THE INFAMOUS Warehouse Project brought the highly anticipated event ‘Circus’ to Manchester with a promise of ‘serious music and fun times’. Quays News entertainment reporter Jasmine Rigby went along to see if it delivered that promise…

The slogan rang true as the evening wore on but it was more serious than fun. Electronic London duo Dusky was the name jumping off the running order as they took the crowd through to the early hours of Sunday morning. This was my first experience of WHP and therefore I went in with no expectations; a fan of the house genre the evening opened my eyes to the spectrum of deep house and techno styles.

The night began with rising house DJ talent Lewis Boardman who kick started the event with his deep underground vibes. A familiar face for circus fans, Boardman’s intrinsic set comprised of heavy basslines, with a hint of techno to his sound. Given Boardman was first on the bill it is to be expected that the crowd was at its most sparse but those who were there shuffled, glided and bounced to the beats. The in demand producer is far from the emerging genre of commercial house; Boardman keeps it heavy with a somewhat repetitive sound. A reputation that continues to grow after each gig much is expected of Boardman. But for me, however, he was not the most memorable…

Boardman had set the scene with the night still in its infancy, he passed the batten on to London techno duo Dense&Pika. Made up of Alex Jones and Chris Sperro, the DJ duo, around since 2011, raised the roof with high energy house vibes. Preceding the main headliner – Dusky – is by no means an easy task but it was a challenge the pair relished.

They were not phased. They believe in what they do and what they do they do well.

Attending with a fellow reporter, he admitted that his previous visit saw a more lyric based house event; tonight was all about the drops, the beats and the vibes. Whilst at times it proved exhilarating as Manchester threw its arms aloft, losing its inhibitions it was equally as monotonous and frustrating.

One improvement the duo brought to proceedings was the greater emphasis on a strobe lighting display – an effect that Lewis Boardman appeared reluctant to explore. Dense&Pika left the decks to rapturous applause with chants for Dusky to show themselves creating a cacophony of noise in the urban, underground venue.

The time had arrived. It was the moment Manchester had waited so patiently for as the crowd was at its peak. It was time for Dusky to show the crowd just why they are so revered across the globe.

Nick Harriman and Alfie Granger-Howell aka Dusky have become renowned for both the breadth and diversity of their production sound. A combination of a garage sound mixed with a bassline so intense the room shook.

The crowd numbers grew and as such I was forced deeper and deeper into the back of the room.

Lyrically lacking and at times overly minimalistic Dusky failed to meet the hype that so many of the audience had suggested. A live DJ set is never easy and for that it’s hard to be too critical but it was simply not the performance the audience was expecting.

A set that will ultimately divide an opinion it was Dense&Pika that edged outshone the main attraction.

How the organisers felt the warehouse could house so many people will always remain a mystery as the majority of the audience were always struggling for space. Circus comes with a great deal of rave reviews but from my experience this evening I was left wanting. Whilst the acts were not dreadful, surrounded by intoxicated brash males killed the good vibes. If you like your personal space, WHP is not the place to be…

By Jasmine Rigby

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