Bicep at Brixton Academy
Fans eagerly waited nearly two years for Bicep’s galvanising live shows, and it was well worth it. The heady mix of anticipation, nostalgia and ecstasy was enough to light up the night at Brixton Academy, and it is no wonder all three consecutive London nights sold out in minutes.
Though the Academy is often used as a marker for a band’s success, it is not the greatest space to host popular artists because of its very poor ventilation system. Packed to the brim, it was a sweaty and extremely humid affair. However, Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar did not let the lack of airflow disrupt their set, intensely working away at the electric nodules and mixers. The venue has been known to have shoddy sound too, but Thursday night fortunately worked in the duo’s favour, particularly from the sightlines, which offered intimate views. Atlas, taken from second album, Isles, saw a rare occurrence where the pair were shrouded in darkened red and blue hues. This was transitory, as spectacular lasers zoomed across the space for Meli – originally calm and dreamlike, with glitchy effects, recalling 90s rave and club scenes from the early 2000s, evoked by the guys with an effortless suavity.
A light show is specifically curated for every performance by Black Box Echo and didn’t disappoint here, with flashing white strobes, optical masers, psychedelic visuals and colours from the entire spectrum. While Opal had tie-die effects, the smouldering blues and pinks almost radioactive, several other tracks had Tetris-like shapes juxtaposed with Bicep’s rotating logo.
The Belfast duo are enthusiasts of vintage Bollywood songs, feeling a resonance with their Irish musical roots, which they expertly mould and weave into addictive deep cuts. Sundial, with its melancholic and hypnotic Hindi chorus (sampled after Jab Andhera Hota Hai – from the 1973 film Raja Rani) proved just how sophisticated the pair are at mixing the old and new.
Standout numbers included Meli, Sundial, and Apricots, though the setlist was a decent combination of former and recent songs; fan favourite Glue was included in the encore, a steady hint at the defining intro. Bicep are class; give them any venue, any space, and they will deliver a fierce show that is best experienced live.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information and future events visit Bicep’s website here.
Watch the video for the single X (feat. Clara La San) here: