Another year, another season: the Warehouse Project has returned to its spiritual home of Store Street for twelve more weeks of abiding hedonism. It’s become something of a Manchester routine to travel under the redbrick arches of Piccadilly station and into the dark, smoke-filled and humid confines of the car park space, to feel the bass of Room One hit you like a wall of sound, and then to navigate through the industrial space for six hours of your evening. Yet with techno giants Adam Beyer and Joseph Capriati spearheading the opening Saturday, whilst the format may remain the same, the creative flare upon which WHP was founded is still palpable.
We were welcomed in by the warm house and dub techno grooves of Lauren Lo Sung, who closed her set with Floorplan's spiritually-charged, sensational belter Tell You No Lie, a perfectly feel-good and outrageously fun track which did wonders for getting the crowd moving. Fatima Yamaha's live set proved to be equally as rousing, gradually drawing in the slow-burning, melancholic What's A Girl To Do before plunging into the synth-heavy, soon to be released Araya. Such a moment rooted itself firmly in the forefront of everyones minds as - rather predictably - the melody to this well known track could be heard in whistles and hums across the rest of the night. The new Room 3 was also there to be discovered; somewhat hidden to the left of the mainstage, hosted by Belfast’s AVA Festival, this extra, more intimate space was certainly a welcome switch up to the familiar Store Street, serving the function of a more relaxed dance-floor atmosphere than the intensity of the stage next door.
In fact, it was outside of the grandeur of the main room where the atmosphere really got going during the earlier hours. Taking a swift u-turn away from a packed out yet particularly uninspiring tech-house set from Eats Everything, Ben UFO firmly held it down next door for two unmissable hours of diversified, heavily percussive, left-field selections. From Afefe Iku’s Mirror Dance and Four Tet’s Pinnacles to more offbeat and unidentifiable four-to-the-floor cuts, this solo set from one of the UK scene’s finest exuded personality.
As the night slowly drew to a close we were left in the hands of Adam Beyer and Joseph Capriati. B2b for the final four hours, they slickly showcased Drumcode's finest flavours: heavy-hitting, thrusting, bouncy techno. Framed by the impressive and imposing visuals, these two heavyweights embodied what can be expected from the rest of the season; commanding, stimulating, and superlative, Warehouse Project may be a familiar part of Manchester's clubbing landscape, but it delivers year after year after year.
Words: Josie Roberts