Camp Bisco is truly a one-of-a-kind festival. Between the festival grounds, the bikers, a cutting edge lineup, nine hours of The Disco Biscuits and a sold-out crowd of 18,000, this year was as extravagantly wild as ever. A young crowd on account of such mainstream dance acts as Bassnectar, Skrillex and Pretty Lights being booked, there seemed to be less Biscuits fans in attendance this year than ever before. That said, the highlights were many, the downsides were few, and a phenomenal weekend was what went down at Indian Lake Country Club last weekend.
On the way in Thursday, the new album from The Disco Biscuits, entitled “Otherwise Law-Abiding Citizens” was being sold throughout the line of cars, and different snippets of the album were clearly audible over the sonic mess that is the holding pen for Camp Bisco. Once inside the gates, all that remained was lots of music, lots of mud, and lots of good times.
The first impressive act on Thursday was Albany’s own Timbre Coup, a progressive improvisational act that provided a great range of moods of and sounds within their short set, allowing tunes to breathe and grooves to develop organically. They were simultaneously focused and relaxed while performing tightly, and it was a great start to Thursday afternoon at Camp Bisco.
Orchard Lounge’s performance in the dance tent was overcrowded and overheated, and the main stage didn’t provide anything terribly exciting until The Disco Biscuits took the stage. The New Deal were as stale as they’ve been for years and dubstep just doesn’t do it for this reporter. The Biscuits were good but not great, with the highlight being The Very Moon > Spraypaint > Helicopters, as well as a superbly played Mulberry’s Dream. As far as late night performances on Thursday go, the only act that provided anything outside of disappointment was Lotus, who after taking their time with some slow, boring funk for the first half of their set started to crank into dark, psychedelic trance that many have come to love from them, and it wound up being one of the highlights of the weekend. Then, for those that couldn’t hack it in the dance tent mid-day, Orchard Lounge was spinning in the RV lot until the sun came up, a perfect conclusion to a long first day at Camp.
Friday was a different sort of animal. Indobox was a great start to the day with their poppy brand of hard-funking, synth-laden tunes that got the crowd bouncing in the afternoon sun. Several other acts including Shpongle, Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Magician and The Manhattan Project provided plenty of entertainment that sunny day, but the real treat of the afternoon came in the Grooveshark tent with Kieran Hebden, also known as Four Tet. His jazz and IDM laden techno grooves really got the tent moving, but perhaps the most striking element of his music is the emotional quality he brings to the dance floor without ever approaching any sort of cheesiness. Soon, it would be time for more Biscuits, but not before the rain.
Camp Bisco wouldn’t be Camp Bisco without at least a modicum of torrential downpour, and this year was certainly no exception. With many attendees hanging back as long as possible before the Biscuits started playing, the throngs of garbage bag and rain boot covered bodies began to amass on the main stage field. The theme of the night was a throwback to a show they played in Aspen a week earlier, but with a slew of new twists and turns. The first set featured a spectacular drop into Story of the World and one of the better Basis endings this band has played in some time. Ratatat provided some serious thrills during setbreak, with their unique, genre-defying tunes and ridiculously psychedelic on-stage visuals. The second set was a dark, goopy and psychedelic palindrome of a set, entirely segued no less, with the highlight being a massive Ladies ending. In the late night tents, Holy Ghost! blew Special Disco Version out of the water, and Ghostland Observatory’s grimy, laser-powered electro-rock proved to be one of the more entertaining outings of the evening. Another 24 hours in the books, it was time for the epic day-long conclusion to the wildest party of the summer.
The Biscuits’ day set was a bit of a let-down, with the only real take-off point coming with Confrontation, which generally delivers. The real highlights of Saturday were EP3, Zoogma, Neon Indian and the highly-anticipated Death From Above 1979 reunion, which was one of the more rocking acts of the weekend and was definitely a treat. That said, the second set of Biscuits on Saturday was a high point of the weekend, with outrageous song selection and near perfect playing from guitarist Jon ‘The Barber’ Gutwillig. It had an extremely old-school feel right from the Spectacle opener, and between them playing M.E.M.P.H.I.S., Above The Waves, Reactor and then Highwire to close it out, they were in rare form. The highlight of the set was probably the peak of Chemical Warfare Brigade, which was glorious, blissful Biscuits at it’s finest. Bassnectar at setbreak was as disappointing as ever, and a reminder that Camp Bisco is not what it might once have been. Many in attendance this weekend had no idea who The Disco Biscuits were and were certainly not there to see them, and it should be easy to see why this can be so disheartening to so many.
When Bassnectar wrapped up, the main field emptied out much to the pleasure of many a Biscuits fan. On Time was an excellent choice for an opener, and as much hate as it gets, it is a catchy tune that makes people dance. It was the only standalone tune of the set, and the highlight wound up being the inverted Shimmy into an inverted Digital Buddha, which was just enormous. Tricycle, which has been receiving a lot of underwhelming play this year, was executed rather well. Perhaps the only disappointment of the set was an awkward drop into Save The Robots, which saw them lose some steam. Wolfgang Gartner immediately afterwards was a truly incredible set of electro-house music that was definitely a peak experience of the weekend. Pretty Lights to close things out was not nearly as energetic or exciting but definitely entertaining and a mellow way to end the night. All in all, a spectacular weekend with family, friends and a whole lot of incredible music. God Bless The Disco Biscuits and Camp Bisco.
Written by Alexander Wolff
Photos by Matthew Speck, to see more photos from Camp Bisco X – click here!