Jon Gutwillig. Photo by Chris Paul
An intense thunderstorm marked the final day of the Disco Biscuits’ 9th Camp Bisco festival. After nearly perfect weather all weekend, an electrical storm forced the Disco Biscuits to cancel one of its three sets on Saturday. As the band returned to the stage for its final set Marc Brownstein joked, “This was actually the least amount of rain we ever had.”
The storm forced the cancellation of Brothers Past’s afternoon set and made the festival’s promoters juggle a few set times, including moving Girl Talk to the festival’s covered Dance Tent. Though Brothers Past’s set was canceled, guitarist Tom Hamilton and keyboardist Tom McKee performed an improved acoustic set in the backstage media tent .
With the exception of the Disco Biscuits’ first set Friday, the setlists for each of the band’s performances were compiled by Brownstein from fan submitted requests. The group’s Saturday afternoon set featured the first version of “Pat and Dex” since 2007 and the first section of the Disco Biscuits’ single “On Time” (the group played the ending of the song Thursday night). “On Time” was also the only song from the Biscuits’ new album Planet Anthem that the band played all weekend. The group’s extended set boasted some of the weekend’s most requested songs, including a version of the new “Portal To An Empty Head” with guest guitarist Chris Michetti (RAQ). The Disco Biscuit also covered the Knight Rider theme for the first time since 2004 and played the song that ranked highest in the fan poll, “Basis For A Day,” at midnight.
Saturday’s schedule also included the first Camp Bisco appearance by Ween, who played classics like “Voodoo Lady,” “Spinal Meningitis”, “Bananas and Blow” and “Roses Are Free,” as well as a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” Another highlight was a Silent Disco tent located at the top of the festival site. C-mon & Kypski were among the musicians who performed in the unique space.
Throughout the weekend, the festival’s VIP tent was treated to bonus performances by most members of the Disco Biscuits. In addition to his set with Orchard Lounge Friday, keyboardist Aron Magner played a surprise set with Marc Brownstein as Conspirator. The show featured appearances by several other festival performers, including David Murphy (STS9/ Break Science) and Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic). Disco Biscuits guitarist Jon Gutwillig also played a rare acoustic set in the VIP area at 2 AM Saturday morning. The loose set was made up mostly of requests like “Hope,” “Once the Fiddler Paid” and “Minions.” Percussionist Shawn Hennessey sat in near the end of the set.
Camp Bisco received praise from a diverse mix of sources, including The New York Times and music industry critic Bob Lefsetz. “Camp Bisco may only be 15,000 people this year. But everything good starts small,” Lefsetz wrote in his industry letter. “And blows up when you least expect it. Suddenly, everybody gets the memo and has to participate. And you go from doing 15,000 a night to 150,000.”
Additional reporting by Chris Paul