Despite being in its tenth year – still, nonetheless, in its infancy – walking back into the confines of The Warehouse Project feels far from routine. The acts may be seasoned alumni, the venue an emblem of its roots, yet the opening weekend at Store Street felt like a fresh but familiar return of one of the strongest clubbing powerhouses in the North West. With the coming months flaunting music that pushes into far and disparate musical corners, the curatorial creatives in charge welcomed us to the warehouse with a weighty bill of dance’s finest, and it was with great anticipation that kicked WHP15 off to a momentous start.
Playing to a heaving room one was Jackmaster, drawing the crowd into the swing of the night with focused and thumping selections cutting through the densely smoked-out room – a no-nonsense set from a DJ who unabashedly closed RA’s warehouse last year with FKA twigs’ Two Weeks. Though an ideally enthralling set from our opener of the night, it was a fitting contrast to Daphni who, sandwiched in between the Glaswegian heavyweight and a surprisingly lacklustre mix from the otherwise incredible Joy Orbison, reigned supreme as the stand-out act of the night. Traversing from genre to genre with typical vibrant flair, Snaith’s return to this alias after touring under the guise of Caribou was long awaited and intensely rewarding, stirring up the crowd with a blend of barefaced beats from Skepta’s repertoire and flavourful Afrobeat hip-shakers.
Despite such established names pulling larger numbers in the pressure-cooker room one, Job Jobse held it firmly down in the smaller second stage. He cloaked the comparatively sparser crowd with swelling, sensual and broody basslines, maintaining an unwavering focus that bodes promising for the future of the young Amsterdam figurehead, and providing a well-appreciated boost before the Seth Troxler and The Martinez Brothers’ three-hour finale. Drawing out the final moments their marathon techno-heavy set with Floorplan's Never Grow Old (Re-Plant), its gospel vocals and uncompromising beats brought moments of exaltation to the industrial four walls.
"For twelve weeks this city is ours" may have been projected onto every corner of Store Street, but it is hard to argue otherwise. With consistently creative and cutting-edge line-ups as its core, The Warehouse Project's longevity as a renowned Manchester institution is utterly unshakable. It's good to be back.
Words: Josie Roberts