By Chris Clark
From Philadelphia via New York City, the Disco Biscuits' latest live release, Rocket 3, delivers yet another trademark performance from one of the principal purveyors of American electronic music.
Since the rock opera Hot Air Balloon debuted on New Year’s Eve 1998 at the Silk City Diner in Philly, the Biscuits have come a long way. While this impressive 2004 New Year’s Eve performance was originally considered for The Wind at Four to Fly, released earlier this year, Rocket 3 arrives as a limited edition of sorts, coming three years after the initial installment of TranceFusion Radio, which burst open the live Bisco vaults with highlights including Broadcast 1's mind-blowing "Crickets" and "The Very Moon" sandwich, and Broadcast 2’s "Gangster" intro to a liquid, flowing "I Man.”
Rocket 3 is a farewell to a long beloved incarnation of The Disco Biscuits. It offers the Biscuits choice three-song 3rd set from the 2004 New Year’s Eve show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC, and musical highlights abound. As the departure of founding drummer Sam Altman approached, the genre-shaping quartet had a fire in them that's became commonplace in Bisco culture. Rocket 3 delivers a driving performance by a band that operates outside of normal boundaries.
Undoubtedly, the Disco Biscuits are at their best live, but it’s these special nights - the top of their mental and physical game nights - that define their prime. Climaxes appear throughout in this extremely fan-friendly set including the commencing wave riding of the triumphant, 33-minute "Magellan," and the seamless transition from "Frog Legs" into the end of "Crickets." What's apparent is the band’s ability to find a cohesive place like the slowed down, keyboard-driven, down-tempo section in "Crickets" that turns upbeat, Barber-fueled guitar release. Actually, the entire "Crickets" is worth several listens, as is the whole album. The departure of Sammy meant the end to an era, the end to the anchor that stood consistent in the background, but as the evening closing "Hope" suggests there's still plenty of fuel for the future.
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