Tractorbeam | 10.25.08 | VA

Words & Images by: James Young

Tractorbeam :: 10.25.08 :: State Theatre :: Falls Church, VA

Tractorbeam :: 10.25 :: Virginia
If you asked a science fiction fan what a tractor beam was they would tell you about a mystical device with the power to draw objects together from across the cosmos. If you were to ask a Bisco fan they may give you a similar answer. When Marc Brownstein announced that The Disco Biscuits would be joining up as their alter ego, Tractorbeam, Biscuit kids from all across the country went into a frenzy. Fans were drawn from near and far to the State Theatre. I met concertgoers from Ohio, New York, Georgia and even folks who drove from Florida to experience this extraordinarily rare event. With the show sold out, the floor lights set and the audience ready to burst, an unforgettable evening began.

First on the stage was Lo-Life (Clay Parnell) joined by Ian McGuire. This duo warmed the crowd with a heavy bass and deep beats. Their hard, driven electronic sound was a savory taste of the music that would follow. Dr. Fameus (Allen Aucoin) joined up and formed a trio called C.I.A. The three are incredibly compatible with bass and drums complimenting the funky electronic sound. Before their short set was over they had the growing audience moving, shaking and getting generally loose.

The next band, Telepath, has quickly made a name for themselves on the electronic jam scene. Where many bands working within this realm have a fairly generic drum and bass sound, Telepath creates a truly original and fresh concept. They mix dub beats with a touch of the Middle East and subtle electronica for a tone that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. They treated us to a few songs off the new album, Contact, that were rich with a conglomeration of worldly sounds. One raging set was not enough and I will be sure to see them again soon.

Telepath :: 10.25 :: Virginia
Recently, The Disco Biscuits have been pursuing their side projects. Originally this evening at the State Theatre was billed as a Conspirator show, Brownstein and Aron Magner's electronica duo. With the addition of Dr. Fameus and Jon "Barber" Gutwillig, all members of the legendary quartet were present. Barber completed the opening acts with his solo project M80 Dub Station. Armed with an arsenal of synths, keys and a laptop, it was slightly disarming to see Barber performing his special brand of dub step without his guitar. But, he performed well with a gigantic grin on his mug, as he obviously knew he was executing his new craft with a particular magnificence.

At this point the tension was palpable. The opening acts, while exciting, were simply teases of the madness to come. For those that don't know - I did not myself until recently - Tractorbeam is The Disco Biscuits playing their songs without vocals. They have long been associated with the break beat and electronica sound common to club and DJ sets, and Tractorbeam pushes them even further in this direction. They drop their vocals, which some people find to be lacking, and allow themselves to reinvent their music, focusing on jamming and opening themselves to experimentation, one of the most appealing parts of their genius.

The first set started with a solid rendition of "Digital Buddha" with heavy "42" teases. For the next song the quartet was joined by Tom Hamilton (Brothers Past, American Babies). Hamilton frequents the scene and is currently touring with Magner, Brownstein and Joe Russo in yet another side project called Electron. The five-piece Tractorbeam hit the ground running, starting "Confrontation" and segueing into Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell." There may not have been any vocals, but everyone in the audience, and even Brownstein himself, could be heard screaming, "RUN! RUN! RUN!"

Marc Brownstein - Tractorbeam :: 10.25 :: Virginia
Hamilton stayed on through the segueing jam, which included a post "Cyclone" jam where Brownstein joined Magner on the keys while dealing with some bass technical difficulties. Before Hamilton left he helped treat the audience to the new Biscuit/Tractorbeam song "Tamarin Alley." There are not enough good things to be said about this song. Although short, this new piece has limitless potential, with its hard driven bass and mind-blowing synthetic electronic funk from Magner.

After the first set, the band left Aucoin to perform a Dr. Fameus set during the intermission. For almost twenty minutes Aucoin rocked the theatre, laying down killer drumbeats on top of pre-recorded bass and DJ jams. The band transitioned back in with a seamless "Mindless Dribble." The beauty of being able to reinvent the rules within your own music is that the audience is constantly on edge to see how the band will surprise them next.

