Words: Matthew Pollock
Photo: Dom Martin
Bicep, whose last Glasgow appearance was a sold out night at the Sub Club in September, have sought to channel the momentum from recent tours and releases into an international club brand. At the beginning of February, an impressive roster of artists packed into SWG3 and its adjoining Poetry Club to deliver Bicep’s own ‘Feel My Bicep’ night, featuring (amongst others) Tim Sweeney, Job Jobse and Hammer.
Commanding the decks upon our arrival in the main room is Tim Sweeney of Beats in Space notoriety. Tim serves up a set filled with fresh, groove-laden tracks that are as kitsch/teetering on the brink of cliché as they are subversive or arrestingly funky. For all the variety, a dreamy and decidedly melodic house vibe seems to permeate his set; whilst other sounds and influences swirl around it, this is the keystone holding it all together.
Next, we head downstairs to see Hammer assume control of the compact sidecar to SWG3’s thunderous engine – The Poetry Club. His unwavering stream of bold, stirring electro and house brings the room onside and keeps them there. Blending some raucous, in-your-face cuts with more ethereal, ambient material, both are enlivened by the juxtaposition; most of all, the set feels genuinely organic and spontaneous – responsive to the crowd; not just a preordained list of tracks.
Back across in the main venue, Bicep’s set begins with a Dionysian howl from across the room that births a real sense of anticipation, unfolding with a steady reserve that only further whips up the zeal of the crowd. With playful restraint, any initial strains of melody or dramatic contrast quickly dissolve away into the beat.
Yet as we’re drawn further in, Bicep trustily unveil their encyclopaedic knack for house and techno selection on which their name as bloggers was made – the aching sparseness of the set’s beginnings now succumbing to a rousing burst of infectious vocal samples and melodic hooks. It’s much less serious all of a sudden; unshackled from the brooding and ultra-controlled intro, it’s the sound of devil-may-care revelry, surrendering to one’s instincts. Dionysus would be proud.