Manchester has always known how to throw a party. From the rough and ready days of the '60s and '70s, when tough punk spittoon-bars rubbed shoulders with Northern Soul joints and West Indian dub-clubs, past the hedonistic heights of acid-house, Madchester and 'baggy', right up to the recent surge in superclubs and sweaty little basements. Sadly, as Ian McCulloch once observed, nothing lasts forever and now another excellent venue has decided to close its doors.
On 1st January 2012, the Warehouse Project underneath Manchester Piccadilly station will join the ranks of the Hacienda, Twisted Wheel, Rafters and the Ritz and close its doors for the last time, a decision not taken lightly by the owners who feel that 'the club has gone as far as it could'.
To ensure that the run-up to that final closing party (already sold-out, by the way) goes with the proverbial bang that it should, the Warehouse Project has enlisted the help of just about anybody who's anybody in the dance and indie scene to play out the last few months! There isn't enough disk-space on our servers to go into detail about every performer, so we've picked out our Top 10 nights of WHP '11!
The 'Beginning Of The End' officially starts on Saturday 17th September when Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow, presents his amazing Live From The Shadowsphere show (basically involving an audio-visual feast and, er, a giant sphere from where Shadow will deliver. Other performers on the night include SBTRKT, Skream, Hudson Mohawke and Africa Hi-Tech. £20.
The doyen of electronic music on Radio One will fittingly say goodbye to the venue on 23rd September with an impressive mixture of supporting electronic and urban performers that includes Jack Beats, Ms Dynamite, The 2 Bears, MJ Cole and the bass-heavy action from L-Vis 1990. It promises to be quite a night - tickets cost £18.50.
Not surprisingly for a night entitled Deconstructed, Mike Pickering (head of the influential crossover label, Deconstruction) is part of the bill headed by Scotland's pioneering house-producer, Calvin Harris on 7th October. Major US tech-house heavyweight, Felix Da Housecat, Scottish disco-house producer Burns and live sets from The Japanese Popstars and Retro/Grade also feature. £20.
Currently the darlings of the music-press by some considerable margin, The Horrors are no strangers to setting up behind decks, having played a few DJ sets in their time. However, this show on 15th October is all about the live experience and they will be joined by Factory Floor and XXXY, as well as special guests TBA. £17.50.
How about THIS for a send-off on 12th November? The lords of '70s disco and soul head up an evening curated by Simian Mobile Disco called Delicatessen with a live set. Featuring founder-member Nile Rodgers, expect the classics, "Good Times", "Le Freak" and "Everybody Dance". Jeff Mills and Simian Mobile Disco provide DJ sets. £20.
One of the true pioneers and experimenters of UK electronic during the past two decades, Aphex Twin, spearheads this night called Thrasher on 18th November. Pulling together like-minded luminaries such as the mysterious Zomby, Hudson Mohawke and Koreless, this isn't a night for the faint-hearted! £22.50.
FabricLive will take over the venue on 19th November for a night of breakbeats and dubstep madness, with Andy C, Rusko, Benga, Breakage and Hyetal pounding the living daylights out of the inhouse soundsystems across two rooms, making one almighty coming together of a dozen big names. £18.50.
Possibly in the top 3 of the most influential labels period - Belgium's R & S Records is currently experiencing a creative renaissance with minimal troubadour James Blake at the helm. Other signings Untold, Pariah, Space Dimension Controller and Blawan will rub shoulders with Mount Kimbie and Andrew Weatherall for a truly unmissable event on 26th November. £17.50.
More crazy electro happenings will descend on the Warehouse Project on 2nd December when Jacques Lu Cont will play a rare Chibuku-curated night, headed up by a live show by fidgety Fake Blood, the huge Erol Alkan and Lu Cont with his usual eclectic blend of styles, no doubt including a bit of Les Rhythms Digitales cheekiness. £18.50.
It really will go Pete Tong on 17th December for what promises to be a mammoth evening (and morning) of club classics from the legend himself. Headlining the night is progressive techno-master Sasha, one of Tong's most-played artists on his show, along with James Zabiela and many more guests TBA. £20.
All the nights are worth heading to, of course (full listings, below), including one featuring Foals live on 30th December - the details have yet to be finalised, as indeed is this year's New Years Eve party. If you are lucky enough to be at the final party on 1st January, you can look forward to Derrick Carter, Yousef and 'a very special guest'!