Headstash’s CITY BISCO 2012 Review Guide
- By Holly O'Connor
- Published on October 17, 2012
October 5-6 – The Mann Center for The Performing Arts – Philadelphia, PA
2012 Lineup: The Disco Biscuits (2 nights), Diplo, A-Trak, RJD2, Paper Diamond, Aeroplane, Tipper, Papadosio, Tiger and Woods, Ott and the All Seeing I (Live Band), Brothers Past, Cinnamon Chasers, Nadis Warriors, Wyllys, Alpha Data, The Manhattan Project
Rumors of The Disco Biscuits' “city” answer to Camp Bisco have been floating around the scene for years now and when the first ever City Bisco was announced back in July, fans could not have been more amped up. The Biscuit’s triumphant return to their home city of Phialdelphia was sure to amount to a memorable weekend.
Thankfully, the event itself lived up to all the hype and then some. Many bisconauts who hadn’t seen them in years were in attendance which made for an extra special vibe throughout the crowd. It was one big happy family reunion.
We couldn’t have asked for a better fall weekend in Philadelphia. Friday was rather warm for early October with highs in the high 70s to low 80s and not a rain cloud in sight. At times, it was actually a little bit humid on Friday night and you barely needed a light sweatshirt leaving the venue. Saturday was much more brisk with the night time lows reaching the 50s but it was easy to dance off that chilly breeze once inside the protective covering of the Mann Center.
Marc Brownstein couldn’t contain himself, stating several times throughout the weekend just how excited he was to finally be playing at The Mann Center (which holds at capacity about 14,000 people). This was a place he and the rest of the band have been coming to for years as fans but to finally play there was huge milestone.
After seeing firsthand the picturesque views of Philadelphia’s skyline from the lawn and hearing the crisp acoustics inside the orchestra seats, I couldn’t agree more that this was the perfect place for City Bisco to call home. The Mann Center even boasts one of the few outdoor balconies I have ever seen. Though the sound on the balcony was muffled compared to down below, it had a great view of the stage and spectacular light show put on by Johnny R Goode.
In addition to the main stage area there was also a “Skyline Stage” in the back area of the lawn where music started in the afternoon and lasted until just before the Biscuit’s sets both nights. This stage gave way to even more of a festival type atmosphere as it was set back almost in the woods and was separated from the main stage by a row of vendors selling food, smoothies, clothes and jewelry, etc.
The vibe. City Bisco attendees were present for one thing and one thing only and that was to see The Disco Biscuits. Yes, there were other great acts present but all in all it was a Biscuits family gathering that brought out some familiar faces and an even more familiar vibe. One that, unfortunately, seems to have dwindled amongst the crowds at Camp Bisco as it gains festival superstardom. Still, one can only hope that this bisco-centric vibe remains constant if or when City Bisco returns next year.
The Skyline Stage DJs: Aeroplane and Tipper. Both DJ’s were great opening acts for the Biscuit’s respective headlining sets of the weekend. Aeroplane on Friday started out somewhat slow but gained tons of momentum as the night went on. For me, the highlight of his set was a remix of Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” that seemed to get the crowd really amped up.
On Saturday, Dave Tipper threw down one of the loudest sets of the weekend by far. They must have had the bass turned way up for him and it wasn’t really a bad thing. Mixing a multitude of electronic sub-genres, Tipper showcased why he is one of the most sought after DJs playing the festival circuit right now. Although his music can be a little intense and repetitive at times, it was still one of the most interesting DJ sets of the weekend.
Photo Credit: Holly O'Connor
Papdosio. The former Midwesterners who, according to their Facebook are now calling Asheville, North Carolina home came ready to rock on Saturday and their early set did not discourage too many attendees either. Featuring smooth grooves and funky basslines, Dosio’s set was well received by the crowd that began to multiply as each song progressed. After thanking the crowd for making it out to their early set, they ended with a stellar version of “All I Knew.”
The Biscuits. With the band taking time off from touring these past couple of years to focus more on their individual and side projects, it’s not too often we fans get to see them at the top of their game. However this weekend was different. Intricate jams and thoughtful set-lists made for some of the best Disco Biscuits shows I have seen in years, (especially Saturday night). Obviously they had been practicing and maybe the additional show in Baltimore on Thursday gave them some time to work out the kinks but no matter what it was, the boys came to play this weekend. In addition, it was great to see how happy they were on stage. Their smiling faces, enthusiastic dancing and hilarious banter were all indications that the band was having about as much fun as the crowd.
