When you think of a night out in Manchester, you think of The Warehouse Project (WHP). First launched in 2006, WHP puts on various nights of live music every autumn in Depot Mayfield and has solidified itself as the next big thing in Manchester’s long musical history.
2023’s season officially opened with Repercussion, the Depot’s annual festival-in-a-day. There were 12 hours of constant music from some of the best in the electronic scene, eight stages, and over 40 artists performing. It was a celebration of Manchester’s place at the heart of current dance, house, and techno music, and marked the start of what will surely be another triumphant season in the warehouse.
Our night started early, as we beat the queues to see Tarzsa‘s 5pm Concourse set. The Manchester-based DJ has a versatile mix of genres on her Soundcloud, and her WHP set was upbeat and electronic. Although the space was relatively quiet, owing to the fact that it was still three hours before last entry, entering Repercussion to see a female, Manchester-based DJ was the perfect way to start the night.
We also took an early look into the Archive stage, where Hagop Tchaparian were warming up the crowds under the Depot’s arches. The lighting and red ‘YES’ letters running across the ceiling were a standout here – the stage is presented by the nearby bar, club, and music venue of the same name – Hagop Tchaparian’s music filled the room up to its arching ceiling with some good drops.
The Archive stage led out into Temperance Street, where the September weather held out for the crowds already congregating to music courtesy of Elkka, and the party atmosphere was strong. It really is a brilliant idea to utilise the street which runs alongside Depot Mayfield for more live music; the high walls and compacted crowd made Elkka’s bass sound even more impressive. Temperance Street isn’t open for every WHP event, so having it at Repercussion was special.
Another area which isn’t part of the usual Warehouse Project stage selection is The Star & Garter, a two-floor pub on Fairfield Street which acts as its own independent music venue. Downstairs was your typical English pub, with a central bar and memorabilia decorating the walls, and we were greeted by Dance Regular: Evm128 on entry. However, the pub’s real treat was found by climbing the stairs to the E Soul Cultura Stage, where we watched Aroop Roy and Shy One. The space was dark and hot, with sticky floors and an impressive disco ball. It felt like being in a really cool club – everyone was there for a dance, the music was funky, and it was certainly more intimate than anything on offer in the main Depot.
We did eventually return to the Depot stage for Jyoty, switching it back to bass and the first huge crowd of the night. She thrilled the audience with remixes of tracks such as Jorja Smith‘s ‘Little Things’, Megan Thee Stallion‘s ‘Thot Sh*t’, and Yo Gotti and Nicki Minaj‘s collaboration ‘Rake It Up’. Jyoty combined drum and bass sounds with popular songs which the crowd could sing along, which really got things going at WHP’s biggest stage.
The crowds had also gathered in force outside, where DJ Boring commanded Temperance Street with fast-tempo tracks. The fresh air was certainly needed: Repercussion, with 12 hours of non-stop music, isn’t for the faint-hearted. The outside area took on new qualities once night had fallen, with the lights shining brightly in the darkness.
Repercussion also took over part of Freight Island, its neighbour in Depot Mayfield, and we next headed out via Kerri Chandler at the busy Concourse to the Plant Room. This intimate, smaller stage and seating area provided a necessary break from the heavy sounds and dark warehouse. We caught some of Bradley Zero‘s Rhythm Section set, and it was a welcome interlude in a busy night of bass.
Once we’d sufficiently cooled off, we made our way back into the Concourse for one of the highlights of the night: Jayda G. Jayda commanded a packed-out crowd, despite being on at the same time as popular German group Moderat, and treated the audience to an incredible show. Pink and orange flashing lights were the backdrop to an array of electronic mixes and remixed tunes, such as Barry Can’t Swim‘s ‘God Is The Space Between Us’ and ‘A Deeper Love’ by Aretha Franklin. Funk and soul were seamlessly mixed into drum and bass, and Jayda, who recently released her third album Guy, really stood out during a night where certain sets struggled to shine amongst the sheer volume of artists.
After Jayda G came John Hopkins in the Depot, a set which felt relatively subdued at its start compared to the rest of the night. However, the music soon steadily built into a DnB frenzy, alongside impressive visuals on both the stage screen and across the ceiling and walls of the warehouse. The Depot was gearing up to reach its peak, and the audience was loving every second.
Repercussion’s final triumph of 2023 was Bicep, who debuted their audiovisual DJ set ‘Chroma’ in the main Depot. The electronic duo began their set with the popular track ‘Apricots’, thrilling the expectant crowd. The light show was seriously impressive from the start, with the warehouse lit up in technicolour and laser lighting. The set continued to build over the next 90 minutes, and included all of the Bicep tracks you would hope for, such as ‘Water’ and ‘Glue’. As the opening headliners for WHP’s 2023 season, the duo certainly set the standard high for the likes of upcoming headliners Hybrid Minds, Camelphat, and Skrillex.
As we left the Depot, we headed back through the Concourse to catch some of Eliza Rose’s set. The DJ, singer, and producer topped the UK Singles Charts in September 2022 with viral hit ‘B.O.T.A (Baddest Of Them All)’, and has since released popular tracks ‘Better Love’ and ‘Pleasure Peak’. Alongside a packed Depot for Bicep, the Concourse was relatively empty for Eliza Rose, which was a shame as her quick rhythms and deep bass sounds were a brilliant soundtrack to one final dance.
Upon its return, The Warehouse Project continues to ensure that Manchester’s musical heritage is in safe hands. Repercussion was certainly intense, yet the combination of the industrial setting, hours of DJs at the top of their game, and a welcoming, laid-back atmosphere made for a triumphant arrival back to the warehouse. It certainly seems as though the Depot is ready to host another successful autumn calendar, and you can buy tickets for the rest of The Warehouse Project’s 2023 season here.