As the cab pulled up to The Warehouse Project in Manchester, I could see droves of girls in short shorts and guys in tank tops flocking to the entry line to get into the venue (and out of the rain). My friends and I were swept up into the buzz of the excited clubgoers, hearing smatterings of foreign conversations – it turns out that “Diplo” is the same in every language!
Once we entered the club, my friends and I rushed to one of the three rooms within the Warehouse Project to see Norwegian phenom Cashmere Cat. Decked out in a “Sad Boys” cap, Cashmere Cat played a significant amount of his own catalog as well as “jersey club” style tunes, peppered with R&B and hip hop tracks such as “Bed” by J. Holiday, “I’m Real (Remix)” by Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule, and, of course, plenty of Drake. Everyone at the 90 minute set was dancing nonstop, including myself. By the time it was over, everyone was drenched in sweat from shaking it so hard! While exiting Room 2 (where Cashmere Cat played), I ran into the man himself as he was departing the venue. For those curious, Cashmere Cat’s hair is as luxurious in real life as it is in photos. Plus, he blew me a kiss! Cashmere Cat was a fantastic performer, and throughout the night, the crowd at the Warehouse Project raved about his unique blend of minimalist, hip-hop inspired beats and sexy slow jams, which makes Cashmere Cat an unusual find in the world of electronic music.
Finally, it was time for the main event: Major Lazer. The majority of the people in WHP piled into Room One, a section of the venue that felt like an indoor version of a festival’s mainstage. One thing about English crowds – they’re not as aggressive as US crowds, in that they aren’t as territorial about their “spot.” My friends and I pushed all the way to the front and secured a section in the third row, then waited for the Major Lazer set to begin. While Chromeo finished up their set, I noticed that a huge curtain obscured about 3/4s of the depth of the stage. When it dropped, Diplo, Walshyfire and Jillionaire were revealed launching into a high-energy 2 hour set. Bouncing around BPMs, the trio played everything from hard-hitting electro house bangers, sexy trap drops, vibey reggaeton, and of course, all the Major Lazer classics. With amazing dancers on stage and Walshyfire’s supreme hyping skills, the group made a two-hour set feel like twenty minutes by keeping the crowd entertained with superb tunes and lots of crowd interaction. Diplo even ran around shirtless over the crowd in an inflatable human hamster ball. Major Lazer, himself, also made an appearance accompanied by backup dancers twerking on him while he pumped up the crowd. When they dropped DJ Snake’s incredible remix of “Bubble Butt,” Major Lazer invited some of the girls on stage to twerk for them alongside their dancers. Needless to say, the show was memorable, and one of the most high-energy sets I’ve seen this year.
After the intensity of Major Lazer, we went back to Room 2 to check out T. Williams’ deep house set. The mood of the crowd was much more subdued and focused on the music. It was a good change of pace before Diplo’s solo set, also in the same room. Diplo’s set was really amazing. The Mad Decent founder and entrepreneur played a set filled with songs from his new EP “Revolution,” along with jersey club, rap (such as “RIP” by Young Jeezy), trap and moombahton. Once his set began, Room 2 was flooded with clubbers and became packed wall-to-wall. When “Boy Oh Boy” dropped, the collective shouts of joy in the room made me feel like I was back in the United States again – turns out that everyone loves that song, no matter where you are from!
We stayed for Diplo’s set, then headed out to catch a cab and head back into the heart of Manchester, still riding the wave of excitement from the night (and wondering when our hearing would come back fully). My first experience at WHP was amazing, thanks to insanely good sets by Cashmere Cat, Major Lazer and Diplo. If you get a chance to see any of them, take it! You’ll be happy you did – I guarantee it.