CAMP BISCO V: AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME

Words by: Chris Clark :: Images by: Dave Vann

Camp Bisco V :: 08.25 & 08.26 :: Hunter Mountain :: Hunter, NY


The Disco Biscuits :: Camp Bisco V
Another year down, another Camp Bisco in the books. 2006's installment of The Disco Biscuits' end-of-the-summer blowout bash brought together their finest line up yet. Boasting such prolific acts as hip-hop's premier live band The Roots, the UK's Simon Posford (Sphongle, Younger Brother), as well as eclectic producer RJD2, and the highly acclaimed Brazilian Girls, Camp Bisco V was a party on paper before people even arrived.

Nestled quietly within the Catskill State Park at beautiful Hunter Mountain, Camp Bisco V offered festival goers a pristine and picturesque landscape for an all-out weekend party. How else would you describe four sets of The Disco Biscuits and countless musical friends over three stages in two days and three nights? Throw all this together in Bisco stomping grounds with a touch of New York State's rainy fall weather, and there were all the fixings for a true Biscuit good time. As in years past, Camp Bisco V provided quality and innovative music (not just electronica) from start to finish. There were both the welcome surprises (The Juan Maclean especially) and the usual suspects (the return of The New Deal). But this year, it was all about The Disco Biscuits, a host band that played with something to prove.


Quagmire Swim Team :: Camp Bisco V
The festivities began Thursday night in the Dancehall (Hunter's ski lodge) with Biscuits' friend, Quagmire Swim Team and the return of former Biscuit drummer Sam Altman and Moshi Moshi, as well as up-and-comers, Big in Japan.

Although Thursday was a nice warm-up, the real deal got going on Friday with a weekend fully stocked and loaded with some of today's brightest live electronic acts. Playing one of the first Mainstage sets of the weekend was The Pnuma Trio. Young, fresh and ambitious, The Pnuma Trio performs hot, sweat-filled music each time out. I've caught them over a dozen times in their short career, and each time is a dramatic progression from the previous. Their Camp Bisco performance was nothing short of stellar, providing an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred with over an hour of tightly woven, dance-inducing grooves. With Lane Shaw's quick-handed drum and Alex Botwin's thick and groovy bass at the core, the band moved seamlessly through their compositions as keyboardist Ben Hazlegrove showed off his jazzy-electro chops. Clearly, The Pnuma Trio will be making folks get on the dance floor for years to come.


?uestlove - The Roots :: Camp Bisco V
The New Deal made their return to Camp Bisco after taking some personal time off from touring. Despite the fact that I saw just a segment of their Mainstage set, I was pleased to see the Canadian techno trio back at it again. The crowd seemed to share my sentiment as Jamie Shields erupted on the boards.

Looking back, it's difficult to decipher the most impressive and most disappointing moments of the festival. There were countless highlights with very few let-downs. One such let-down came in The Roots' performance Friday night. I was excited to see them again, especially with a new album on the horizon, but today's Roots aren't the Roots of years past. Not to say I thought they were horrible, they just weren't very good. ?uestlove shined on the skins, but Black Thought was muddled. Without even a slice of crowd participation or audience excitement, The Roots played a rather lackluster and unenthusiastic set, making it seem they wanted nothing to do with the festival other than a paycheck.


Brazilian Girls :: Camp Bisco V
On the bright side, thank god for The Juan Maclean. Considering that I'd just heard of him a week prior to the festival, he was undoubtedly one of the premier sets of the festival. Performing during a light drizzle at the Sidestage directly in front of the lodge, The Juan Maclean drove the crowd into a frenzy with hard-hitting electro beats. Armed with a drummer and a barrage of electronics, Maclean and crew reinterpreted their way through material off their 2005 release Less Than Human. If you haven't heard this band yet, check out "AD 2003" and "Tito's Way" off of Less Than Human, both of which they exploded into at Camp Bisco. Another notable Sidestage set, well actually it was two sets, was Elemental Harmonics. Yet another electronic product from Georgia, they fused together two tight sets of gadget-driven house, dub, drum n' bass and funk quite nicely.

And then, there was the first performance of the weekend's crown princes, The Disco Biscuits. Camp Bisco V would be their first hometown festival performance without founding drummer Sammy Altman, offering a bittersweet taste to the band's four sets. But as most Bisco fans know, new drummer Allen Aucion is no joke. After surviving the cut of all the try-outs and drum offs, Aucion proved that his double-bass, rock n' roll drumming was a great fit for the Biscuits. Off the bat, they hit the stage hard with a brief "Cyclone" tease that segued impeccably into a rare dub version of "Mindless Dribble." From there, the first set took off, concluding with an always welcome, inverted "Svenghali" that segued into a solid "Rock Candy."


