Camp Bisco Music Festival :: 07.11.13-07.13.13 :: Indian Lookout Country Club :: Pattersonville, NY
Before stepping foot on to ILCC’s property this year, I already knew that this Camp Bisco was going to be something special. Needless to say I was not disappointed in any sense of the word. This was my third time attending Camp Bisco and was by far the best experience I have had since first going. Once through the gates, the new set up was obvious with the two dance tents being moved to where the main stage used to be, extending the size of the concert field by almost double. With tents up and the campsite ready it was time for some rest…well sort of…eyes wide open; we all lay awake anticipating what was surely going to be an epic weekend.
Many said that the best day for music may have been the first, Thursday, as it was a heater from start to finish. My friends and I woke up early and cooked a massive breakfast to ensure we had our calories to burn for the non-stop get down party that was about to ensue. After gathering our strength, a few cocktails and putting on our dancing shoes, we finally made it out to the festival grounds around 1 p.m.
The Manhattan Project -Label Tent (2:15 p.m. -3:30 p.m.)
I have seen this duo perform from their initial creation, beginning in the small night clubs of Philly, to a show of maybe 50 people at Camp 10, to their performance at Camp 12, where they packed the Label Tent with their many fans. Touching all their heavy hitters (including their cover of the Halloween movies’ theme song) “1984,” “New World Anthem” and “Endless Nights” -a banger off their new EP. The Manhattan Project have become true professionals and it has been an absolute pleasure seeing them come into their own as artists over the years. After this set, we headed back to the camp site to grab dinner and some rest before the night came.
Squarepusher – Label Tent (12:30 a.m. -2:00 a.m.)
Our crew decided to skip the first round of late night acts (Dillon Francis and Com Truise) to no fault of the artists, as we simply needed our energy after what the day already threw at us. We all made it back over to the grounds to check out the British electronic legend Squarepusher in the Label Tent. I knew a little bit about the artist before heading over, but was told he puts on something that you have to witness to truly understand what he does. Well those words could not have been truer as he blasted the tent with his signature off-beat, eclectic sound featuring lots of slap bass. Out of everything I saw at Camp Bisco, Squarepusher was definitely the most interesting act I saw. After a while though, I will admit the strobe lights and LED’s began to give us a bit of strained eye syndrome and we thirsted for something a bit more upbeat. Overall a great set and definitely someone I suggest seeing when he tours, which is not often.
Boys Noize – B.I.G. Tent (12:30 a.m. -2:00 a.m.)
In previous years I spent so much time in the bigger dance tent that it was odd to not make my first entrance until now, but given who was on the other stages prior it made sense. The B.I.G. Dance Tent was curated that day by OWSLA (Skrillex’s label) vs. Boys Noize Records (Boys Noize’s label). Watching the main man himself close it out in style was a great way to end the night. Dropping his German heavy-electro beats kept our feet moving and our bodies shaking. When all was said and done we were soaked in sweat and ready to call it a great Day One. We slowly meandered our way back to the site sore from the day, but also more excited for what Friday would bring.
With the prior day being slammed with such good music we wanted to take our time today and see what else Camp had to offer with the many new changes (including the giant inflatable mattress). Also, it was the perfect time to find several of our friends and check out the amazing vendors all around the festival grounds. I went and scored myself a sweet new Camp Bisco jersey to rep for the day (made by our friends over at Tanzanite Productions) and hauled it up to the new Gazebo Stage on the pond to get down to some fresh down-tempo beats. After wandering around, crashing several of our friend’s camp sites, and generally shooting the breeze it was time to get down to some music.
PERSEUS and Moon Boots -Label Tent (5:45 p.m. -8:15 p.m.) Besides jam music, my other guilty pleasure is Nu-Disco and I honestly don’t think there is anything better to dance to in the great summer weather we were experiencing that weekend. The French Express curated Label Tent was in short a Disco Dance Party! I’ve listened to several mixes of both PERSEUS and Moon Boots, so to finally get to see them do their thing in person was just pure awesomeness. They rotated between the two, never missing a step and keeping the crown grooving the whole time. Surprisingly it was not too crowded due to electro guru Wolfgang Gartner on Main Stage 2, making this one of the real sleeper sets of the weekend.
Bassnectar -Main Stage 2 (9:30 p.m. -10:45 p.m.)
