Bicep play album launch at Ulster Hall, Belfast

Teaming up with AVA Festival to bring their self titled album launch series to their home place of Belfast, Bicep duo Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson brought far more than just music to this event, they brought an enthralling and inspirational semblance, showing that hard work really does pay off.

This event was the culmination of nearly ten years work, after starting their Feel My Bicep blog in 2008; it was the opportunity to return and exhibit to Belfast how far they have came and how much they have achieved.

Held in one of Northern Ireland’s oldest venues, the Ulster Hall was constructed over 150 years ago, after such a venue was needed to ‘improve [and] elevate the moral and influential character’ of the community, according to the Belfast Newsletter at the time of its creation. Significantly, this event echoes the demand for more venues and events like this throughout the country. The main hall boasts a picturesque backdrop of a grand organ, echoing the melodic bassline which permeates Bicep’s latest album.

To DJ and to dance in a venue immersed so deeply in Belfast’s culture and heritage gave this event a euphoric sense of community and energy most bigger cities struggle to generate.

Supported by Quinton Campbell, followed by Ross From Friends and then Hammer; these three acts established the mood and psyched up the crowd.

Playing tracks from their new album, ORCA, RAIN and GLUE; Bicep exposed the crowd to their newly combined sound of ambient, techno, house, trance and breakbeat. Rinsing out older tracks such as their notorious Just, which was titled both Mixmag and DJmag’s 2015 song of the year, and their iconic remix of Isaac Tichauer’s Higher Level, Bicep delivered an impressive performance.

Bicep have proven themselves to be the epitome of contemporary dance music, creating a sound which is both dynamic and eclectic enough for the dance floor, whilst simultaneously serene, poised and suitable for listening at home. This album launch series was more than just that; it has consolidated the Belfast born duo’s exceptional ability to catalyze progressive house and trance paralleled with antiqued melodies to create a modernized sound.

Image credit: Grant Jones