Victoria Warehouse, Manchester | January 25th
The Warehouse Project season officially ended on January 1st, but as per tradition, the heads behind the hugely successful events have teamed up with Manchester club night Drop the Mustard to host one of several more intimate nights at the Victoria Warehouse during the January-September drought.
Despite the enormous main room being closed for these events, thus greatly reducing the venue’s capacity, and the absence of the usual mega big-name headliners, tickets are still found at roughly the same price. Sound like a bad deal? It’s not. These events can not only match the hype of their internationally-recognised Autumn-Winter events, but in some ways they’re arguably superior.
Since WHP’s move from the Store Street venue last year – a disused car park under the platforms of Manchester Piccadilly Train Station, there’s been much debate amongst dedicated WHP attendees about the new, out-of-town venue to Manchester’s biggest club night. At the rear of this complex, rooms two and three emulate the cramped togetherness and the (literal and figurative) ‘underground’ feel of Store Street closely. And it’s for this reason that this night excelled. Without the openness of Room 1, the 1,500-strong crowd are funnelled together and the vibes are multiplied. Following warm-up sets from Drop the Mustard’s own resident DJs, the roof was lifted by the likes of Trevino, delivering a vibrant house and techno-driven set, and the more melodic concords of Koreless. Much of the audience looked like they’d primarily come out to see SBTRKT, so it was fortunate that he dropped more than a few of his own tunes during a revitalized DJ set.
Best of all was Actress, whose intelligent, minimally-stylised set of experimental techno and simple dynamic shifts ultimately provided the most invigorating rhythms of the night. Meanwhile, in an outrageously crowded Room 3, Bicep offered a crowd-pleasing selection of ethereal house which was perfect for the dense audience of wired hip-swingers. As the night drew to a close, what was clearest of all was that on top of the music, it was the intimacy and lack of pretension that had made the event so special. And we’re hoping that the Easter weekend of WHP events will boast similar qualities.
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Words: James Balmont
Photo: Pippa Rankin