Leaky underground drainpipes, fresh faced wide-eyed hipsters, the stench of spilt beer and a faint sense of longing desperation; ah, it must be this year’s instalment of Manchester’s Warehouse Project.
With 2015’s season well underway, Store Street has welcomed the likes of Duke Dumont, Groove Armada and DJ EZ over the past few weeks and the latest edition did not disappoint. Now in its tenth year on the scene, Manchester’s most famous club night celebrated its birthday with a helping hand from the likes of Run The Jewels, General Levy and Skepta.
Garage pioneer Shy Fx, undoubtedly delivered a spectacular set, switching, swapping, and storming his way through a 55 minute slot that included The Specials’ ‘Message to You Rudy,’ Damian Marley’s ‘Welcome To Jamrock’ and The Prodigy’s ‘Outer Space.’ As expected with Shy Fx, the setlist comprised of a heavy dosage of Reggae, a poignant sprinkle of Grime and handful of Hip-Hop. Everything from Max Romeo, to Giggs to Drake; it is safe to say the London rudeboy did not disappoint.
My only gripe with his performance was that he teased his classic ‘Original Nuttah’ over a bass heavy remix rather than sticking to, and blowing our minds with the flawless original edit.
His final song choice brought him some redemption, coming in the form of Kendrick Lamar’s iconic ‘Alright,’ which sadly seemed to be over way too quickly. With the sounds of the Compton native ringing in the ears of the audience it wasn’t long before the next act graced the dark and dingy underground stage.
Headliners Run The Jewels stepped out to Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ before a smothering 50 minutes of bass and trap. As one of the most hotly tipped Hip-Hop duos of the past few years it was hard to see what all the fuss was about. Given the worldwide critical acclaim they’ve garnered, their live set isn’t much to shout about. Mind you, it is great to see Killer Mike bopping and parading round stage and very much in his element.
The real main attraction judging by the sheer amount of people at his set was man of the moment Skepta. Stepping out to (yep, you guessed it) ‘That’s Not Me’ revived the life in the place after what was a disappointing night for Run The Jewels. Blazing through ‘Nasty,’ ‘It Ain’t Safe’ and lyrics from his recent freestyle on Pharrell Williams’ Beats 1 Radio show; every single note, bar and song were unashamedly Grime-y.
The direction that this genre is heading in with Skepta essentially at the helm is unstoppable and I genuinely feel it is with gigs such as this, that Grime (with its historically negative stigma), will gain more and more attention, energy and positivity. His delivery over RBX’s ‘Rhythm N Gash,’ which for me, still stands as the hardest Grime riddim ever, completely encapsulated his attitude.
Bold, brash and invincible; you’d think it is only a matter of time before he gifts the world some new material. Alas, as we still await the release of Konichiwa, the surprise play of his brother’s latest track ‘Man Don’t Care,’ somewhat made up for it. Whilst JME was not in attendance himself, the crowd recited every single lyric straight back to the stage as if he was, and further, each one with full blown fervour and a plethora of gun finger salutes aimed in every direction.
Birmingham producer Preditah was up next after his slot was unexpectedly moved forward. Having barely taken a breather from the previous act, he continued to move the night along in impressive style. His trademark bouncy, bassy, Garage-influenced beats kept the energy up in the room as he played through practically every Grime hit imaginable; Fekky’s ‘Still Sittin’ Here’, D Double E’s ‘Bad To The Bone’, Tempa T’s ‘Next Hype’, a triple dose of Stormzy’s most recognisable tracks and countless others.
Preditah’s characteristically poignant eye (and ear) for detail was well and truly on show; most noticeably on the track he produced for Solo 45 ‘Feed ‘Em to The Lions’ for which he donned an all-metal mask in true Halloween spirit.
With WHP15 moving away from its typical House and Electronic vibes for one night minus ‘headliners’ Run The Jewels, this was practically a Grime takeover. Full-throttled, in-your-face and utterly exciting, the genre is finally getting the plaudits it deserves, gaining more and more momentum with each view, each lyric recited and each ticket sold at shows such as this.
For a club night that has historically celebrated anything that is organic, fresh and up-and-coming, Grime has found itself a new home at Warehouse Project and who knows, we might even see a ‘Curated by Skepta’ night sometime soon.