Featured image and gallery: Georgina Hurdsfield
One of the biggest iconic nights in Manchester, The Warehouse Project, gave us a taste of the UK’s rising rap artists on Friday, with Central Cee making his Warehouse Project debut headlining the sold-out event.
After recently releasing his extended play ‘No More Leaks’ and mixtape ’23’ earlier this year, the British rapper has become the one to watch, climbing the charts as well as festival bills. Bringing R&B sampled drill to the forefront of UK music, Central Cee is certified to rise to superstardom level with headlining The Warehouse Project certainly being a night he won’t forget anytime soon.
The crowd was buzzing with excitement in a very fitting environment for a drill gig, Depot Mayfield, what was a railway station in 1910, is now a fully transformed 10,000 capacity venue. Depot Mayfield essentially feels like a giant festival set in a warehouse, with multiple rooms with different stages and bars lit with fairy lights lining the outskirts of the venue, as well as our festival favourite, portaloos. It’s cold in the warehouse, but it didn’t take long to heat up as fans started piling into venue for an unforgettable evening.
The line-up was stacked with opening sets from Habitat DJ’s, Sainte, Tiffany Calver and Knucks before Central Cee took to the stage. Some of the biggest names in UK music right now who have been dominating festival line-ups this past Summer. The evening was flying by as more and more people arrived in time for Central Cee, hitting the stage at exactly 23:20.
Opening with ‘Loading’ from 2021 release Wild West, fans clung to their phones as a sea of phone lights lit up the venue. Everyone in the crowd cramming in for a glimpse of the global star. A wave of excitement passed over the packed out crowd as Central Cee came a bit closer to the edge of the stage during ‘Little Bit of This’. ‘Day in the Life’ was clearly a fan-favourite as the crowd knew the lyrics word for word, rapping them back to “Cench”. The rapper looked at home on the stage as he paced back and forth, naturally performing and unfazed by his recent rise to success.
There was little interaction with the crowd during his set which made the set have an impersonal feel to it, however, the energy from the crowd was unstoppably unmatched. The crowd was clearly hyped to be the lucky attendees at this sold-out show. ’Obsessed With You’ and ‘Retail Therapy’ transparently set a vibe above the rest, as the crowd movement became intense from the front to the back. Ending the set with top charter ‘Doja’, predictably eliciting a huge response from the crowd for Cench’s biggest track right now.
It was a triumphant night for Central Cee, playing his biggest Manchester show to date, although we were hoping for a bit more charisma on stage from the young rapper, it doesn’t take away from Cench’s raw talent and hearing the songs in a live setting with the energy from the crowd being unlike any other. The Warehouse Project put on a stellar line-up in the perfect venue. We hope to see Central Cee back in Manchester soon, hopefully gracing the Parklife Festival line-up at Heaton Park in 2023.