The show was heavy with "Abraxas" and "Spacebirdmatingcall" teases and there was the feeling that no song was truly sovereign to its original beginning or end. The show concluded with Hamilton rejoining the band for a fantastic "Orch Theme." There was no time for an encore, nor was there need. Tractorbeam left everything on the stage and the audience was sapped of energy. One hopes that The Disco Biscuits continue to challenge the status quo of the jam band scene. Their innovations continue to impress even the most seasoned concert veterans.

Continue reading for more pics...

Lo-Life
Telepath
Telepath
Jon Gutwillig - M80 Dub Station
Jon Gutwillig - M80 Dub Station
Tom Hamilton - Tractorbeam
Allen Aucoin - Tractorbeam
Jon Gutwillig - Tractorbeam
Aron Magner - Tractorbeam
Magner & Brownstein - Tractorbeam
Tractorbeam
Marc Brownstein - Tractorbeam
Aron Magner - Tractorbeam
Tractorbeam
Marc Brownstein - Tractorbeam

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Comments

phreak89 Tue 11/18/2008 03:00PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

phreak89

When did Browine get that Bisco tat on his hand? I like Browine but I think that's a little cheesy to get a tat of your own band.

robbot Tue 11/18/2008 03:09PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

yes that is very cheesy. And why the fuck is gutwillig wearin a bama hat?

russtab Tue 11/18/2008 03:23PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

ya tat is kind of lame... barber's girl went to alabama and i believe he is a fan as well...

FreshFlavor starstarstarstarstar Tue 11/18/2008 03:27PM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

FreshFlavor

Bisco should never sing. This concert sounds like it was awesome. Everytime they start singing I'm always like shut up and jam. Incredibly talented band.

nershi6string Tue 11/18/2008 03:40PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I wish Bisco would do an entire Tractorbeam Ter. i tend to listen to the couple Tractorbeam sets i have way more than huge collection of Bisco shows i have..

TRACTORBEAM>BISCO........biscuits should never ever ever ever ever ever ever sing again.

curtbraski star Tue 11/18/2008 03:48PM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

curtbraski

Bisco reminds me of that local jam band you use to go see in high school and thought they were killer until you became intelligent and realized it was absolute trash so you stopped going and seeing them moving on to well constructed music with real depth... I guess there are still a lot of morons who enjoy this garbage tho... the same morons who are probably getting bunk acid and bunk rolls at these awful gigs

Conjugal Burning Tue 11/18/2008 04:03PM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Conjugal Burning

there is a drummer named Shannon Larkin from Ugly Kid Joe, Amen, and mass other bands (some sucky like godsmak) who gets every band he is a part of inked on himself. I thought that was pretty original and cool when i was a youngin. I agree that the biscuits should stay instrumental, but shouldnt use a stupid name like 'tractorbeam.' that name would be cool if it was a rave in the middle of some farm with killer tractors shining their high beams at all the tweekers

Might As Well Tue 11/18/2008 05:19PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Might As Well

The Biscuits and their ridiculous spinoffs continue to disappoint me.

dreadyknowsbest starstarstarstarstar Tue 11/18/2008 05:25PM
Show -7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Tue 11/18/2008 06:09PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

pornofunk

yay curtbraski....waste of time....

your like a retarded myspace blog that nonone reads

-ehh this style of bisco's pretty cool i guess, alittle too much untz for my liking...been listening to alot of 98-99 lately.....the snizzle!

pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Tue 11/18/2008 06:11PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

pornofunk

yeah and that balcony in the 2nd to last pic def looks like someone should be peeing off of it....thats missed opportunity for sure

Mr. Holland's O-Face Tue 11/18/2008 06:51PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Mr. Holland's O-Face

hell yeah hes wearing a bama hat. They raged it in T-town a few months ago.

King Rhino starstarstar Tue 11/18/2008 07:00PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

"Legendary quartet"?

BWAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Please. They are a regional jam band who can't get arrested outside of NJ?Philly, Colorado and 3 medium-sized college towns dwn South.

