By Matthew Pledger
One of the world's most exciting live electronic acts played at one of New Zealand's most stunning venues and it was a night to remember, for the good and the bad.
London EDM duo Bicep played at Black Barn Vineyards - surrounded by vineyards with a view overlooking Havelock North, with Te Mata peak peering off to the side — it is truly magnificent.
However, what wasn't so magnificent was pretty much everything else other than the venue and Bicep themselves.
The opening act was described by a concertgoer as “about as interesting as a nun”. Vocal_ on Reddit added: “My friend actually wrote an email [to the organiser] mid-set saying how torturous it was.”
It was like elevator house music - something your flatmate who got a set of decks a few weeks ago could have mustered up half-cut at an after-party.
And we didn't know how long we'd have to listen to this opener as there were no set times anywhere. The only thing clear was a cloud of confusion lingering in the air as we eagerly awaited Bicep.
On arrival, you were greeted with a painfully long and winding line of people. At first, I thought it was a line to buy alcohol and felt happy I wasn't drinking and didn’t have to endure the sobering line.
I later found out that the line was not for drinks, no, but rather, to get money out to buy the drinks. That's right, it was a cash-only event! Bicep at Black Barn has been the only, ‘cash-only’ concert I’ve ever been to.
We only found it that it was a cash-only event at 8.28 PM (3 hours after gates opened) thanks to an interesting email from the organisers.
That subject line of 'Bring cash 💵' is something you would expect from the son of a Nigerian Prince who has just found out how to use emojis.
Eventually, though, Bicep hopped on stage. They were fantastic. Like reaaaaaaaaally good.
For a moment you forget about the world, about life, about the fact that you’ll never be able to buy a house that your parents live in cos of how rampant house prices are. All of that completely vanishes and you become just totally fixated and enthralled on beautiful art being played.
Bicep played a mix of new and old in their 90-minute set which started at 9. I mean they opened with Apricots… THEY OPENED WITH APRICOTS!!!
The crowd was magic too. Slightly on the mature side, which is nice. Full of people not on their first rodeo.
I love spotting a bit of grey in the crowd. They are people who know their limits and have been getting sweaty for a few decades. They are real masters of a night out, they know the recipe for greatness.
Also, older people at gigs always emit this lovely youthful exuberance. They are people who choose to not grow up as they grow old. I like that.
Bicep seemed to have a pretty good time too! On their Instagram, they shared a video from the gig with the caption, “NEW ZEALAND !!!! THAT WAS EPIC WELL WORTH THE 2 DAYS TRAVEL TO GET TO YA!
It was truly magical to witness Bicep bring their best to little old Hawkes Bay. So very grateful to Andy and Matt for making their way across the world to perform and express themselves and their art!