Wow it’s been a crazy week and a half since me and man like Cal went Manchester to catch the 5th instalment in Warehouse Project 2016. I’ve been hella busy (haven’t we all) so sorry to anyone who’s been waiting on this, but here it is.
Manchester’s a weird place you know. I think it’s one of the only other places in the UK that has any semblance to London at all, in that its absolutely huge, its broken up into hundreds of different areas which are reppable, it runs 24/7 and it actually has some respectable football teams. How can you really call yourself a city if your team haven’t made top 4 in the last ten years? Oh, it has trams too, which for South mandem is a sort of half-train half-bus hybrid summoned up by witchcraft, look out.
We got to Store Street a little late after a couple of Ubers couldn’t find where we were preing in Fallowfield. This wasn’t a good idea as the team are strict with their door entry, but they let us in out of the cold after we explained, and at 11pm the venue was already packed. Venue was awesome as expected; huge two/three story ceilings, tons of well stocked bars without queues and a dark brickwork facade that reminded me a bit of Fabric :'(
We warmed up to Plastician on the decks in Room One. Not as hard as usual – he was on a slightly more chill vibe but that probably had something to do with the time of his slot. It was however a set fit for purpose and after a few beers we were ready for Casisdead.
Now we might’ve felt ready for Casisdead, but I personally was not actually prepared for the performance. After going to get a bev we came back to maybe ten guys on the stage all with masks, hoodies, massive rucksacks and DEADTEAM flags waving above them. The first thing it made me think of was that their silhouettes against the amber lighting really reminded me of the Warboys in the Mad Max film with Tom Hardy… Cas and his team looked the part, and they shelled it, dropping hit after hit with no stopping and starting, no emotional or political interlude, no bullshit. They performed and they got the response they wanted as the crowd were pumped up pushing for an encore. That was the first time I’d seen Cas live and I am going to make sure that it isn’t the last.
We bounced from there into Room Two to catch the last ten minutes of Mumdance and the first half of Murlo, both of which were superb, if a little uncharacteristically empty due to next door’s shenanigans. I was keen to catch Giggs in action too, so used some time between catching Murlo and him to have a little look round the venue properly and jam in the picnic area for a bit, it was chill, in both meanings of the word.
Giggs came out to a full house and a mad reception… Warehouse’s critically acclaimed sound system even seemed to struggle to get on top the first ten seconds of the crowd’s unanimous roar. He sped through part of Landlord in his half hour set, finishing with the instaclassic ‘Lock Doh’, which despite being ‘for the ladies’ was just as much for the boys. That point of the night was the craziest that I’d seen the crowd yet, and by this time everyone was sweating in a general melee of trying to be as close to the front as possible, all in good fun. We ducked out to get a drink, some fresh air, and to discuss our conspiracy theories as to why he only had a short set, especially being in the running for the Album of the Year MOBO. After five minutes, none the wiser, we came back in to get in position for Skeppy.
Luckily one of the guys I was with is a Warehouse frequenter so we took what seemed to me to be a mad crazy secret tunnel route, but was literally just the other side of the stage, and got into a banging spot about ten metres from the front, slightly to the left. Skepta came out looking so fresh he got more of a scream from the girls than from the guys, which really was saying a lot. If the sound system struggled for Giggs’ reception then it just drop-dead failed this time around.
Skepta cycled through a fair few tunes from Konnichiwa; ‘It Ain’t Safe’, ‘Man’, ‘Numbers’ and ‘Lyrics’ all got dropped (not necessarily in that order), before giving us ‘Corn on the Curb’ with a mad guest performance from the Godfather himself Wiley. Seeing two of my all-time favourite artists on stage together was pretty much a bucket-list achievement in itself, instantly topped when he brought out two additions in Frisco and Shorty to further complete a BBK setup.
The Mercury-Award-Winner went on to drop ‘Top Boy’ and a few more recently released tracks before taking it back for the old school heads and giving us a little love from the infamous Blacklisted and before. The mosh pits were unbelievably crazy throughout (my watch literally got pulled off me), and the energy was tangible everywhere in the building. We spoke with a couple of boys in the smoking area who said Skepta had been a bit more chilled and even mellow at Bestival, and that this night he was so much more incredible to see. I personally think whatever festival you play at there’s an element of family to it, and playing somewhere as iconic and underground as WHP he can just let go and do what he wants to do- shell. To see him come from someone we used to listen to in school and still called The King, to now become an international superstar loyal to his roots, is just incredible. Skepta has a following that most artists would be envious of, and I’m proud to be a part of that.
Really grateful to WHP for bringing us in on this event, and super gassed for the next one too. We’re reaching for the Champagne Steamrooms night on the 27th. If you’re interested in WHP then here’s the link to cop tickets. Much love. My team. Greatness only.