Gig review: Rush Hour – Warehouse Project – 13/10/18

The event could debatably be seen as a much quieter affair with underwhelming ticket sales and some going for a third of the price (£10) on Fallowfield Student Group.

For those that don’t know, Rush Hour was born out of veteran house DJ Antal’s record shop in Amsterdam and has picked up diverse acts such as Japanese games composer Soichi Terada, Tom Trago, Young Marco and disco evangelist Hunee along the way.

Earlier in the week, Hunee described Rush Hour as a ‘family’ which sounds like a platitude considering everyone from Adam Beyer to Ben UFO has said it about their respective labels. But Rush Hour are known for their almost tribal mentality, moving as one singular collective with Warehouse Project being their first big ‘family do’ since Klub Dramatik in Antwerp.

Following their sold-out Pride party with Octo Octo at The White Hotel, local LGBT disco collective ‘High Hoops’ kick things off with a combination of afrobeat and disco. Considering final entry is at 5pm, the dancefloor is surprisingly empty but I’m always blown away by the sheer power of WHP’s sound-system.

I’ve also always seen the dancefloor as deceptively intimate, the car park is a maze but the eight bollards compartmentalize the main stage into a small rectangle. During the set, you quickly become oblivious to the surrounding stages as the iconic parallel golden traffic lights reflect against your dilated pupils.

The dancefloor’s emptiness is also a welcome break from not pointing out your elbows to barge your way through the crowd. ‘High Hoops’ close with a Madonna’s iconic ‘Vogue’ set to a fluorescent array of purple lights which really sets the night into motion. The dancefloor’s sparseness is no longer a worry and a disco set’s inherent ‘cheeky grins’ foreshadows one of the best sets that I’ve seen in a long time.

High Hoops’ closing track, Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ also pretty much summarizes Gerd Janson’s style as his sets seem to pivot around post-disco, as he cherry picks heavily synth-inspired tunes such as Dixon’s remix of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘I Used To’ in contrast to most big disco stalwarts who just pull out Kiki Gyan’s ‘Disco Dancer’ and ‘Keep the Fire Burning.’

The set almost pretty much sounds identical to his releases ‘Surrender’ and ‘Don’t Go’ on Regarded last year as his trademark seems to be wrapping up post-80s disco in a kind of euphoric piano-driven melodic house.

As expected with Warehouse Project, the drinks are typically always overpriced but that doesn’t worry most of the clientele and the smoking queue infuriatingly forms an entire ‘U’ shape with wait times of up to half an hour for a quick cig.

Following his two-hour set, I decided to check out San Proper in the second room and Soichi Terada replaced Gerd Janson in the main room. San Proper is personally one of my favourite selectors around at the moment as he is genuinely unpredictable – just check out his Dekmantel Sao Paulo set which somehow starts with Krautrock (Can) before moving onto Serge Gainsbourg and The Clash.

I guess that you could say that he’s aiming for the Balearic beat – doing an Alfredo and throwing a bit of everything in there to see what sticks– but then that’s been probably said about every eclectic DJ since 1987. With long hair and a beard like a nefarious drug baron from a Coen Brothers film, San Proper fits the bill and certainly looks in the ‘spirit of the event’ as he hypes up the crowd from pushing his chest out to flailing his hands around in the air. It’s also probably the funkiest set of the night as he begins with some groovy seductive soul (think Al Green or Roy Ayres) before moving into traditional disco and ending on house.

In the other room, Soichi Terada has to be the most wholesome DJ on the planet as he endearingly climbs across the decks and treats the Pioneers as his own acrobatic course. It’s my second time seeing Terada’s iconic handheld synthesiser and I’ve never seen as many Cheshire-Cat shaped grins fill a room than during his set.

A Soichi Terada performance is something that everybody has to see at least once in their lives – equally surreal, hilarious and genuinely just heart-warming. Despite Antal and Hunee’s headline slots, the biggest draw of the night has to be Detroit’s enigmatic Moodymann.

Hiding beneath his iconic bucket hat and shades, he plays what I would argue is a fairly simplistic and derivative box-ticking exercise as he drops most tunes from his debut album and just fairly generic disco from the likes of Crazy P and Maze. But then, it is a rare opportunity to see Moodymann – even if he did play Hidden a few months ago.

For disco and house fanatics, it can’t be denied that Rush Hour is perhaps the most diverse and interesting night to attend. A really great all-day event and I’m hoping to attend ‘We Still Believe’ with the likes of Honey Dijon, Jayda G and Motor City Drum Ensemble later in the year.
I give it 5/5.

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