Marking our first visit to Manchester’s Warehouse Project this year was Feel My Bicep, headed up by the inimitable Irish duo famous for their euphoric self titled album which has caused a storm since its release in 2017. It was no surprise that the event sold out, with 10,000 ravers packed into an abandoned railway depot to hear the more eclectic side of electronic music. HAAi, DJ Seinfeld, Floating Points (live), 808 State (live) and many more joined Bicep for what was one hell of a night.
For more info on The Depot’s production, sound and drink prices, check out our review of WHP’s one off event with Bicep last year. The only changes since this, is that mixers are now £5.50 and lockers are available on site. £5 will get you a small and £10 for a large unit, with the key to open being a refundable £10 deposit (just don’t lose it like we did).
Mayfield’s second room is a medium sized space of similar raw aesthetic. Feeling like a smaller version of the depot with like-for-like concrete pillars and holding around 2000 ravers. A stand-out feature of this room comes the crowd being able to congregate within touching distance of the DJ around the back and sides of the booth. This Boiler Room-esque touch creates a real connection.
Where production is concerned, a noticeable instalment comes from an arrangement of LED sunstrips which sit above the DJ booth in a rectangular shape. This creatively placed setup lights up the DJ’s every move, whilst the rest of the room at times sits in darkness – nice touch. Thick UV lights also illuminated those in white creating an old school rave edge.
The venue’s smallest (although still holding around 1000 capacity) will remind some ravers of Warehouse Project’s former home. This arched brick-walled room oozes anecdotes of Store Street, though features a high ceiling and unrestricted views with a range of lasers, strobes and spot lights which fill the space with light. Unlike the other two rooms which are on the colder side, this room’s temperature can become uncomfortable when filled – something which would benefit from some fan installations.
Hats off to these guys. Before they had even come on the crowd were roaring for them. You could feel the anticipation in the air as they made their way onto The Depot’s stage, a common sight for the two Irishmen.
A flurry of spotlights and lasers darted around the room for a full 90 minutes, amidst a host of unheard/unreleased music and a few of their classics too. What stands out about these guys, is you always hear some exclusive tracks when they perform – giving you a reason to come back and see them, time and time again.
A memorable moment in the set came from fan favourite “Opal”, which echoed around the room, with swirling and swarming synths soaring over the crowd as the warm bass pumped through the sound system.
Another regular selection from Bicep also made an appearance, this time by Space Trax. The distinct 1991 hit named “Atomic Playboy” has featured in many of their sets throughout 2019 and it’s clear to see why – the reaction on the dance floor speaks for itself.
Towards the closing moments of their performance whilst playing another track, the duo teased a breakbeat drum loop to the tune which will forever give us goosebumps. With the entire crowd’s attention locked front & centre, the euphoric melody of “Glue” reverberated around the room and into the hearts of the crowd. The thousands of ravers in attendance cheered in unison as the iconic track rang around The Depot – simply magical.
Never one to shy away from playing some of the more interesting electronic music, DJ Seinfeld is known for selecting from a broad library of house and techno, with the occasional dip into breaks, jungle and progressive melodies. Tonight was was no different.
Playing at the same time as heavyweights HAAi and Jeff Mills, Seinfeld had accumulated quite a crowd in the concourse room – signifying his growing fan base. The raised DJ booth with ravers swarmed around put Seinfield as the centrepiece of an enthralling spectacle with production, sound and music to match.
Pumping through the speakers, we heard “Boss Rhythm” by BDB (that unreleased tune Bicep has been playing for over a year). Recently unveiled on Feel My Bicep, the thumping techno track features a dirty top line synth which filled the room as the heavy drop blasted into the crowd.
Another standout track, and a clear example of DJ Seinfield’s diverse selections came from the closing moments. “Promised Land”, the 1987 house classic from Joe Smooth had the whole crowd singing and dancing to the iconic lyrics and strings.
Closing the Archive found Australian-born and London-based DJ HAAi in full control of the room. Entering her set around an hour in, we found the artist well into her stride with a flurry of energetic and heavy-hitting selections. A double helping of Leeds based producer Viers saw the rolling sounds of “I’m Gonna Get” mixed into the outrageous drop of “What It Is”.
This style of shifting gears between genres continued throughout the remainder of HAAi’s set, keeping the crowd on their toes with breaks, techno and psychedelic movers as we drew the night to an end.
Bicep’s return to the seismic new home for Warehouse Project did not disappoint. With all three rooms now in action, this immense venue provides an experience like no other in the UK, combining raw industrial settings with top drawer production and sound.
The possibilities for this space are endless, with each room offering its own subtle differences to keep you lost in an underground music paradise. With the venue finding its feet, there will no doubt be some teething problems. Temperature control across the space would be great to see and further thought into the Depot’s toilet area, of which parts became flooded during the night. Still, this incredible new venue is one of the most exciting things to happen to Manchester’s nightlife in recent years. 8.5/10