The Warehouse Project is the 8-year-old genre-breaking, adrenaline-racing festival that kicks off on the 27th September 2014 up until the 1st January 2015 in Manchester. The 2013 project saw the likes of The Prodigy, Disclosure, Armand Van Helden, Rudimental and legends Chic feat. Nile Rodgers. It’s an event which is largely known for its drug abuse and is a place for ravers and music fanatics to get a bit sloppy – or rather pretty hugely sloppy.
You may have heard of Nick Bonnie, a 30-year-old man who tragically died after taking some form of ecstasy on one of the first nights at last year’s event. Another five were hospitalised the same night. Sounds fun, right? The organisers have claimed they’ve put precautions in place to prevent this sort of thing from happening, so we went to have a little look to see if the buzz surrounding The Warehouse Project is in fact true.
Tonight’s edition was APE vs RAM JAM – one of the more abundant nights on this year’s Warehouse calendar. Drum & bass, dub, garage and reggae at its finest. The line-up featured Tonn Piper, Rich Reason, Chimpo, DJ Barely Legal, Channel One, Dismantle/w Tonn Piper, Dub Phizix & Strategy, Jillionaire (Major Lazer), DJ EZ, Wilkinson, Roni Size & Reprazent Live, Andy C and reggae legend David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan.
This year’s Warehouse project has moved to a smaller location in a car park underneath a dark and rugged towering underpass on Store Street, Manchester – a location where you would expect this type of event to take place. The first notable thing was the variety of characters walking to join the queue looking a little bit disorientated, eyes wide open, jaw getting some exercise – I can imagine the thought going through their head at that very moment is ‘have I hidden my narcotics properly?’ as they downed their last can of Fosters before reaching the security at the entrance.
Not that they had to worry. One gentleman taking your ticket and one puzzled police dog were the great ‘precautions’ undertaken to prevent drugs being taken into the event. If there was a yellow amnesty box (somewhere where you’re meant to put drugs if you have them) then it wasn’t effortless to find. The second noticeable thing was the amount of human beings they managed to cramp into this confined space. You can forget about finding some space in sight of the stage or to be able to dance to your full extent. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was fully overpowered by the music – to put it bluntly, nobody gave a fuck.
Roni Size & Reprazent Live were the first act we managed to catch. They were the only live band on the line-up with their uplifting vibes and mixture of smooth, discreet drum & bass and intense old school jungle.
Next up was the reggae legend David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan whose career as a DJ spans over 30 years, with numerous awards under his belt – he was definitely not going to disappoint. His set was a mixture of eras and bouncy classics that gave the Warehouse audience a chance to tone it down a little – the calm before the storm.
The aggravating clash: DJ EZ and Dub Phizix. The main room features DJ EZ, playing a garage set consisting of classics like ‘I’ll Bring You Flowers’, ‘With A Little Bit Of Luck’ and ’21 Seconds’ whereas Room 2 is for the more hardcore – it features hard-hitting, feet-stomping Dub Phizix & his quick-tonged accomplice Strategy. Jaws still going strong and eyes rolling towards the back of heads, the morning continues on with drum & bass pioneer Andy C followed by Wilkinson. Lasers and flashing lights attack the eyes of many as the pulsating synths and abundant bass echoes through the car park.
Many quite fatigued and very sticky, APE vs RAM JAM had come to an end, it was time to venture back into reality on the frosty October morning and travel home. Some of the braver members of the crowd venture towards the after-party – yes, an after-party for an event that ends at 05:00… we hope that sums it up.