Last Saturday saw WHP team up with Croatia’s Love International for a night of house, techno, disco and everything in between.
The energy was palpable as we arrived at Store Street, flooding the entrances were crowds of people with an infectious sense of excitement. The reason we picked this night in particular was not just because Love International Festival has long been one of our staple summer events, but also because of the impressive lineup. The roster included no less than Larry Heard AKA Mr Fingers Live, Laurent Garnier, Crazy P live, Joy Orbison, Midland and Leon Vynehall amongst others. Which is, you know, not bad for a Saturday night in Manchester.
Arriving just before the stipulated last entry time of 9:30pm, Nottingham based Crazy P was already on the Main Stage.Their sound was very much electro pop with 80’s vibes seeping out of it. Showcasing tracks from their multitude of albums, the energy they created was huge from as soon as the set began.
Danielle Moore swapped and changed between singing throughout and dancing across the stage as though she was in an empty room.She, alone, allowed everyone in that crowd to copy her and dance like nobody was watching. Towards the end of their set the room began to empty as everyone made their way to room two for Midland.
Entertaining as ever, Midland’s sets often range from disco, to house, to 80’s electro and back again. However, his chosen vibe for WHP verged more on the heavier side, and it was a welcomed change.
Midland had a captivated audience from start to finish. Kick drums rolled and spacey synth-lines – perfectly suited to the darkness of Warehouse Project’s dancefloor – bounded around the room as it gradually filled to max capacity.Midland rode the natural ebb and flow as only an experienced DJ can, hitting the peaks hard with a four-floor stormer the one time and a Todd Terje-esque disco edit the next – never losing grasp of the groove even when taking it down a notch to allow the room to recover.
Next up was headliner Larry Heard, joined by onstage vocalist Mr White. Over his 90 minute set, he presented a career-spanning setlist that moved from rolling deep house to mesmerising acid.
Flawless renditions of “What About This Love” and “You Rock Me” set the mood early, while the closing trio of “Can You Feel It,” “The Sun Can’t Compare” and “Missing You” sent the room into near-hysterics. His set was a testament to house music’s unifying qualities, and a reminder that the power of a well-crafted record is eternal.
The end the night it was back to Room 2 for Joy Orbison and then Denis Sulta. Joy’s set as impressive as always, masterfully navigating through his collection of bouncy UK funky, devastating techno and the sort of gun-finger garage that gave a few in the crowd misty-eyed memories of that Acetate. His ability to pick music on the fringes of these genres was impressive.
Closing the room was none other than man of the moment Denis Sulta, who served up a fine selection of crunchy house, mashed together with a soulful dash of disco bangers with a little bit of old-school trance thrown in for good measure.
The set was impossible to tear yourself away from, with Denis delivering killer grooves, killer songs and a coherent sound throughout the 90 minute set. Much of the pleasure of watching Denis comes from how hell-bent he is on having fun; he got the crowd clapping, whistling and shouting for more as he clearly enjoyed every minute of his set.