Robert Hood’s productions as Floorplan are filled with religious soul and spirit. As Store Street emptied towards 4.30am, Hood and his daughter, Lyric, who make up Floorplan — Hood’s long-time side project — were stitching uplifting Christian gospel lyrics into a punishing hour-long closing set. Aesthetically, with minimal lighting accompanied by bare-bones, thumping techno, the American father-daughter duo’s live set eclipsed all that came before it, with the venue’s roof raising for the anthemic, wailing ‘We Magnify His Name’.
Earlier, Henrik Schwarz, the master at blending samba and house rhythms, evident in the glorious remix of ‘Ene Nyame 'A' Mensuro’, powered seamlessly through his slot in the congested main space. We’d arrived as Jasper James and Jackmaster were playing an unadvertised back-to-back (B2B). Things had got going more rapidly than they had for the Love International show two weeks earlier, yet it was was Schwarz who really turned up the heat.
A boyish crowd filled the space under Piccadilly for Mastermix. Glasgow’s Jack Revill, AKA Jackmaster in partnership with the Numbers label, had invited a close-knit number of DJs and producers along. Mastermix is an ongoing series of curated worldwide events; and Revill’s freedom to ask along whoever he likes has seen likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Seth Troxler and Moodymann on line-ups at clubs and festivals.
Drifting through the dancefloors and other areas of the cavernous carpark, the formula was set: stylish house and techno, interlaced with refreshing disco cuts. DJ Bone showed Room 2 is a solid — if not smelly — club in its own right as Jeff Mills’ ‘The Bells’ chimed out.
Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ featured too. After hearing it for the third time, though, you start to question the reason why you go clubbing — which, in essence, is the quest for hearing the unconventional. The best DJ sets are about discovery. That’s why it was a shame when Dukwa, playing in Room 2, brought his dark and twisting set to an end. The Italian’s perverse and disobedient hour was murky, different and ultimately cut short too soon when Krystal Klear laboured to get going.
The big question of the night was how Hunee, playing his first Warehouse Project, would follow on from Schwarz in Room 1. The stylish German, central to the Amsterdam scene and integral to Rush Hour Records based in the city, is known for his eclectic soul, disco and 80s sets. Yet, surprisingly, he opened by going toe-to-toe with Schwarz.
He opted for some slamming electronica but settled into his own unique groove. One of the scene’s most affable characters and meticulous selectors, Hunee, on his own terms, journeyed through a cross section of genres with the conviction of a man who knows how to work a crowd.
Jackmaster then took to the reigns for two hours to keep the lads happy, donning Celtic F.C jersey during highly energised peak-time slot. Revill absorbed the music he loves at the Glaswegian record shop Rubadub before honing his DJing craft at Sub Club. While not a producer in his own right, his enigmatic character and supercharged sets are a draw that’ve seen him make DC10 in Ibiza his home.
Manchester deserves a low-key purpose-built clubbing venue to straddle the gap between the likes of Soup Kitchen, Hidden and The Warehouse Project. For the time being, though, and with the ongoing Disneyfication of the underground, Store Street more than suffices. The one-in, one-out entry policy in Room 2 for Artwork and Denis Sulta’s B2B encapsulated the night pretty well — jam-packed line-ups and an equivalent venue thanks to the swell of expectant bodies.
Ultimately, though, Jackmaster, known for his infectious energy and hammering house sets, had triumphantly moulded Store Street as his own. The diversity of artists on offer, while each sticking close to Revill’s ideals of crunchy house and ‘3am bangers’, was pretty satisfying. The expert programming from the Numbers crew turned The Warehouse Project, a functional party space, into something a whole lot more haphazard and disorderly.
It was a perfect representation of the behemoth that swamps Manchester’s scene at a time when The Warehouse Project grapples with the essence of ‘proper’ clubbing.