Unfortunately, the recent depiction of Warehouse Project attendees has been of chino-clad, Carling drinking, late-comers to the party, possessed by the belief that ‘My Love’ is the pinnacle of dance music. Yet, despite rather ignorant assumptions that the event now resembles a Wetherspoons with more Gorgon City playing than usual, the Warehouse Project has proved itself to be more than a passing fad for enthusiasts.
Certainly, issues of authenticity always appear to surface when discussing Electronic Dance Music. For the Warehouse Project this complication of legitimacy has been the dominant criticism aimed at the propulsive feats of their popular season; with many arguing that the organisation’s innovative conception has given way to stagnation. Indeed, amongst the swathes of ticket-holding punters some were keen to propose the event has become ‘played out’ thanks to its now behemoth-like status.
Yet, since its inception the Warehouse Project has never proclaimed itself to be a season devised entirely to discover new talent. Instead, the organisers have focused on curating a variety of events hoping to please fans of numerous genres – with industry forerunners and burgeoning producers alike set the task of reaching the benchmark of past season’s achievements.
Perhaps no event was more typical of this approach than the versatile ‘Duke Dumont Presents: Blasé Boys Club’ night. Including three stalwarts of Acid, Garage and House the event duly ensured heritage icons and chart toppers were placed on equal footing, with the night punctuated by the interchanging of cult classics and recent anthems.
Although some may be tired of Duke Dumont’s numerous chart smashes (Need U 100%, I Got U, or his recent The Giver reprise) there was an infectious reception for a producer who has fully deserved prolific success after cutting his chops for some time in the underground scene. Elsewhere, Shadow Child demonstrated just how many pounding deep cuts he had to lift the Mancunian crowd to rapture (answer: a lot). While, Waze & Odyssey predictably stormed through an impressive set; preceding Cajmere (aka Green Velvet) who fitfully took the night to an impressive close.
Whilst some Warehouse goers understandably cherish the halcyon memories of the elusive third room (that appeared apparently out of nowhere, in the fog only after too many drinks – making you lose most your friends), limiting the Store Street venue to two rooms was also a real success. Ensuring the jam of the main room remained contained was a stroke of genius, with room two offering real highlights including a bouncing set from the restless Croydon producer Lxury, and a rare chance to see pioneering DJ’s like Todd Edwards and Roy Davis Jr in close quarters.
Visiting the Warehouse Project has certainly become somewhat of a tradition for many friends and acquaintances alike, and this is definitely a credit to a group of organisers who appear to have won the balancing act of offering not just a debauched party but a musical education. Although ‘education’ is not exactly what you think of when picturing the Warehouse, frantically Shazaming white labels or searching for tip of the tongue tracks is still a common enough occurrence to give the event such a description. And, offering Warehouse revellers the opportunity not just to listen to a Spotify-like live show, but a varied atmospheric experience, fully justifies the pilgrimage to Manchester Piccadilly.
In this sense the Warehouse Project’s consecutive return to Store Street has, and will continue to be a triumphant homecoming. Despite fears concerning the totality of the Warehouse Project’s grip on the Manchester clubbing scene, the season remains a paramount contributor to the city as a music capital of culture.
After all it has never been a second city imitator – and rightfully so, as for 12 weeks at least, it is a city that is ours. With that in mind, a slew of Ellesse sporting, house tourists won’t change the fact that the Warehouse Project still appears to host one of the foremost clubbing scenes in the UK, and long may it continue.
Words by Ben Butler
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