The Disco Biscuits :: Camp Bisco V
DJ Mike Meyers then hit the stage, keeping everyone warm for a second set-opening "Spraypaint Victory." Not played live since late 2003, the Biscuits paid homage to all their loyal fans throughout the set, with the appearances of Aron Magner's "Spaga" and the third "Bazaar Escape" since 2004. Clearly, the band was giving back to all those who've supported them throughout their rollercoaster ride. A "King of the World" and fitting "Magellan Reprise" encore solidified a set including the return of some precious old material coupled with a taste of the new.

The late night shows didn't really work for the masses. Though I caught the last sliver of Brothers Past's set and a bit of Future Rock performing the music of Aphex Twin, it was time to head back to the condo and prepare to play through to Saturday.


The Duo :: Camp Bisco V
Following two days of constant drizzle and grey clouds, Saturday began with much of the same. With the forecast calling for more rain, more clouds and possible thunderstorms, Camp Bisco V's concluding day was poised to be wet and muddy. But who cares? It's a Northeast festival at the end of summer; aren't they all rainy?

Saturday became an extension of the two previous days. As the rain continued to drizzle, Lotus played the Mainstage with their jazzy-tronic tones. I only heard a taste of their set, but there was certainly a slew of fans awaiting the Miller Brothers and company when they hit the stage midday. One of my personal disappointments was regrettably missing the Brazilian Girls' set Saturday afternoon. I'd been told such great things, but as we all know, at festivals you can't see everything.


Perpetual Groove :: Camp Bisco V
What I did catch was the conclusion of Perpetual Groove's performance at the Mainstage. In the background I'd heard Hootie and the Blowfish and some other odd covers, so I figured that I really should see what all the fuss was about. Upon arrival, the band came out with a "Bulls on Parade" cover - and it was a smoking delivery. Other than seeing Rage Against the Machine live, I'd never heard a band cover their material, and P Groove did it well. After catching portions of both newcomer Benzos and an impressive Sidestage set by Psylab, I returned to the Mainstage for yet another terrific performance from Thievery Corporation. Armed with four turntables, Thievery's DJ set was better than I could've possibly imagined. Truthfully, before the set I was a little disappointed they weren't playing with a full band, but after the two DC-area producers hit the stage, there was little doubt this was a set to remember. With a stage set-up that placed one of them in front of the other, their execution was as tight as it gets, performing material from all stages of their career. This was a set not to be missed.


Simon Posford & Aron Magner - TDB :: Camp Bisco V
And then, the festival was almost over. Camp Bisco V proved to be my favorite Camp experience yet. Everything went off without a hitch - saw very little police intervention (which I'm sure was still there), great music and the weather held out on the whole. All the weekend's festivities came down to the last two sets of the Biscuits. Saturday's first set was a bit slow, but it did contain a striking "Camera B" > "Bach's Inventio 3." It's always nice to see Jon Gutwillig show off a few classical chops. But the set's highlight came in Simon Posford's arrival onto the stage for Hallucinogen's "Gamma Goblins." As soon as one of the UK's favorite DJs hit the stage, the crowd erupted as the band and Posford explored some psychedelic trance and light-laced mayhem. The stage lights were terrific all weekend, and at no time did they shine brighter than during Sphongle's appearance with the more-than-excited Biscuits. Posford added an electronic edge as the Biscuits dropped into dub space - most likely a highlight for many in attendance. After the Biscuits parted, Posford kept the crowd moving with Sphongle tracks until the Philadelphian electronic-rock quartet returned for Set Two.


The Disco Biscuits :: Camp Bisco V
When they returned, the Biscuits brought out the big guns. From the opening chords of "House Dog Party Favor" to the band's debut cover of Air's "Kelly Watch the Stairs," the second night's second set offered some of the finest Disco Biscuits of Camp Bisco V. The set-concluding "Crickets," complete with an incredible jams, and the "I Man" encore completed a more-than-memorable festival.

The Disco Biscuits came proper for Camp Bisco V. With the help of musical friends, new and old, they put together a festival rivaled by none. What remains to be seen is how will they top it next year?

