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Bicep All Night Long, Gorilla, Manchester



I saw Bicep at Circus in Liverpool over the Easter weekend and they were one of my favourite acts of the night, so it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to seeing them again courtesy of Drop the Mustard in Manchester. I arrived to the night completely sober, so the fact I had a good time is a testament to their talent. Booking these guys for an entire night was a great idea as Bicep’s sets are like a condensed history of house music, showcasing everything from Chicago House to future garage.

Bicep have been one of the main champions of the house revival sound, originally sharing obscure songs both new and old on their blog Feel my Bicep. In a nutshell Bicep play songs from 1994 with ones that just sound like they were from 1994. And this is a good thing believe me and thanks to  a combination of Bicep and Shazam I have been able to find out about new acts that I previously hadn’t heard of, such as Toyboy & Robin and many other amazing house and garage songs I was too young to know about the first time round. They seem to have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of their purported music and by the looks of it really love what they do which makes a refreshing change to the moody looking DJ that have performed at many other nights I’ve been to, but whu shouldn’t they be considering the fact that nowadays standing behind a turntable seems to be the easiest way to get lots of free holidays and sex. So whilst they may be flavour of the month, their popularity shouldn’t put people off. Not until Joey Essex turns up, then its time to abandon ship.


Personally, I’m unashamedly enjoying the house revival for what it is- really good fun. And it’s the right type of fun, as its Northern Irish people behind the decks and not Swedish ones. The music Bicep play transcends time and it contrary to nay sayers sounds just as good now as it ever did. These songs were specifically created to make you want to dance and be happy and with that in mind as the raison d’etre it’s hard to argue that they’ve not succeeded in their goals. After all, they were made in a time when the political landscape was a desolate and  depressing place (not a lot unlike today’s), but something about the music made people want to gather in fields and warehouses to dance and hug strangers.  Well that and all the ecstasy.

I’ve been to quite a few Drop the Mustard nights and have always had a good time. The night has had an amazing couple of years, steadily outgrowing venues, hosting boat parties and tents at festivals alongside established labels and booking an impressive roster of DJs. The appeal of Drop the Mustard is that you get the chance to see DJs as they are on the cusp of becoming well known and long before Nick Grimshaw plays them on the Breakfast Show and makes them ‘commercial’ and usually  it’s all for about the bargain price of £6. The night is primarily aimed at students, so anyone over the age of 25 is likely to feel a bit middle aged.

Gorilla on Whitworth Street West is Drop the Mustard’s current home and it’s a fairly interesting space to have converted into use as a venue; it was formerly a small alternative arts gallery and theatre and this can been seen via it’s narrow  which can create a minor issue in regards to the flow of the place on busy nights.. But once you’ve found your little space amongst the crowds it serves its purpose quite nicely although at the rate of noughts that DTM is growing it may be finding itself in even bigger venues in the near future. Maybe they could move into Sankey’s, I hear that’s available now…

Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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