And, oh yes.

Please stop Barber from singing.

Seriously. It's just awful.

rjd999 Tue 11/18/2008 07:26PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

sounds like a little too much electronica based stuff for an entire evening for myself, but i definitely would have loved to have seen the tractorbeam set. im not a huge bisco fan or anything, but the few times i have seen them, they do throw down, they are good to dance to. i prefer a more organic sound to my music, but as far as this whole jam subgenre, i think the biscuits are at the forefront, and this looks like it would have been very fun. plus, i absolutely love the state theatre in falls church. great venue, great sound, friendly staff, good beers on tap. cheers.

Ching Tue 11/18/2008 08:04PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

BOUT time they woke up and realized how awful their vocals are.

other than that, BARF

RambleOnShelbyRose starstarstarstarstar Tue 11/18/2008 08:27PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RambleOnShelbyRose

Yea biscuits are just horrible, they are horrible, they don't have the right to use their nature given larnxes, their fans should get pissed on apparently, i mean people need to listen to themselves and decide who the shitty rif raf are, i don't think i'd ever wish anyone be peed on, and as far as the vocals, if you don't like it don't listen, we have the POWER, to not listen to what i don't want to. apparently common sense though is something that people lack. o and btw curbtaski seems to always have the most 100% negative comments, most people mention that they kind of like them or their vocals suck but curbtaski is just a negative nancy; if you don't have something nice or meaningful to say don't say it at all. free sbd on archive or tractorbeam for 7/26/07 check it out its some good shit if you want an idea of what this sounds like.

Ching Tue 11/18/2008 11:35PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

vocal coaches would be a great Xmas gift for em

Towellie Wed 11/19/2008 04:42AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Towellie

Admittedly, I am personally not a huge fan of their vocals. However, I do enjoy a good bisco show. Last time I checked their job was to make the crowd dance and have a good time. Im preeeety sure they accomplish that.

Furthermore, these guys are all, I would assume, millionaire musicians. I would venture to say that NO ONE on here has that kind of credibility so MAYBE, just maybe, everyone should get off their high horse, enjoy the music they listen to, and quit the 'holier than thou' bullshit that dominates ever single board on Jambase. I imagine the folks at jambase had a little more in mind for this site when they started it out than to have the same handful of 'fans' ripping every other SUCCESFUL band on the scene.

Ching Wed 11/19/2008 06:36AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

NO one is ripping them...do not like the truth do not read...They are NOT millionaires....they play clubs and small theatres..come on now. NSYNC made millions. Doesnt mean they are good.

BISCO is sophmoric garage untz. it is entertaining...for 5 mins. then the buzz wears off and you go...ouch that was bad.

nustang Wed 11/19/2008 07:56AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

THE BISCUITS ARE NOT MILLIONAIRES, I PROMISE YOU THAT! They exist to give hope to all the smaller up and coming bands out there, that no matter how terrible you are you can still make it in the Jam scene. If you played the Bisco for an old school head that doesnt give a shit about the scene or the drugs, they would laugh at the music coming out of the speakers! Go ahead and Thumbs down me, it shows your ignorance!!!!

coolauburn Wed 11/19/2008 08:00AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

coolauburn

good review made me wish i could have made the trek down, sounds like a ragin good time with some great openers and tractorbeam is straight filthy....i still dont understand why ppl feel the need to post all this hate, if u dont like bisco dont read the review, but last time i checked they were playing nokia theater in TIMES SQUARE for 5 NIGHTS NYE...yea they suck?!?!?

