15th December 2007 at the Warehouse Project, Store Street, Manchester.
During the Second World War, the space below Manchester Piccadilly Train station functioned as an air raid shelter, but a few months ago, this subterranean cavern became a destination of choice, instead of necessity. It has played host to the second autumn to winter installment of weekly Warehouse Project parties. Despite the temporary nature of this venue, the Store Street ‘Warehouse’ has been produced in a manner that should have owners of permanent nighteries asking serious questions of how they should cater for their punters. The main space is a huge corridor type room, blessed with a beautifully crisp sound system and an entertainment enhancing lighting rig. The two bars, ample chilling space and bank of portaloos cater for guests adequately, whilst the high ceiling and exposed brickwork give the venue a raw feel. This ‘Warehouse’ is no fly by night venture, but a premier league standard clubbing space and a mind-blowing spectacle.
With their fingers firmly on the musical pulse, a jaw dropping list of contacts and the financial muscle to follow their desires, the Warehouse Project people have put on an enviable season of parties. They have created line-ups of record spinners and live acts that would make other party promoters in the city feel inadequate. The parties have been wonderfully diverse, in part due to the Warehousers’ decision to work with a select band of outside promoters, which has enticed all sorts of dancing folk to the industrial space.
The 15th of December party was a B-Live Party, which featured additional drapes, comfy sofas and a tasty cocktail vending bar courtesy of Bacardi. The music was provided by internationally renowned spinners in the shape of Axwell, Pete Tong, David Guetta and the Warehouse‘s own Krysko. Despite the commercial leanings of the record selectors and Radio 1 Essential Mix link up, it was apparent from early on that there was a serious clubbing crowd in the venue, intent on dancing to the night away and creating an electric atmosphere. Patrons in attendance included fashionistas, scallies, super model calibre beauties, non trendies and glowstick wavers of various ages, all happy to dance together.
Krysko provided a perfect warm-up of solid electronic and technified House tunes, which included the Nightwriter’s magical “Let The Music Use You”. He was followed by Swedish Houser Axel Hedfors aka Axwell, whose crowd-pleasing display proved to be the musical pinnacle of the night. An animated performer, Axwell treated listeners to a well programmed and expertly executed set, which saw him spin trancey electroid growlers, jarring synth driven numbers, discoid crunchers and fun-loving classic House efforts. The Swede’s excellent selection sent the crowd into a frenzy and when he dropped records such as Daft Punk’s explosive remix of Scott Grooves’ “Mothership Reconnection”, a remix of Liquid’s spellbinding “Sweet Harmony” and his own diva-driven “I Found U”, the atmosphere reached fever pitch. It could be compared to the feeling on the terraces at a football match when your team scores, but the roar heard when the crowd recognised a choice record starting was louder and much more intense. The guttural approval was then followed by whistles, screams, raised hands and enthusiastic dancing. Axwell’s two hour display was over far too quickly and the other guests didn‘t live up to the standard he set. Pete Tong’s trancey influenced electronic House selection was a little lifeless, whilst David Guetta relied on too many hollow synthy House efforts, despite providing an amusing theatrical introduction and dropping Laidback Luke’s thudding remix of Nightcrawlers’ “Push The Feeling On”.
It is a shame that the 2007 Warehouse is set to shut its doors for the last time after celebrating the dawn of 2008 on NYE and NYD, but memories from nights like the B-Bar Christmas Party will live on. The Warehouse people are set to start a new clubbing venture late January 2008 and the impressive spectacle of the Store Street venue suggests that their overhaul of the former Paradise Factory will be something to get excited about.