- Words Aimee Phillips
- Photography Jody Hartley & Shaun Peckham
Dance heads descended on Manchester's Depot Mayfield for Jamie xx's curated night at Warehouse Project, with Honey Dijon, Bradley Zero, Axel Boman and more on the line-up.
Curated by beat-maker, producer and DJ, Jamie xx, last Friday’s sold-out event saw 10,000 electronic music lovers (including TikTok trainspotting sensation, Francis Bourgeois) soak up immaculate sets from the likes of Bradley Zero, Loraine James, DJ Python, Skee Mask, Axel Boman, and Honey Dijon, as well as Jamie himself.
Located next to Manchester Picadilly train station, Depot Mayfield used to be a Royal Mail sorting office (as Francis helpfully pointed out in his video) but is now home to the legendary dance music mecca, The Warehouse Project.
- The Depot stage
The venue itself is really something to behold. Tucked away down an unassuming side street, The Warehouse Project has made Depot Mayfield it’s home since 2019. Originally started back in 2006, it runs events from September to New Year’s Day each year, previously located at Store Street. Legendary dance acts have graced the decks over the years, from Aphex Twin and Carl Cox to Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Disclosure, Basement Jaxx, The Prodigy, and even Foals, De La Soul, and Chic.
Next door to The Warehouse Project is Escape to Freight Island, a new destination transformed from a long-forgotten freight train depot into a buzzing venue with food and drinks vendors and entertainment – there’s even an ice skating rink for the winter season.
Opening the doors at 7pm – and closing at 4am for maximum dancing time – the sheer vastness of the venue is an ever-present feeling, but it has been meticulously planned out and split into sections, holding three stages, two bars (with an extra bar for VIPs), portaloos, benches for disco breaks, lockers for belongings, and of course a smoking area.
- Jamie xx headlines Depot
Whilst on a similar scale to London’s famous Printworks, The Warehouse Project at Depot Mayfield feels like a more seamless experience. With everything set across one floor, there’s no need to mess around trudging up and down sets of stairs. Instead, you can slip into whichever corner the music beckons you into.
Pitch black from almost the moment you enter, red lasers light the way. To the side, Krysko warmed things up at the Concourse stage, distinguishable by the square halo of lights hovering above the DJ booth. There, Gene on Earth and then Acemo would play, before Josey Rebelle would close at 1am.
Over in the Depot – the largest dancing space which plays host to the biggest acts of the night – Sno kicked things off as doors opened at 7pm before Londoner Bradley Zero took the reins at 8pm. Axel Boman’s recognisable graphics illuminated the Swedish DJ’s shimmering set until Honey Dijon brought the house down from 11pm until half 12. Drawing an immense crowd, dancers cheered as ‘HONEY FUCKING DIJON’, ‘NO RULES’, ‘BLACK GIRL MAGIC’ and ‘ARE THERE ANY QUEENS IN THE HOUSE?’ flashed on the screen behind her. Keeping the crowd moving, Honey treated us to remixes of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Cardi B’s “Up”, amongst others.
- Honey Dijon at the Depot stage
Almost hidden at the back of the Depot is the Archive stage, the smallest but by no means the least popular. Always drawing a strong crowd, Greg Lord, Loraine James, D Tiffany, Overmono and Skee Mask held down the fort, pumping out big beats until 2am, when the sole focus became on headliner Jamie xx.
Jamie’s set, needless to say, was pretty flawless. Each track flowed into the next and at times the set felt almost transcendent. Crowd-pleasing hits such as “Idontknow” and “Gosh” were spun as a rainbow of lasers brushed across the floor.
Although the venue didn’t start to get busy until about 10pm, at no point did it feel overcrowded. Frankly, it was just such a joy to be back dancing amongst thousands of other people, losing myself in the music, and praying at the altar of electronic music once more.
- Acemo plays Concourse