thadbosetti starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/19/2008 08:51AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

thadbosetti

Good Review. Awesome show. My friends Sean, Baffoni, and I made the trek down there from Columbus, OH, and it was the smoothest 7 hour drive there and back. I love last minute trips, they always seem to fall into place appropriately. As for the music (Which Tractorbeam is all about), it was stellar. I was a Tom Hamilton hater for a while, BUT this show put all of those misconceptions to shame. I, personally, think that there should always be 2 lead guitars on stage. Hamilton ripped Barber apart and the jam back into Confrontation was like WHOA! I understand the biscuits may not be your cup of tea, but why all of the constant hate? They are classically trained musicians who are truly the best at what they do (Jamtronica, fusion, whatever you call it)and continue to push the envelope. I would love if they dropped vocals, but then again, the vocals just add to their grunginess, and songs like Magellan and Jigsaw Earth would be rendered useless. All in all, I love the tractorbeam concept and I love the people who goto Bisco shows for the music. I have met some of the most quality beings on the earth by way of Bisco and UM. That reminds me, I'm GRIPPED for Holidaze!!!

jkenne9 Wed 11/19/2008 09:11AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This guy Ian McGuire playing with Clay Parnell is one of the nastiest dudes behind the keys I have ever seen. Check out his band MJ Project outta Philly...unbelievable.

Mark Price former NBA star Wed 11/19/2008 09:39AM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
matthau Wed 11/19/2008 10:14AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

So i have always thought that the Biscuits are just aight. Their early Phish rip-off stuff was kind of fun, but their livetronica stuff kind of hurts my ears. However, they seem to have a gift for pleasing their fans and making new fans. So hey, kudos to them for getting to where they are today, i never thought it would happen. They are smart dudes.

mikemac9317 Wed 11/19/2008 10:52AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

mikemac9317

Towellie, these guys are far from millionaires. If they were millionaires, they would be playing shit like madison square gardens. Enough of the bullshit, bisco fans get so defensive about people talking shit. If the shit talkers don't like to eat drugs constantly and save their braincells, then that is their loss. Oh yeah, and their vocals such mad dicks.

D-Line Wed 11/19/2008 11:19AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

just for all the "KNOW IT ALLS" i just had to laugh! the biscuits dont have millions? haha well i happen to know barber and brownie well, and trust me they have millions, they made there first million in like 98' i cant believe you people are serious, like 60 shows a year? sold out? for like 10 years?? can you morons do the math?? haha what a bunch of jokers you haters are

mandophine Wed 11/19/2008 11:21AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

mandophine

its not a tat...

pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/19/2008 12:01PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

pornofunk

***you hate em but i see you here every article making the same jokes, like the singing jokes havent been around since the beginning, very original, your family/employer? must be thrilled with your creativity...

=so im asking you guys again...Guilty PLeasure? or even worse Boredeom?

PROPS TOO ANYONE NOT SITTING ON JAMBASE TALKING SHIT - GO BISCO!

MyFavBandIsTheBestYoursSucks Wed 11/19/2008 12:15PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

MyFavBandIsTheBestYoursSucks

Note to Jambase: Stop putting up threads on : Bisco, Umph, & STS9 stories.

All the liitle kiddies get all exited & upset, start arguing over whos fav band sucks, whos fav band can kick the other one's ass. Now their poor mommy has to calm them down & make them take a nap.

mikemac9317 Wed 11/19/2008 02:01PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

mikemac9317

MiMiLuv, are you saying that they have sold out every show in the past 10 years? That's not true. They are still playing small clubs as well as their festival and others but that by no means makes them millionaires. Touring is expensive, and it takes a while to make a million, in a band or not. If you know these guys so well, why are you defending them. Everyone is a critic on this site, so everyone get use to it because I have seen everyone on this board talk shit in some way shape or form.

bigfro Wed 11/19/2008 02:56PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

bigfro

The biscuits have been playing better than ever in the last year. They owned Rothbury. And they own all you haters who wouldn't know a good guitar player if he smacked you in the face. They are the best acid band out there and rival the Grateful dead in Jams. Barber is the best guitarist playing today.