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[Published on: 9/7/06]

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Comments

Biscoonthebrain starstarstarstarstar Thu 9/7/2006 02:35PM
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Biscoonthebrain

Bisco was amazing. Thanks for finally putting the write up on here. THe Biscuits continue to be the best band around and they still amaze me evertime I see them. THe Juan Maclean was intense and as soon as the stop the madness the biscuits began there's. Lotus and Pnuma open the day was amazing and Elemental kicks ass. Psylab and Future Rock was awesome. Brazilian Girls is really weird but the bring the heat and the thump. Sphongle is the KIng of Trance and should be recognized as one of the greatest dj of all time. All in all camp ruled and I'll c u all the there next years. Until THen New YEars and fall tour is coming so as always. BIsco. Period!!!!!!. Holla
J

toestothenose starstarstarstar Thu 9/7/2006 03:19PM
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toestothenose

Chris and Dave - ripping coverage of Camp Bisco V!
Kudos to you both

phishs240 Thu 9/7/2006 06:26PM
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No mention of the Indobox?
They played a pretty impresive set

gregoir starstarstarstar Thu 9/7/2006 08:55PM
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Ha Ha no police intervention obviously this reviewer went no where near the campsite to stage entrance

nick Fri 9/8/2006 04:11AM
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cant wait for ole hallows eve

moe2 Fri 9/8/2006 07:39AM
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too bad that he didnt mention anything about the massive pig patrol that was arresting everybody for everything(myself included) i think around 200 right? what a joke. and campsites on a mountain, so smart. my legs still hurt. great music, shitty festival

McStett starstarstarstar Fri 9/8/2006 08:00AM
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great festi, i really don't get how the shadiest gathering of kids could be assembled in the highest security venue. bad planning on the part of the biscuits. other than that great tunes, great kids and a great time. shpongle rocks my world

nfenne Fri 9/8/2006 08:37AM
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nfenne

It seemed like the writer in this article missed more music than he got to see. Was that due to overlapping sets or lack of energy?

If you guys haven't heard Big in Japan CHECK THEM OUT! Electro-jam music that makes you want to mosh!

jishman starstarstar Fri 9/8/2006 09:45AM
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jishman

The police presence was deffinitely an integral part of the experience, but if you were smart there were no issues. As for the review...I for one was dissapointed in Thievery. Equipment problems plagued the first five minutes or so, and there were sections where they seemed to make no effort to seque songs and mix beats. Seeing thievery and posford within the span of three hours was night and day for how a dj should pump up the crowd and feed off thier energy. Sphongle setbreak was an amazing hour of music. Too bad no mention of late night Younger Brother as well...all in all, a great weekend, and in my mind, a great festival. I'll take a few more police any day for bathrooms, lodges, ice, close parking and other ammenities that Hunter delivered.

M0Er0N starstarstar Sat 9/9/2006 08:46AM
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2 deaths not good , everyone need to relax a little caus if someone overdoses every year it wont be long before they stop doin camp bisco..... 2 deaths and 273 kids busted = HENHOUSE

Lorene starstarstar Sat 9/9/2006 08:15PM
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The festival would have been a lot better if it weren't for the thunderstorms. Props to those who were able to tough it out for the biscuits in that downpour, that takes dedication. I think The New Deal was the highlight and I'm sorry to whoever posted that article, but the Roots rocked too.

Stevie_t Sun 9/10/2006 08:26AM
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so this guy missed brothers past, missed brazilian girls, seems like he missed the duo (no mention of it other then the picture) but seemed to go over and catch every sidestage act the whole weekend. other then a few major exceptions the whole side stage was just a generic techno stage for super fucked up people to dance to insted of intermission music at the mainstage, which i did at times admittedly. but anyways, also i don't really get the new deal, they never really hit the mark for me, and i thought the roots kicked ass. maybe they are different at different fests/shows, but i was surprised how much of BAND they were for a hip hop act.

and seriously you can tell this guy was in a condo, no mention of all the cops and no mention of the problem of camping on a big fucking slope. some problems with camp bisco this year, but not in the music. i guess thats what happens with a festival that never gets to happen in the same place two years in a row.

barrett starstarstar Mon 9/11/2006 02:44PM
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barrett

to many spun bisco kids = bad time,
i hope there comes a time where people care about the music and not getting fucked.up.or at least not 2 fucked up.

barret

Darkstar16 starstar Mon 9/11/2006 08:51PM
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"The late night shows didn't really work for the masses." Huhhhh??? I think the only part of the late night shows that didn't work for the masses was having Younger Brother pushed forward a couple hours. Not even a mention of Medeski and the Itch?! tND set was average at best, I mean come on. Atleast you got the Juan right. CBV was an excellent experience all in all despite so much that seemed to work against us, this article on the other hand...mehhhh

SuperDee Tue 9/12/2006 08:38AM
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SuperDee

pgroove rocked! forget about the RATM antics... it's all about their original stuff. "crapshoot" was sick and i heard a new one for me called "two shores" that is no doubt gonna be a centerpiece on their new album which i can't wait to hear cuz it's gonna be excellent!! yes, i love pgroove.

thatsa104 Tue 9/12/2006 11:53AM
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thatsa104

Kudos to all of you for sticking it out. I anticipated the hassle & the weather being more then I could manage. Spun out kids to boot. What's with that? I'm crazy about the Biscuits but they need to take responsibility for the vibes that they attract. Needles aren't cool!! Neither is hearing kids screaming & crying while their friends OD. Sad to say but I've had to take my business elsewhere.

derreck Tue 9/12/2006 12:10PM
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derreck

The Biscuits have been washed up for years. Although Aucoin is a vast improvement over Sammy.

