Reviewed: Curated by Daniel Avery at The Warehouse Project
Daniel Avery, an artist who stands out from the crowd in so many aspects, with his intriguing and original take on electronic music. Displaying this through his productions and DJ sets that knit together ambient, electro and techno with influences drawn from far more than the dance floor alone.
When it was announced that he would be curating a night at this seasons Warehouse Project, as one of the last ever events to take place in the final run of shows at Store Street, it felt essential to attend to witness what this would bring.
Making a long-awaited return this year with ‘Song for Alpha’, the LP widely acclaimed across the musical landscape, Daniel Avery has really made his mark as a pioneer of an unconventional, inspiring style that has amassed him loyal followers across multiple scenes of music. A path that he has followed from some of those that helped him in his early parts of his career, such as the Phantasy Sound label boss Erol Alkan and UK dance music legend Andrew Weatherall.
As anticipated the line up represented an exciting, diverse blend of DJs with titans such as Daphni and Marcel Dettmann playing alongside names that have lit up the last year like Skee Mask and HAAi. Also featured was emerging talent Peach, IDA and re:ni.
It had been a few years since I had found myself under the famous arches of the Manchester venue that has played host to countless memorable nights since its initial launch in 2007, often with DJs describing it as a highlight of the autumn/winter clubbing season. As soon as you walk into the former air raid shelter under Piccadilly Station it is easy to see why! Huge brick walls and tunnels make it the perfect setting to lose yourself in for the night.
Skee Mask was the first artist I checked out on the night and it was impossible not to after his recent album ‘Compro’ caught the imagination of so many. Even though early in the night, he was sending shockwaves through the tunnel of room 2 with the heftiest of techno, including Robert Natus’ ‘Pain’. Just like the breakbeat inspired, multi-faceted style of his productions, his DJ sets move through different sounds with ease, the wobbly grime bassline of Geeneus’ ‘Old Skool 2’ (Trends Remix) delighting those on the floor who were already clearly in the mood for moving all night.
Over in room 1, the captivating Daphni had taken to the decks. In similar fashion, he was treating the crowd to vibrant and energetic party tunes, like the 1998 classic from Thomas Bangalter ‘Turbo’, the sea like rich tapestry of the throng below him seeking out the space they could to show their appreciation. A man who has endless musical knowledge, more euphoria and delight was induced by him with the feel good funk of the Disco Re-Edit by Dmitri from Paris of Love Committee’s ‘Just As Long as I Got You’. The room was now well and truly warmed up.
In the smaller, intimate confines of room 3, re:ni seriously impressed me with an all vinyl blend of jungle and breaks, mixing with intricacy and rhythmic flair. Creating a dark atmosphere but with a smile drawn to her face as she could see the music lovers clearly enjoying every moment of the set. Definitely, a name to watch out for over the coming months.
When Daniel Avery stepped up, blue spotlights bearing down, a certain magical mystique filled the air, his tall, gangly figure and flowing locks cutting an unmistakeable character behind the decks. Although other great names were on display tonight, it was clear who everyone was here to see. The room now completely full and eager to hear what mind bending tracks would be dealt. Unbound by the restraints of genres and not a man to be pigeon holed, the one hour and 45 minutes of his set flew by. Opening intensely with spacey techno, some of the crowd held arms aloft, others enjoyed moments with their eyes closed, taking it all in. The thumping, unrelenting ‘Verlorene Seelen’ by SHDW & Obscure Shape received a particularly raucous response. The crowd was made up of friendly characters from all corners of life, this adding to the experience, making an instant connection with people through just the passing of eyes, or mutual nod of approval at the music being heard. Mixing tracks with light and dark moments from both his fantastic albums alongside unreleased and unrecognisable weaponry, everyone was left satisfied at what they had heard, although thirsting for more come the end.
Following that there wouldn’t be many who would be able to produce enough energy to keep the room alive, but fortunately, it was Marcel Dettmann who was given this task. A forcible presence under a red, warm glow, he always tells a dark and moody story that leaves you gripped. The menacing electro of DJ Seinfield’s ‘Sakura’ a particular highlight of his set, eerie vocal samples providing a momentary pause before bodies were locked into the groove once more under an early morning, pre after-hours spell.
Daniel’s outlook is one that sees all electronic music ultimately producing the same moments, the unforgettable ones that you look back on for years, that you see as completely worth investing your time and money in and this night was full of those.