Kiss my balls haters

Deklen Wed 11/19/2008 03:14PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Deklen

Like 'em or hate 'em, they're causing quite a commotion. This type of talk only stirs up interest in Bisco. Good for them (it's working)

OddMoses Wed 11/19/2008 03:58PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

OddMoses

Looks sick

ODD MOSES from your head to your toezes

gmoo Wed 11/19/2008 05:35PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

gmoo

Bisco rules. If you don't like it go listen to My Snoring Jacket and get the **** off this message bored. GOD I HATE HATERS!!!

gmoo Wed 11/19/2008 05:46PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

gmoo

Sorry that short rant was childish so I apologize. I just don't understand why people do some things on these boards. I should know better than to comment on this stupid shit. I'm signing off for good.....see you at some shows.

quakersk8 starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/19/2008 07:40PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
lepineisme starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/20/2008 05:52AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

lepineisme

I am a fan of jambands. I also don't know what a type 2 jam is. What does that label me as?

mikemac9317 Thu 11/20/2008 06:55AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

mikemac9317

bigfro, you must be joking when you say that their jams rival the Grateful Dead. That is completely obsurd and idiotic. They should not even be compared to the GD. They couldn't even cover a Dead song and make it sound good. Who would sing that song by the way? Let me know.People, their is more to making music than jamming! Barber is nowhere near the best guitar player playing today, at all. Mediocre at best. gmoo, you hate haters? Why are you hating on another band in your weak rant?

Ching Thu 11/20/2008 11:50AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

hell you would think with MILLONS of DOLLARS (as some of you know their finance boxes) they could buy some vocal coaches or something?

matthau Thu 11/20/2008 12:15PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I don't get the whole "vocal coach" thing.Of course their singing is lousy, but it hasn't seemed to matter all that much. The fans keep coming out to the shows....isn't that all that really matters?

pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/20/2008 12:25PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

pornofunk

btw - they had a vocal coach..... it didnt work, and I dont think they care

btw anyone ever hear phil sing ...not the best either, but we still love him :)

-ill have to agree w/ MikeMarc, I like bisco and think there jams are fun, but i wouldnt compare them to GD by any means.....you need to put those headphones bak on and do some research dude

pottad Thu 11/20/2008 12:29PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

who goes to a jam concert for vocals? They sing for maybe .05% of the concert. I think i'd rather listen to Barber sing than kang singing Rollover or Trey singing scents and subtle sounds or some bullshit tune. Let's face it the jamband genre is not known for the incredible vocals, and it should'nt be.

mikemac9317 Fri 11/21/2008 05:04AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

mikemac9317

quakersk8, what is a type 2 jams? Did you make this up? So, since I don't know what it is, I shouldn't listen to jambands? Inform me so next time I'm at a show, I can distinguish a type 1 and type 2.

RambleOnShelbyRose starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/21/2008 09:16AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RambleOnShelbyRose

the biscuits aren't millionaires because they invest the money they make into their production, they got their own studio, they bought that huge LED screen, their light rig is sick, they continue to try and give back the money that they earn in terms of the quality of the show that they produce, they buy top notch instruments and gear, in general i think its safe to say that thankfully most bands in the jam community aren't very selfish and the biscuits are included. doesn't hurt that they are sick

Deucesturf Fri 11/21/2008 11:29AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Deucesturf

'doesn't hurt that they are sick'

^which they absolutely are.

Smittea star Fri 11/21/2008 11:39AM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Smittea

Same crappy Biscuits made only slightly better by the lack of singing.

Candikorn72 Mon 11/24/2008 10:52AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

biscuits arent that good but they are still leaps and bounds better then umphreys.

koach Mon 11/24/2008 12:40PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

" They are the best acid band out there and rival the Grateful dead in Jams. "

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahah

you have to be kidding!!!!

rival the grateful dead!!!! disco biscuits.. hahahahahahah

not hating of bisco, but come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not even close!!!!!!!

TheGreenKynd starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/24/2008 07:47PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

i love reading the nonsense posted on this site. some of you people kill me.

RambleOnShelbyRose starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/24/2008 09:14PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RambleOnShelbyRose

give me a band that's better this coming spring other than phish. i don't see a single band that can compare honestly, now that's my personal opinion, for me i should say there are no better bands they have great grooves, great melodies, shit singing but i listen to jam bands since when do i care about how people sing

OddMoses starstarstarstar Sun 11/30/2008 11:04PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

OddMoses

Looks Pretty Good. Sounds even better. Odd Moses