Written for Ticket Arena
Last weekend brought the most varied and eclectic line-ups of the season to the Warehouse Project. With an air of buzz around the Victoria Warehouse from the nights which had the likes of Chic, Nile Rogers, Hot Chip, TEED and 2manydjs, I knew what was in store for me as it was the turn of Four Tet and Caribou to host another sell-out show.
There was a different sort of atmosphere on this particular night compared to other nights that I’ve been to at WHP. A notable difference, and a welcomed one to be brutally honest, was the lack of low dipped vest wearing, sunshade sporting alpha males strutting around. Don’t get me wrong, a dress sense should in no way depict the style of music you adhere to and people can wear whatever they like but, during this particular period of dance music ‘culture’ in the UK, I was hardly surprised with the shortage of these chauvinistic character types.
I’ve got to be honest, after watching Thom Yorke’s flagrant Boiler Room set last year, I was adamant to stray away, but, curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see what seems to be the only downfall of such a revered musician for myself. During his illustrious career in one of the greatest bands to come out of the UK within the past 25 years; experimental side project Atoms For Peace and collaborations with Modeselektor, you’d have thought that his technical ability on the decks would be on par with some of the best. Truth be told, his selection was average and his mixing was aided by Nigel Godrich. His vocal additions with Radiohead’s Reckoner over looping reverberating techno was the only welcomed personal touch to what was otherwise, a deplorable set.
Madlib was on next and instrumental hip-hop took the lead within the first half hour. I’ve always believed in the ethos that a good DJ should be able to read the crowd and adjust their set accordingly. Throughout his entire set Madlib was head down, concentrating on what he does best. He’s a true turntablist, continuously beat juggling he was technically quite astonishing, but cheers were too far in between. He played favourites Slim’s Return, and his collaboration with the late J-Dilla’s album title track, Champion Sound, but the crowd quite obviously wanted more. I was a little disappointed, the night wasn’t reaching it’s full potential, and news only worsened as Doom cancelled last minute.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, Four Tet had been given an extended set. Kieran Hebden as he’s also known was saving the night. His selection was fresh, entertaining and building the atmosphere that room one deserves. Lead track, Kool FM, off his new album, Beautiful Rewind, received a great response. All in all, it was a typically flawless set.
Owing to the variety of the line up I was dipping in and out of the three rooms all night. Watching Ben UFO B2B with Pearson Sound was another highlight. Dropping unknown tracks with everything from 2-step garage, classic house, dubstep and techno, they had onlookers at their complete control. Particular note was the syncopated kicks of Pearson Sound’s, Power Drumssss, which sent Room 2 into a frenzy.
I then found myself watching Wookie in Room 3. People sometimes complain that garage DJs circulate the same classics in every set, but at 3am, I couldn’t see a single soul without a smile on their face. It was fun and energising, and after dropping Sia’s, Little Man and Zed Bias’, Neighbourhood, I was feeling nothing but nostalgia.
A Four Tet and Caribou B2B ended the night. Treating us with LFO’s, Freak, Joy Orbisons’, Ellipsis and MD X-Spress’, God Made Me Phunky (which received the biggest reaction of the night), the set encompassed everything Four Tet and Caribou are both renowned for: diversity. With it being the first time that I’ve seen either of them before, I won’t hesitate to see them again. All in all, it was yet another great night put on by the Warehouse Project.