Disco Biscuits Review
Friday, Oct. 5
Set I: Truckers Choice > Hot Air Balloon > Astronaut (1) > And The Ladies Were The Rest of The Night (2), On Time, Little Shimmy In A Conga Line
Set II: Little Lai > The Safety Dance > Little Lai, I-Man > Bombs >Run like Hell (1) > Hot Air Balloon
1 - unfinished
2 - ending only
Friday night’s show started with “Trucker’s Choice” and showcased some of the craziest lighting displays I have seen from this band. During ‘Truckers’ a giant red 3-D circle logo was spinning above the band member’s heads and it seemed so real as if it were about to fall down and crush all of them. Throughout the set, the band’s three giant LED screens displayed visuals specific to each song with “Astronaut” dawning a serene space scene and the “Ladies” jam showcased a sleek and sexy lady’s silhouette dancing to the music.
Photo Credit: Holly O'Connor
As distracting as this was from the actual music, it didn’t take long until the set progressed featuring a standalone version of “Little Shimmy In a Conga Line” which has often been used as a segue vehicle by 2.0 Biscuit’s.
The second set brought out one of the best jams of the weekend with “Little Lai > The Safety Dance > Little Lai” showcasing each member of the band in their own way. Allen was crushing the Edrum during the jam out of ‘Safety Dance’ and Brownie was right there with him keeping the pace in his own way and also building off the layers Allen created. Finishing the set off right about where they started with “Hot Air Balloon” gave the show a truly classical Biscuit’s feeling. Barber was not only jumping around during the entire beginning of the song but he consequently finished it off with tons of emotion in his voice as the entire crowd sang along with him, “In a Hot Air Balloon!” That segment was a nod to the 10-year anniversary of Haymaker (10-5-02); which is considered to be one of if not the best Biscuit's festival set sof all time.
Saturday, Oct. 6
Set I: M.E.M.P.H.I.S > Spraypaint > Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (1) > Helicopters (2), Portal To An Empty Head > Spraypaint
Set II: Munchkin Invasion > Rockafella, Rock Candy (3) > Above The Waves (4) > House Dog Party Favor > Above The Waves (2)
Encore: And The Laides Were The Rest Of The night (5) > I-Man
1 - inverted
2 - ending only
3 - with "King of the World" fake-out
4 - middle section only
5 - dyslexic completion of Oct. 5 version
Night two of City Bisco was one of the best that I have seen from the Biscuits in the past couple years. From the very beginning of the “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.” jam right on through ‘til the end of the encore the music was filled with energy and finesse.
One of my favorite moments of the night however has to go to “Humu > Helicopters”. It was above all else filled with layers and intricate. Not only that but this jam featured Brownie at the top of his game- dropping bass lines that seemed to tease between “Basis for a Day” and “Spacebird Mating Call” and switching back and forth between the two furiously until finally the peak of “Helicopters” rang out.
It was nice to see Marc Brownstein once again singing the lyrics to “Portal to an Empty Head” as in the past he handed this role off to Barber. Under Brownie’s lead, the jam out of “Portal” and into the end of “Spraypaint” finished off the first set with a bang.
Photo Credit: Holly O'Connor
In my opinion the best set of the weekend was Saturday set II. We were treated to a straight rager from the get-go but it began to pick up even more steam after as a stellar version of “Munchkin Invasion” progressed into “Rockafella”, which had had some really danceable grooves. A bunch of us were getting down hard on the steep balcony but eventually we decided the sound was too good downstairs to ignore.
Next a “King of the World” fake out that had everyone saying “oooooh!” then dropped into “Rock Candy”. Here, Brownstein took a break from playing bass to show off his midi skills. The “Rock Candy” jam was another standout moment from the weekend. This song usually brings a ton of energy to any set and jamming it into the peak of “Above the Waves” made it that much more intense. As Barber began to take the lead this second set continued to blow our minds and “Waves” slammed into “House Dog Party Favor”. As it seemed with “Munchkin”, the band was nodding to the city theme of the weekend and they sang along with the crowd to the lyrics: “City boy’s out of his mind again”. Another drop to finish off the set; this time back into “Waves” made for a segment that was pure bisco.
MVP of the Weekend
Brownie. Declaring how excited he was to be playing The Mann Center many times throughout the weekend, Marc Brownstein also showed us how amped up he was with just the power of his music. Brownstein commanded many of the jams throughout the weekend and even when he wasn’t taking the lead you could hear him laying simple intricate bass lines in the background.
Too Early for Tiger and Woods. I was really excited to catch Tiger and Woods this weekend but they were on at 3:30 p.m. which would have meant a long nine hours inside The Mann Center with no re-entry. This DJ duo’s sexy funk-house beats would have been much better suited during The Biscuit’s setbreak or at least at a somewhat later time slot, that way more people would have been apt to show up for them.