Hospitality @ The Warehouse Project: Manchester, 23/11/12

At Warehouse Project it’s not like the acts have to work to get the crowd moving; incredible lineups are obligatory at this staple of the contemporary ‘rave’ scene. This night promised a bit of Drum and Bass indulgence, with the main room curated by giants of the scene Hospital Records. Rooms Two and Three boasted the likes of Loefah & Klose One, Plastician, Joker and Boddika. With this massive and varied line up, and a crowd clearly up for it, the night is set to be one to remember… and yet to be honest, I feel like I’m at a sponsored electronic music radio station. Julio Bashmore’s Au Seve has blasted out at least 3 times before midnight as enterprising fellows stroll about selling poppers, gum and other baubles to the crowd, treating us like walking wallets. This is not unusual, but when it seems to overtake actually having a good time, it can become worrying.

The sheer size of Room One is perfect for Hospital records, as act after act plays brain-melting Liquid DnB that actually manages to fill the space. S.P.Y, despite his early billing, pleased the crowd with a classic set containing some unexpected moments such as dropping one of his more chilled Marcus Intalex collaborations ‘Paulista’. Rockwell’s set had a hypnotic ambient feel which stood out powerfully in the face of Hospital’s relentless energy, proving to be one of the highlights of the night. He’s come very far in the last year and his ability to engage with the crowd was impressive, showing a keen awareness of what the night was lacking.

Swamp 81 took control of room three, fielding acts such as Oneman and Loefah who usually take calm control of their audiences. Hence it was pretty disappointing that they seemed tired, almost unmotivated in the face of the cavernous and unpopulated space.

On entering a venue that has received much criticism, your thoughts are obviously clouded by reports from those that have been before. But the venue is not as bad as many have said. OK, so it’s filthy, too big and full of beefy security standing around seemingly oblivious to the waterfiending masses, but moving in like mantis if they think they see you smoking in the venue. Yes, it may feel like organized, overly prescribed fun – but what do you expect? It should be a fair trade off for such a varied line up all under one roof… and yet to be honest, it’s not.

Oscar Burton Xi