LIVE: The Warehouse Project 2012 @ Victoria Warehouse, Manchester

It’s Back With A Bang!

The Warehouse Project is back. And it's better than ever. 

Squashing unpopular rumours that the influential event was abandoning its birth city, Warehouse organisers confirmed earlier this year that the project will remain true to its Manchurian roots. 

Last Friday saw clubbers from all across the UK flock to the project's new venue – a huge disused warehouse on Trafford Park Road.  A vast industrial space, the location perfectly embodies the club’s ‘Warehouse’ credentials. Despite it being a rainy evening (for which event organisers were prepared, handing out much-welcomed brollies to those waiting in the queue), Warehouse-goers remained high-spirited. A buzz surrounded the greatly anticipated and long-awaited 2012 season launch. 

Joining forces with Rinse FM to celebrate the London-based radio station's 18th birthday, the night boasted an impressive line-up. Amongst those blessing the stage were garage/dubstep vocalist Katy B, grime MC P Money, electronic DJ Kode 9, and dubstep/grime heads Plastician and Joker.  Following hints on Twitter, dubstep producer Skream - one half of the highly-acclaimed Skream and Benga – delivered a praise-worthy set during which he dropped Arctic Monkeys’ track 'When The Sun Goes Down', a move well-received by the audience.

Warehouse kept the identity of a 'very special guest' secret prior to the launch night. Following speculation that this surprise would come in the form of Boy Better Know (who appeared on the original line up only to then mysteriously disappear...), Katy B revealed the surprise during her set: Example would be hitting the stage in forty minutes. The singer/rapper delivered an energetic performance to an excited crowd – his hits 'Changed the Way You Kissed Me' and 'Kickstarts' went down particularly well. The following day Example tweeted praise for the event, describing 'that Warehouse rave last night’ as ‘naughty' before stating: 'I highly recommend all ravers head to @WHP_mcr at some point this year. Don't miss out people'. 

The final act to perform on the main stage, DJ Jackmaster, proved to be the highlight of the night, mixing everything from Jay-Z and Kanye's 'Paris' to SBTRKT's 'Wildfire'. A memorable conclusion.

A collective of resident Rinse FM DJ's - including Marcus Nasty, Sian Anderson, Royal-T, and Elijah and Skilliam - bossed a separate room. Other performers on the night included newcomers AlunaGeorge, folk/soul singer Lianne La Havas, and Birmingham-based brothers Preditah and C4.

Going strong until the early hours of the morning, ravers filtered out of the venue at 4am once the action had drawn to a close. On our way out we caught up with student Dave Watkins who spoke highly of the evening's happenings: 'I came all the way from Sheffield tonight after a summer of festival-going, and tonight reminded me why I love The Warehouse Project. Good music, good people, good vibes'. While the venue is not as easy to reach as the previous location (which was in the centre of town under Piccadilly train station), it's worth the travel.

Future confirmed acts for the 2012 season include nights hosted and curated by Fatboy SlimBloc Party, Nina Kraviz, bubbly house DJ Scuba, XXXY, Chase and Status, Ms Dynamite, and Magnetic ManThe Chemical Brothers also make a dramatic return to the city where they formed.  The line-up for New Year’s Eve and the notorious Closing Party on January 1st remain a mystery... But judging from the big-names listed above, these conclusive nights are bound to host some incredible acts.

All in all, The Warehouse Project's launch was an impressive night, and has left me itching to plan my next trip to Manchester.  One word of advice - don't wear nice trainers...

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