This Bicep show, a collaboration between the incredible Manchester International Festival (MIF) and the stalwart rave up artists Warehouse Project (WHP), is the last gig to be held at the wonderful, industrial (barely) survivor of many a decade, Mayfield Depot before it is refurbished. It’s part of a series of events put together by the two for this year’s WHP programme, and the use of the Mayfield, a disused train depot, is inspired. Firstly, in complete contrast to their usual Store Street venue’s low ceilings and close quarters atmosphere, the depot is absolutely cavernous; secondly, and probably down to some health and safety business, you can actually move in here as they haven’t oversold it – far from it, in fact, as even with this sold out crowd the place is about half full, which makes it great – I’m fully onboard.

Unsurprisingly, and brilliantly, this is not the MIF’s usual crowd of well to do middle classes enjoying a questionably avant garde evening out at the RNCM; it’s young, excitable, well dressed and fully up for it. The snaking queue outside (seriously, it’s about 500m long right back to the Star & Garter as we approach) is testament to the popularity of an act that have come from gigs in the basement at Soup Kitchen to headlining a special show for the WHP in just a couple of years.

But we have some pretty special guests to enjoy, first up being Leon Vynehall, who’s recent album Everything Is Still is a masterclass in ambient techno, a stately and beautifully put together record that rewards repeat listens. Quite what he’s doing playing here to a crowd of ravenous-for-beats 20 somethings is not quite clear, his set up of a piano, cello, guitars, a live drum kit, amongst the usual electronic paraphernalia ringing alarm bells amongst the kids. And so it proves, as he moves through his new album pretty much in full, gorgeously teasing out minimal beats and melody, the chatter amongst the crowd rises, the shouts for some ‘drops’ increasing, and, incredibly, boos coming loudly from several sections of the audience. It’s a massive shame, as it’s a mesmerising set, but one can’t help but think it’s the wrong booking here, the uninterested crowd making it difficult to fully enjoy. I really hope he comes back to Manchester soon to play his own show in front of a more amenable audience (who, for the record, I don’t blame one bit for not being into it).

Next up is Marie Davidson, who I’m completely unfamiliar with and who has the unenviable task of getting the crowd back on side. Which she does within minutes, dropping electro bangers and aggressive beats, the great ‘Work It’ sounding for all the world like a Britney hit if Fisherspooner got their hands on it. It’s a hugely enjoyable romp, and persuades me to check out her album Working Class Woman when I get home – you definitely should too.

A quick set change and it’s time for the big guns (pun fully intended and possibly to be used again), the act pretty much everyone has come to see, the Northern Irish duo going by the name of Bicep. The stage now has six or seven monolithic screens on it, pointing to the ceilings, framing the band in some kind of prehistoric place of worship, the crowd ready to throw their hands up to their Gods in worship. And it is, honest to god, one of the most impressive dance music productions I’ve ever witnessed. Starting slowly with their odes to morning-after vibes like ‘Drift’ and ‘Ayaya’, the duo soon move into huge banger territory and absolutely tear the place up. The monoliths light up in spectacular bursts of colour synchronised perfectly with the bangers dropped, intense oranges lighting up the decaying space as if on fire, which I guess, metaphorically, it absolutely is. The crowd greet every track, new or old, unfamiliar or part of the furniture, like their best friend, throwing arms around companions, hugging strangers, hiking onboard mates shoulders, and filming everything; when the lasers hit the angular ceilings in dazzling, early 2000s trance style, the depot is a sea of mobile phones filming this version of the northern lights. It’s just a place of joy, of mass worship at the feet of their beat making saviours.

By the time ‘Opal’ and ‘Spring’ have been dispensed with, I’m soaking, grinning from ear to ear, and have clasped so many strangers to my bosom that I’m unsure who the friends I came in with actually are now. The lads hit one final high with the dropping of ‘Glue’, the track they’re probably best known for, the depot bathed in blues and greens, the crowd in raptures. I don’t think I was expecting it to be such a thrilling experience, but it genuinely was, and just shows what a bit of production nous can bring to a dance music gig. As for the Mayfield depot, it’s a bittersweet goodbye, for now. I love it’s barely standing vibe, but it’s refurbishment will ensure that future generations can come and experience a big ol’ rave up in a historical site, and I’m all for that. See you later Mayfield, you’ve had a fitting send off.

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