Review: Special Edition, Bonobo Presents Outlier, Mayfield Depot

A collaboration between Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project, curated with BBC Radio 6 Music’s Mary Anne Hobbs.

By Manchester's Finest | 14 November 2018

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The Special Edition is a series of unique nights in Manchester’s immense and atmospheric Mayfield, a former railway station in Manchester, with lighting designer Stuart Bailes and support from Sollinger Laser Animations.

The Special Edition runs 3 – 10 November, side by side with the full WHP18 season. As part of Special Edition, Bonobo brings his international Outlier series to Manchester.

Previously presented in London and New York, Outlier has seen Bonobo harness his talents as a curator and arbiter of club culture, as well as demonstrating his instinctive relationship with music.

Bonobo has handpicked the lineup, including; Bonobo (DJ), George Fitzgerald (live), Gilles Peterson, Shanti Celeste, Palms Trax and Josey Rebelle.

Mayfield Depot, opened in the early 20th century and closed in 1986 before sitting dormant for over 25 years, it is one of Manchester’s finest “discoveries”, setting imaginations wild for a possible Berlin-style clubbing space and warehouse parties. It’s the perfect backdrop for tonight’s event.

George Fitzgerald brings the only live set of the night. He kicks things off with a cover of Four Tet to grab our attention. London born electronic artist George Fitzgerald’s manages to infuse techno with subtle atmospheric dubstep.

Fitzgerald draws on his various influences to create something reflective, distinctive and downright stunning. He brings onto the stage some live support for the vocals on his tracks and creates a good blend of live performance and some talented mixing. He finishes strong with the masterful remix of ‘Burns, Lane 8’.

Didn’t know what to expect from tonight’s next act, Palms Trax, known for producing eclectic mix’s suited of for a mid afternoon pick me up, sandwiched in between George Fitz and Bonobo. He pulls out a mesmerising set, perfectly ridging the gap between a live performance and Bonobo’s set.

The Berlin based artist is at home in front of a crowd of this size, as he builds the crowd up for the set to follow, perfectly.

We last saw Bonobo in Manchester last year at the Apollo with his live band performing the latest album ‘Migration’ (followed by the unforgettable after party DJ set at Gorilla). We are very excited and intrigued to see how his WHP / MIF special will sound.

Simon Green takes to his decks and opens his set with massive track ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’ his most popular track off the recent album.

The production of the entire event is as impressive as the music coming out the huge speaker setup. The huge derelict space is filled with smoke in an instance, as soon as a light is added the whole space transforms, its easy to forget where you are.

Bonobo teases the crowd throughout with samples off his well known hits, whilst still creating a solid set list in between.

The atmosphere within the event is completely different to a ‘standard’ warehouse, it’s as busy as expected but there’s a chill in the air. Much of the crowd are rocking hoodies and beanies majority are smoking where they stand at will.

Before you know it, it comes, the moment the support acts and Bonobo’s previous Two hour set has been building up to. ‘Kerala’! Green teasing the crowd with an extended intro, as soon as it drops the crowd are fully energized and satisfied soaking up the epic production for the final track of the show.

We knew the collaboration between Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project would be special but the attention to detail on the whole production of this event blew us out the water.

It’s going to be hard to return to ‘traditional’ gigs after witnessing what is possible when you have a venue like Mayfield, an artist like Bonobo, a production fit for MIF, and an night organised by the WHP.

4:00 Now Waves DJ
4:45 Josey Rebelle
6:15 Gilles Peterson
8:25 George Fitzgerald
9:30 Palms Trax
11:00 Bonobo
1:00 Finish