The waiting was over, rumours were dispelled and no doubt many bank balances and computer systems were hit hard as the Warehouse Project (WHP) revealed its much-anticipated 2012 season line-up last week.
From some of the biggest names in clubbing history to artists at the very cutting edge of alternative and underground dance music, the organisers seemed to have out-done themselves again.
This year, the vaunted clubbing project has gone west from its Store Street warren underneath Piccadilly train station to Trafford’s Victoria Park warehouse in the heart of the city’s docklands.
“We’ve sort of torn up the rule book again. Everyone was starting to feel comfortable at Store Street. We had taken it as far as we could,” says Sacha Lord-Marchionne, Manchester’s night club mogul at the centre of it all.
“The WHP was always about evolving and exploring,” he adds.
As a trial run for the influential project’s seventh season, the new Trafford Park Road venue whetted the appetites of dance music junkies with an Easter weekend WHP special.
“You never know how a venue works or breaths until you’ve put people in there,” explains Lord-Marchionne.
“There were quite a few logistical changes that we have made, in order to improve the whole experience.”
In a first for WHP, trance superstars Armin van Buuren and Grammy award nominated Paul van Dyk will share the stage on Saturday October 20 in an incredibly rare event, this year also marking Dyk’s WHP debut.
Meanwhile, the pair responsible for the fastest selling night in WHP’s history back in 2008, the Chemical Brothers, will return on Saturday December 8 in what’s set to be a sold-out electrified event.
Formed in Manchester in 1991 and going on to become one of the most prolific and leading forces in dance music the world over, the pair have just released their official track, ‘Velodrome’, for the Olympic indoor cycling events.
Supporting will be James Murphy, the musical connoisseur and brains behind New York’s mighty DFA Records, the groundbreaking Andrew Weatherall and the idiosyncratic Horse Meat Disco.
The first night of December sees Orbital grace the decks, fresh from this year’s earlier release of their first album in eight years, ‘Wonky’, which is already being hailed in some quarters as the band’s best LP so far.
Joining them will be a host of big names from Berlin including Apparat, Modeselektor and Marcel Dettman. There’ll also be a special twin set from Joy Orbison and Boddika playing their deeply heavy sound which nods to the classics of early 90s house.
If this wasn’t enough, the legendary boy from Hull and one time Housemartins drummer Fatboy Slim has confirmed he will play alongside Radio 1 resident and Essential Mix curator Pete Tong, who in turn will have to compete with Basement Jaxx mixing in Room 2.
The sheer wealth of artists on offer begs the question of whether WHP even have to ask artists to play any more. “That’s down to my business partner, Sam Kandel,” says Lord-Marchionne.
“He literally goes nuts for months, trying to piece the whole jigsaw together,” he adds, for the WHP is essentially a project created by a trio of Manchester nightclub and promotional heavyweights.
Lord-Marchionne along with Kandel and Kirsty Smith were the original forces that saw Sankey’s Soap become the pre-eminent clubbing venue in the city before WHP burst on to the scene in an abandoned Boddington’s brewery site in Strangeways.
However, even Sacha’s first forays into the clubbing scene started big: “I actually started in 1994 with my first night at the Hacienda although it was never meant to carry on like this. It was supposed to be a one-off for some pocket money.
“God knows what’s happened!”
Jamie XX, the man arguably behind the take-up of future garage by the American RnB pop scene thanks to his masterful reworking of Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘I’m New Here’ will support Flying Lotus and the inimitable Squarepusher as part of a WHP and Red Bull Music Academy joint curation on Friday November 9.
This season also includes an extended line-up of residents including a Joy Orbison performing solo, Four Tet, Julio Bashmore, Scuba, Benga and respected Manchester natives Will Tramp!, Now Wave DJs, Krysko and Illum Sphere.
Manchester night Metropolis will be honoured with a special ‘10 Years of Metropolis’ showcase on November 3 with the mighty Chase & Status, DJ Fresh and Ms Dynamite alongside Skream who blew away the crowds at last year’s Store Street opening.
Both SBTRKT and Bloc Party will host and curate nights on October 6 and 19 respectively, while Muscovite Nina Kraviz will return after her storming Easter special set supporting the one and only Carl Cox on Friday October 5.
In a change from the usual fare, American psychedelic chillwave bands Animal Collective and Prince Rama will together perform an eight hour set between them on Thursday November 8.
However, details for the New Years Eve and New Years Day parties still remain unreleased but Lord-Marchionne won’t be drawn on what’s happening.
“We currently have an offer in for both Timmy Mallet and Right Said Fred,” he jokes… but given his repeated attempts at re-writing and then ripping up the rule book, you can’t put it past him.
His biggest fear? “That I have a heart attack before January 1!
“January 2 onwards would be fine.”
Last entry to all club events will be at 22:30 and prices vary for each night. For more information and tickets visit www.thewarehouseproject.com