The night started on a low. Cancellations from headliners Heidi and Laurent Garnier, due to illness and a bereavement respectively, subdued our expectations for the night. Nevertheless, with such short notice, it was impressive replacements came to the rescue in the talented Circus Recordings owner Yousef, Subb-an, Adam Shelton and Justin Robertson. Definitive proof that Warehouse Project is a substantial brand that has many, many friends to support it when required.
We arrived under the arches to an uninspiring house set from Jasper James, missing a chance to stimulate the crowd after taking a darker turn midway through. This left me eager to explore the rest of the venue. Whilst WHP resident Moxie was killing room 2 with a highly atmospheric dub heavy set, Quixanno in room 3 had groovier and funkier ambitions. With the new spacious arrangements, along with the pleasurable percussion and rhythmic bass, Quixanno had his crowd ecstatic, with tracks like Peace Division Beatz in Peacez (03) and Pepe Bradock Deep Burnt you can’t really go wrong.
Next, we departed our little haven for the low ceilinged, eye blinding, tightly packed room 2 for One Records’ label owners Subb-an and Adam Shelton. By quickly creating a party atmosphere with amazing percussion, driving basslines and dashes of acid house, their B2B would turn out to be one the highlights of the evening. Leaving on a high with Ron Hardy’s infamous Baby, Baby Baby, Aw Shucks, we left to catch the last half of Yousef. With a range of selections spanning disco, acid, and ambient house, it was surprising that Yousef’s set never really got off the ground. With long atmospheric build-ups that didn’t go anywhere, he finished leaving a joyful if unsatisfied feeling in the air.
Enter stage Black Coffee. His roots in jazz and urban-soul were evident as he begun with soothing house beats accompanied by beautiful vocals, melodic piano solos and afrobeat percussion. When house remixes of Robin S, Gotye, Prince and Wham dominated the second half of his set, it created more of a 16 year old disco ambience then underground warehouse. To paraphrase a football term, it was a game of two halves. Thankfully, The Black Madonna acted as a saviour, displaying an incredible selection of songs before the evening came to a close. Starting with feverish upbeat African percussion before switching into thumping techno, her variety of tempos was exciting and unpredictable. Her obvious delight infected the crowd and with tracks like Technotronic Pump the Jam and Daft Punk’s Rollin’ and Scratchin’ the crowd reaction was joyous. The night may have had its highs and lows but as all good things should, it finished with a bang.
Words: Kelly Raymond
Photography: Gemma Parker Photography