Personally, I have always found the Victoria Warehouse venue to leave me feeling like a slab of meat after being herded from pillar to post by one way systems, so was excited at the prospect of going back to the smaller capacity venue to get up close and personal with some of dance music’s unparalleled heavyweights. The cosy caverns and tunnels of the city centre location, the mural in the seating area summed it up perfectly, WHP in Store street is “Manchester as it should be.”
The night kicked off early at 7pm, with the Hessle Audio collective holding it down in Room 1, starting with leading light Ben UFO. As I arrived, everyone was already feeling lively despite the night being so young. As the crowd got heftier and sweatier, Pangea and Joy O took their turns in rotation and went back to back until everyone was thoroughly, maybe even a little too, warmed up. As the sweat began to drip from the ceiling, Shuf headed to Room 2.
Sadly, Ricardo Villalobos cancelled on us meaning he was unable to bring his minimal, Perlon-heavy brand of house to the crowd. However, Hotflush label-head Scuba stepped in to fill his slot and kept the crowd on side. It was by no means the rarity that a headlining turn from Villalobos would have been but under the circumstances you had to hand it to him.
The highlight would have to be the wax-slanging selections of Detroit casanova Moodymann, who played a myriad of tracks with some reworks of timeless cuts such as Isaac Hayes’ ‘1971’, Biggie Smalls’ ‘Warning’ and ODB’s hands-in-the-air hymn ‘Baby I Got Your Money’. These mixed seamlessly in and out of his usual cocktail of Detroit referencing deep house. He then proceeded to dance over the decks and treat a few lucky members of the front row to cups of rum whiskey and vodka. He continues to be one of the most idiosyncratic turntablists around. Caricature or not, it’s hard to find a better shakedown.
Perfectly soundtracking the unrelenting nature of the home stretch, Nina Kraviz’s undecorated blend of house and techno came with a healthy dose of acidic glaze which had hands in the air and eyes to the ground. As the night became the morning, Jackmaster’s cocksure playlist of floor rattlers climaxed with Lumidee’s RnB classic, ‘Never Leave You’ and the crowds filed on to the streets with hazy recollections and heavy ankles. RA and WHP combined forces to bring dance music’s elite to Store Street for a full on marathon. Corny as it sounds, Lumidee’s motto rang true, “If you want me to stay, then I’ll never leave you”.
The Warehouse Project continues - tickets available here.
Words: Tash Mellor
Photos: Gemma Parker