan for those who had come to see Zomby. He cancelled his performance at the last minute, once again, with little explanation or apology, apparently stuck in New York. His answer to fans’ complaints consisted of “Why are you moaning at me?” and “I don’t see the flyers.”
Blawan’s surprisingly early slot (beginning at 9pm) was also frustrating for those who don’t have the stamina to survive 9 hours in the Warehouse, but it was an easy decision for Crack, and one that paid off. Jamie Roberts set the scene for the night with a set packed full of hard tribal beats and wailing sirens, while a loop of hypnotic patterns adorned the backdrop, intense red and blue light show transforms the room into some kind of meltdown-stricken industrial works seen through those old 3D glasses.
The main room was packed beyond sense by the time Orbital were due – a testament to the time for which Manchester’s greatest club night has waited for the legendary duo. They humbly took to the stage, identified by their iconic head-torches, before launching into an ethereal set picked from their monumental back catalogue as well as 2012’s Wonky. A feature-length and fully animated visual backdrop took the crowd on a mind-blowing journey through spinning daisy-heads and satellites as well as unleashing the aura of a giant Sun, as the phenomenal light show cast a mesmerizing spectrum across the room. From their throttling remix of the Doctor Who theme, to a Halcyon medley (infused with Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a Place on Earth), to the astonishing encore of Chime, Orbital were simply one of the best acts Warehouse has seen this year.
Modeselektor did a more than ample job of keeping the sensational vibe going, with a deeper selection of tunes made up of processed beats and buzz-saw bass, alongside a lightshow made up of dancing blue flashes and lightning strikes. They even won over the approval of the stage-side security, who were hardly shy to show off their moves, though disappointingly they didn’t take part in the mass audience sit down as instructed by the duo. Julio Bashmore followed up with a solid set that could hardly be faulted, in that every tune seemed to have a planet-sized drop. That was all that the audience seemed to care for at five in the morning, thus climaxing yet another massive night at the Warehouse.
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Words: James Balmont