WHEREisPHISH star Tue 9/12/2006 03:57PM
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musically, camp this year was simply amazing..the duo, juan maclean, shpongle/younger brother, moshi moshi, big in japan, pnuma trio, brothers past, lotus, and psylab all fuckin killed it...the biscuits played an above average show each night and busted out some shit we havent heard in awhile which is always nice..Chemical Warfare Brigade > Shpongle=tits..way too many cops and camping was a bitch..but my friends and i didnt really sleep so who cares..all in all camp was fun as shit if you watched your back and i will be there once again next year.."fuck the cops, love the biscuits"...p.s. the dude who wrote this article is a rich fagit who stayed in a condo and missed almost all of the good sets..get some real campers to write your articles next time....

sly249 star Wed 9/13/2006 09:53AM
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sly249

bad article. Sick music. Roots and thievery rocked. Fuck the police

deftone984 starstarstar Wed 9/13/2006 10:13PM
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deftone984

camp was an amazing experience. being able to get away and dance my ass off for two straight days along with the best lineup i have ever seen. all of the musicians came to throw down. simon posfrod is a genius. his set break and late night shows were definitely the highlights for me. not the best review i have ever read... sounded pretty detached. some of the bisco kids take things a little too far, but overall the energy was positive and beautiful. i think future rock was awesome late night playing richard d james tunes. lets get hallucinogen/shpongle, aphex twin, and infected mushroom all to come out next year. the juan mclean really surprised me and pnuma more kicked ass than expected. other than that everyone pretty much lived up to my expectations including thievery despite a few minutes of techincal problems. love to all. disfruta cada dia.

johnnygoff star Thu 9/14/2006 05:07PM
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johnnygoff

Bisco was an interesting journey this year. Shall we say, a tad more corporate than the Skyetop Campgrounds in Van Etten, NY (Camp Bisco IV).(also where Nugroove Festy was this year) Juan Mclean, Brazillian Girls, P-Groove, Psylab, Younger Brother, Disco Biscuits and my personal fave: "The Itch" w/ Soulive's Kraz, JOhn Medeski, and from Lettuce fame, Adam Deitch...(which provided a much needed respite from thumping beats) Overall, a success. In true Meatcamp Production style, I have faith they will once again evolve for the better in Camp Bisco VI....Cheerio, johnny goff, 28, elmira, ny

ongbak starstarstar Fri 9/15/2006 06:32AM
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THievery and the Roots were both pretty bad. ive seen the roots play before and go all out, this wasnt one of those performances. as for the shady kids, what jamband show doesnt have that crowd, quit generalizing the biscuits with the scumbag tour rats
housedog>kellywatchtheStarz>housedog ending>711 ending>housedog middle>voices insane........ thats why this band is the best

Substance starstarstar Wed 9/20/2006 07:32AM
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Substance

Very little police intervention? I saw more people getting arrested than any festival I've been too this year. I even heard rumors of them being responsible for squeezing the last two artists into one set. What is a Camp without music at dawn?

figgzz starstarstar Fri 9/22/2006 12:52PM
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figgzz

i wanna know if the guy who wrote this was at the same camp bisco V i was at... i dont know what he mean bout the roots cause they were off the wall, i mean, each guy on an instrument had an amazing solo.the new deal was definatly the shit but overall i think my fav act was RJD2.and police was everywhere so maybe this guys thinkin of a different camp hahaha

lohocla starstar Wed 10/4/2006 10:45AM
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Lotus rule.. biscuits are not washed up, kids who go to shows and festies simply for the drugs and other nonsense are assholes and Allen fuckin rocks!!

Cr4wley starstarstarstarstar Wed 10/4/2006 10:20PM
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Fuck all of the haters. All your base are belong to bisco.

stush8 star Mon 10/30/2006 10:59AM
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I thought that the Roots were incredible at that festifal. Is the author of this even into the Roots at all? They put on an amazing show!!! So for all of u people who missed Camp Bizko and just read this article for some reason- DO NOT BELIEVE ANY OF THIS GUY"S INFORMATION!!!!!!!!! The festival was very chill, but one of the main highlights were the ROOTS crew:)))))

Petrov starstar Wed 11/15/2006 03:30PM
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That Hootie and the Blowfish cover that you thought you heard P-groove play, is acually their song AIM, if you were at the mainstage and not hanging out in the lodge you would have noticed the lyrics...