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Megan Thee Stallion Manchester Warehouse Project 2021 1
Megan Thee Stallion Manchester Warehouse Project 2021Courtesy of Warehouse Project

Recipe for hot shit: Megan Thee Stallion at Manchester’s Warehouse Project

The rapper’s first UK appearance in two years was an exuberant return to the city’s mainstay programme of music events post-pandemic, and the magic of IRL concerts as a whole

There are few things that will get me to get on a train ride across the country the price of a flight to Europe, but Megan Thee Stallion is definitely one of them. Headlining the post-pandemic return of Manchester’s Warehouse Project for her first appearance in the UK since 2019 – alongside Tion Wayne, Princess Nokia, Shygirl, and DJ Jordss too – this wasn’t a show I was going to miss. 

Neither, apparently, were the hoards of young people that filled the cavernous 10,000 capacity space of Warehouse Project’s relatively new home at Depot Mayfield. A former railway station reimagined as a live music and event space – conveniently surrounded by food vendors to line your stomach before the sesh – this venue has been lying in wait for moments like these since COVID-19 restrictions hit. 

Alive again with the hum of crowds likely treating the night as a pregame for Parklife the next day, the buzz in the air was palpable, building with each act and boosting morale as you hustled against bar queues ten people deep to get a drink. It’s these circumstances that provide the points of connection we’ve been missing without live music, though; where fans can clock your Hot Girl hoop earrings and bond over the shared love that brought you both to this place, this moment in time. That, and the novelty of being skin to skin, jostled together with strangers’ sweat in the communion of concerts again after a year away bathes even these experiences with a rosy glow.

This energy could be felt in the performances, too. From Megan Thee Stallion to Shygirl – it was a treat to see how these artists used lockdown downtime to really think about and revel in the dialogue they have with their fans through IRL events. Shygirl’s ALIAS BBZ alter egos found their dancefloor home, while Princess Nokia and Tion Wayne had a sea of Snapchat lights swaying to “I Like Him” and “I Dunno”. By Thee Stallion’s set time, the audience were pumped up, chanting, ready for the Hot Girl session to start. 

“From the first stirring bars of Hottie manifesto ‘Realer’, Thee Stallion set the agenda for the night, wasting no time in giving us the ‘recipe for this hot shit’

From the first stirring bars of Hottie manifesto “Realer”, Thee Stallion set the agenda for the night, wasting no time in giving us the “recipe for this hot shit”. Namely, the combination of outrageous lyrics (“I’ll knock the shit out that bitch like an enema,” a particular favourite) gravity-defying twerking, and mutual Hot Girl (and Boy!) hyping that makes her fandom so fun to be a part of. Viral freestyles propelling her through career milestones from multiple Grammy wins to collaborating with Beyonce, Thee Stallion knows and acknowledges the power of her fans. Her gratitude is evident in the generosity with which she shares her stage with them, pulling a lucky few from the crowd to dance-off to their favourite songs. 

Those that didn’t make it onstage were no less involved. Thee Stallion’s stage presence goes far beyond the 5’10” height that gives her her name, her larger-than-life energy commanding attention from the fences at the front to right at the back of the 17,500ft main space. Bar staff, bouncers, and boat drivers alike joined together for Tina Snow classics (“Big Ole Freak”, “Cocky AF”, “Freak Nasty”) and the 2020 soundtracks that made Thee Stallion a household name, chanting the pandemic PTSD-inducing refrain of “Savage” (still, a bop) and carrying Cardi B’s verse in “WAP”. A lot has changed for Hot Girl Meg in the two years since she was last in the UK, but the fans are constant, and she, like them, remains “realer than real.” Thot shit, indeed. 

Explore the full Warehouse Project 2021 season line-up here.