Image: Gemma Parker Photography
As one of the first events on the 2018 WHP schedule to sell out when tickets went on sale in September, anticipation for the Knee Deep event was always going to be high – not least because this year marks the last season of WHP at it’s spiritual home of Store Street – but most probably in large part due to the heavyweight line-up.
As the name of the event would give away for most, Yousef and Hot Since 82 both headlined that night, but they were joined in the main room by a host of other big-hitters, such as Kerri Chandler, Skream and Sasha’s latest production partner, Berlin’s Watergate resident, La Fleur. In Room 2, Apollonia played a special four-hour set, alongside Dyed Soundorom, Shonky, Dan Ghennacia, Kim Ann Foxman and Lauren Lo Sung, while PBR Streetgang, Krysko, Gina breeze. Olli ryder & Luke Welsh took to the controls in Room 3.
We arrived early, and the excitement surrounding La Fleur was instantly apparent from a packed-out main room early in her set. As her music flooded the arena, it soon became obvious why she and Sasha have gelled in studio in recent months – I’d always considered Sasha’s sound to be one of the most unique in the business, but he seems to have found a kindred spirit in La Fleur. She may be a protege of the Hacienda legend; but it could well have been the man himself up there in the booth as she ramped up the energy with a succession of exceptionally unique tracks, the vibe of which, much like Sasha’s was impossible to pigeon-hole.
Following La Fleur in the DJ booth so early on in the evening would be no small feat, but Yousef was, of course, more than equal to the task, with a signature eclectic and energetic selection of records that set the main room on course for one of the best nights it will see all season. Meanwhile, Kim Ann Foxman was equally impressive with melodic basslines and classic acid drips beautifully woven between tough, driving house percussion.
As is always the case, it’s impossible to see it all, and as much as we wanted to catch every one of the exceptional artists that were clearly rocking the socks off the punters who were jamming themselves into Room 2 like sardines, we found ourselves drawn back to Room 1 by none other than Kerri “Kaoz” Chandler, who by this point had the main room in full swing by doing what he does best – no nonsense, raw, pounding house music. Sure, there were no extravagant breakdowns or hands-in-air riffs, but nor were they required. And this proved to be the perfect simmering pot for Hot Since 82, who’s arrival could be heard from afar as he began to systematically take the main room apart.
Sadly we missed Skream (gutted!), but if he managed to follow Hot Since 82, which I’ve no doubt he did, then what a set that would have been! All-in-all one of the very best nights I’ve had at WHP – and not just because of the artists; the crowd was fantastic, the organisation was perfect, the security were friendly (but kept out the dickheads) and the was the atmosphere was nothing but love, happiness and electricity. What a night: WHP, take a bow.