The day on which The Warehouse Project releases their plans for the year is one of the biggest in the clubbing calendar. The series pulls together the great and the good of the dance music industry. It’s always telling to see not just who tops the bills, but who has been given the chance to pull them together. In recent years Jackmaster has curated Mastermix, Tale of Us have showcased Life and Death and Adam Beyer’s Drumcode imprint is now an annual excursion. This year Northern Irish duo Bicep were handed the reigns for their own night of debauchery in Store Street.
Having KiNK on the bill was a surprise and a delight. The Bulgarian is a master of his craft. The ingenuity and spontaneity of his live performances is breathtaking. Taking up a slot just before midnight, it was during his trademark assault of percussion and synths that the crowd really picked up. If you want someone to bring some energy, KiNK is your man.
This was alongside a slight rejig of the venue itself and the composition of the dancefloors. Room 3 now has more of a presence and a series of corridors have been introduced to alleviate some of the traffic in the venue’s pinch points. This has helped the situation, but the venue’s main room is still often uncomfortably crowded. This is a difficult one for the organisers to address. It’s hardly as if they ask for Bicep to be less popular and pull less of a crowd. For what it’s worth, the programming in Room 2 offered an excellent alternative in the form of Carl Craig and Moodymann sharing the decks for four hours. Now I am more than happy to be corrected on this, my recollection is far from perfect, but Moodymann was definitely playing most of the tunes, and carrying the biggest stage presence.
(KiNK never fails to work the crowd with his mix of acid, house, breakbeat and more)
It’s a well-worn cliché that DJ sets take their audience on a journey. Each track meticulously chosen to deliver a certain feeling to the dancefloor and move the atmosphere forward. However, Moodymann is no such DJ. His set was a straightforward procession of bangers. Dropping New Order- “Blue Monday” and mixing Childish Gambino into Fatima Yamaha, his performance knew no bounds. If you were to take a sample of all the tracks on any 25-year-old dance music fan’s IPod and stick them on shuffle, you wouldn’t have been far off what Moodymann produced. He paid scant regard to any notions of beatmatching and mixing, but throwing down Liem- “If Only” was one of the night’s highlights. The whole thing was an enormous amount of fun.
The crowd has thinned slightly by the time Bicep were into their closing stages. Catching the final stabs of Or:la was a stroke of fortune, and what followed from Rodhad was his usual predictable chaos. He was excellent at Printworks last month and was on similar form here. His penultimate track, “Target Line”, lifted from his new album Anxious, sounded massive.
As for the lads themselves, it’s difficult to know where Bicep’s ceiling is. Having cut their teeth releasing house record “Visions of Love” and “Satisfy”, their recent output has explored the realms of trance and 90s rave nostalgia. We could be looking at the Chemical Brothers for the Instagram generation. The next step is the crossover into the mainstream, I certainly wouldn’t put it past them.
(As always, The Warehouse Project provided a real spectacle with their high-end production at Store Street)
Photos courtesy of Louis Reynolds
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