Warehouse Project: Metropolis 15th Birthday

With such a wealth of quality and diversity, it can become far too easy to get settled in the Leeds nightlife scene. With huge events and bustling venues a mere taxi ride away, taking an hour train journey to Manchester is, to many, understandably overlooked. One event that bucks this trend, however, is the famed Warehouse Project, which regularly tears students for their marquee events. Last weekend’s event, Metropolis 15th Birthday party, was their latest long-awaited event.

The venue itself, Store Street, is tucked neatly beneath Manchester Piccadilly station. It is a former air-raid shelter, which doubles as an office-worker car park by day, before being transformed to the iconic venue as the sun sets. For each event, the cavernous warehouse is transformed by the installation of ceiling-to-floor curtains, which connect three stages via a myriad of corridors.

Following the openers in the main room, Darkzy and AJ Tracey were astute bookings to heighten the crowd’s excitement, both being nailed-on party acts who excel in firing listeners into an upbeat spirit. They were followed by Shy FX, a DJ who would prove a hit with the locals. He did however launch an exodus from those who had made the journey from West Yorkshire, as he has been a mainstay in our very own warehouse events since the dawn of time.

With events on the scale of The Warehouse Project, the crowd is often a delicate mix of scene heads with those on the more casual side of the genre. Artists such as Zinc should be mature enough to realise you can’t please both, but he launched into a ‘best of’ style set which was more suited to a Uni Halls’ kitchen than his prestigious surroundings. He jumped haphazardly between bpm’s, playing tracks which would’ve induced wincing over a year ago. A ‘Too Many Man’ acapella was questionable enough, but following it with ‘Feed ‘em to the Lions’ saw me seeking the third room.

This room saw a return of Mark XTC, who originally opened the main stage. For this set he played a b2b with Prophecy. As is often the case with less famed DJ’s, this set saw genuine innovation and risk taking from those behind the desks. The pairing formed an instinctive relationship which allowed them to intertwine jump-up stompers with atmospheric liquid tracks. A personal highlight was a loop of the famous bell-synth from ‘Valley of the Shadows’, which was slotted into the melody of multiple heavier numbers before eventually dropping into the original.

The midway point of the night saw the main room packed once again for the night’s headliners, Chase and Status. Here, the pairing showed exactly why they’ve gained mainstream recognition while remaining respected across the genre, cleverly mixing introspective rollers with heavyweight jump up tracks. Their set comprised of old school standard of the scene such as ‘Original Nuttah’, their own back-catalogue, the secondary school classic ‘No Problem’, and unreleased dubplates. Where Zinc fell down, they excelled, keeping the tracks fresh through fresh VIP’s and innovative mixing.

Rowney and Propz delivered the best set of the night, capitalising on the vibe built by Mark XTC and Prophecy in the main room. Moody liquid tracks were built into atmospheric crescendos, which then collapsed into menacing jump-up sequences. Such a style is difficult to master, but with the pair playing together for over 10 years, they were well equipped, providing a real treat for those who tore themselves from the bigger names.

With an event of this size, it was understandable that crowd management issues were sure to play a part in the night. Queues to the smoking area were time-consuming, whilst the headline sets were packed to a level bordering on uncomfortable. This being said, for an event on this scale this is completely understandable, and all staff, from the bouncers to bartenders, were courteous, friendly and helpful.

If you’ve seen the inside of Beaverworks, Canal Mills and Mint Warehouse too many times this calendar year, I’d implore any nightlife fan who knows their salt to take the short trip down the M62.

Reece Parker

Image: Metropolis