Fluid, articulate, and utterly transcendent; headlining duo Bicep brought their new, innovative live performance to Manchester’s Warehouse Project, illustrating eclecticism and an ethereal-groove aesthetic with a personally curated line-up to match.
The night featured a diverse mix of WHP residents, Feel My Bicep label stalwarts, pioneering names and close friends of the pair, all spread across the Store Street venue’s three rooms. Additional walkways now weave throughout the space in a bid to alleviate crowd congestion - which has long marred attendee experience - while room 3 has been granted some additional space, and with it, improved atmosphere.
Each playing to the strengths of their designated room and cohort, not a single artist disappointed. Jane Fitz, with over 20 years in the game, crafted a steady and comprehensive warm-up; easing the crowd into the night’s events with blends of deep house, ambient soundscape, and psychedelic techno.
A crucial live set from KiNK unsurprisingly captivated en masse. His reputation as one of the best live-acts in the business wildly on show; improvising his way through rolling techno bangers, wonky acid house, and huge breakbeat anthems via his endless supply of blinking gadgets and kinetic gyros, constantly manipulating the flow into a memorable, yet unpredictable, animated showcase.
Carl Craig and Moodymann, two big time selectors, crafted an epic four and a half hour set that must’ve missed any ‘preferred genre’ memo. Mixing (or just dropping in with no fucks given, cos they can) everything from bass, R&B, trance, classic house, hip-hop, sing-a-long nostalgia, and of course, New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’. An out-on-the-town playlist that most millennials can only dream of.
Informed by the swathes of people crowding into the main room, it was clear that the Bicep hysteria was in full effect. Eagerly awaiting the 90s tinged brilliance and extensive well of original productions, many questioned how this would translate into the live setting. In short, it translates well.
Instantly recognisable synth progressions, vocal samples and percussion loops meandered in harmony throughout. Tracks were not simply mixed, they were manipulated, re-shaped, and extended; overlapping and hybridising to create exciting new renditions out of the old, and the familiar.
Tracks like ‘Just’ were teased out for what felt like hours, enrapturing the crowd in shared anticipation. Everything flowed with calculated mastery, connecting their extensive discography through rich build ups and creative interplay, changing the pace at will whilst never losing momentum.
This trend continued through to final track of the set ‘Glue’; intensifying to the inevitable end, the apex of euphoria was achieved. A celestial haze hung over the venue, exaggerated by pastel coloured lights and a lone glowing orb emanating from centre stage. The crowd cheering gratuitously… or simply speechless, taking time to reflect.
Despite controversies in the past, The Warehouse Project still upholds its world-renowned reputation and relevance within the dance music circuit. A notion supported by ever more creative line-ups, often orchestrated by choice taste-makers in the underground scene. The vibe remains fresh and above all else, immersive.
As for Bicep, they continue to find new ways to innovate, and astonish, crafting a sound that is inherently ‘them’, coupled with an upward curve of recognition, and respect, that shows no signs of stopping.