Concert Review: The Warehouse Project (including Jon Hopkins, Jamie XX, and Modeselektor) – Manchester

It is fair to say that the Warehouse Project is the most dominating force in Manchester’s dance music scene since the Hacienda. After taking a two year hiatus in order to serve the popularity surge in electronic music, consequently using the enormous Victoria Street Warehouse the 2014 season saw it return to the much loved and more refined Store Street. The Store Street venue used to be an air raid shelter but has more recently served the hedonistic tenancies of Britain’s youth that every weekend between September and New Years Day flock en masse from various university towns to enjoy the only electronic music monopoly that exists outside of the country’s capital.

The dark, cavernous space has two main rooms, a decent amount of (albeit busy) bars and a fair few toilets. The fine line between club and mini festival unfortunately means queuing and paying for just about everything. I’m sure 20% fewer ticket sales would make all the difference, as would having some free cash machines, lowering the extortionate drinks prices and extending last entry. Having to pay those prices between 10.30pm and 5am burnt a hole in my pocket and left a slightly sour taste, especially after having paid over £25 for a ticket.

All that aside it’s an impressive feat and the use of space works wonderfully both for live music and DJ sets, as I learnt having attended both the night in review and a gig with James Blake a few weeks prior. This week saw electronic/indie powerhouses Jon Hopkins and Jamie XX curate a European affair with performances from themselves, Spanish producer John Talabot and German Techno monsters Modeselektor.

As we arrived Talabot was spinning a selection of fairly generic House and Techno with a few of his own tracks from 2012’s Fin thrown in. Unfortunately, we found ourselves queuing for the cloakroom with the daunting prospect of queuing again to buy a drink, meaning that we didn’t get to make the most of the breathable dancefloor. By the time Jon Hopkin’s live set started to loom you could physically feel the main room swelling. Hopkins made a good job of varying the tempo as he cruised through tracks from Immunity and most notably the single ‘Light Through Veins’ using a plethora of electronic gear complemented by an almost 3-D light show. Store Street was perfect for Hopkin’s show to evolve in the way it should, however the initial excitement from an otherwise very respectful crowd meant that it was at times difficult to enjoy.

The second curator Jamie XX took to the stage swiftly after Hopkins for a 90-minute DJ set. The XX member come prolific beat maker, whose lack of stage persona was helped by a disco ball span a good array of tunes and a healthy smattering of his own productions. The gently bopping crowd went wild for his recent single ‘Sleep Sound’ whilst tunes from Kolsh and Floating Points were also greatly appreciated. A wry smile and a wave signalled his departure as a tech team scurried on stage to set up for an impromptu live show from Modeselektor that was originally billed as a DJ set. This was a very generous offering indeed. The Berlin duo raised the roof after the previous compelling but mellow set with music to make your fist pump and an AV display that would evoke nightmares. Their tongue and cheek approach to a genre of music that is normally shrouded in seriousness made for an entertaining final set. They superbly ended a night that, although suffered some logistical flaws escalated to euphoric heights.

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Review by Tristan Shorrock | @trizzywoo

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