Say what you want about Lorin Ashton, aka Bassnectar, but if there is one thing we should be able to agree on, it’s that the man puts on one of the greatest shows you can see for your buck. In previous years I have been in the way back as he always draws the biggest crowd (none more evident than this year with no other acts having sets during his). This year I got to post up on a platform, giving me full witness to the bass onslaught. In short, a “bass onslaught” was an apt description as the set was bass to the face for a good hour and a half. There were too many hits to name that were dropped, but he dug deep in performing songs from his famed 2010 IDJ Mixtape and his old podcasts. He handled the crowd like a marionette pulling emotions out of every drop. Watching his true fans (BNF heads) at his shows is like watching someone going through a religious experience. It was wild, it was intense, it was classic Bassnectar to the finest. I had also the honor of meeting his LED tech during the set which turned out to be a massive bonus as he later got me back stage for future acts (more on that later). He closed it out with is slamming remix of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the Name,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy and was a proper ending to the set.
Lotus -B.I.G. Tent (2:00 a.m. -3:15 a.m.)
Since I was unable to get on stage for The Disco Biscuits, my new main man Mike (Bassnectar LED tech) got me front and center for Lotus Late Night and what a special treat it was. I was right there for Mike Rempel’s soothing guitar tones, while drummer Mike Greenfield kept it moving despite a tech snafu that led to an impromptu drum solo. Now, I have been a fan of these guys for a very long time and to see them handle the technical issue without showing signs of annoyance was truly something else. Lotus began the set with the edgy and dark “Blacklight Sunflare.” They followed up with the always crowd pleasing “Flower Sermon” and later on really brought it home with “It’s All Clear To Me Now” > “Hammerstrike.” “Jump Off” provided a strong finish. I was left with my jaw on the floor after Lotus’s set at the B.I.G. Tent. Another great day in the books and back to home base for some much needed sleep to rest up for the finale!
The last day of Camp is always a bag of mixed emotions; excited for another stacked day of class A music, but also sad knowing it is soon coming to an end. Not to let the latter take our moods, we did our best to catch the acts we knew would put on the best shows. It would seem though that because Bassnectar brought it so hard Friday (literally and figuratively as his extra subs sank Main Stage 2) a little bit of shuffling with the schedules was needed for all artists to get a chance to shine. A substitution also went into play as Thievery Corporation stepped up for a last minute cancellation by Animal Collective. Thankfully we were in the loop and able to see everyone we needed to, ensuring a perfect last day of Camp Bisco XII.
Break Science w/ Special Guests -Label Tent (4:00 p.m. -6:00 p.m.)
One of the moved sets, Adam Deitch and Borham Lee, aka Break Science, threw a star-studded, electronic-laden jam session with rap legend Slick Rick making an appearance. Even though there was confusion as to where they were playing, once people heard the beats blaring from the Label Tent, a rush ensued to pack it in by the end. It’s clear why Deitch is a Grammy-nominated artist as the multiple drumming styles he employs, depending on the situation, kept the crowd on its toes.
Disco Biscuits – Main Stage 1 Recap
I am a self-admitted Disco Biscuit fiend and to say that I was bursting with excitement to finally see them play for the first time since New Year’s Eve would be an understatement. There was no run to Camp Bisco this year, so practice time for the quartet was limited. In the end it did not matter, they came, they saw and they conquered Camp Bisco as the Philadelphia natives proved why it is their festival. With the first notes of “7-11,” it was clear that this was the return of The Disco Biscuits that we have come to know and love. Flawless transitions, amazing improvisation, pulsating trance-fusion beats, and of course the new light set up with even more lasers (especially during that “Abraxas”…just wow) laid the groundwork for something truly outstanding. I was honestly blown away with how they played with such tenacity that has not been seen in several years. Of the six sets they played, it was unanimous among my friends and I that the day set was the best of the lot with the return of a “Magellan” that will spoken of for years to come.
Spankin’ Biscuit Brothers -VIP Tent (2:00 a.m. – 3:30 a.m.)
I was witness to something very special to end my Camp Bisco XII experience. A newly-formed super group consisting of Tom Hamilton (Brothers Past – guitar), Jon Gutwillig (The Disco Biscuits – guitar), Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits – bass), Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits – keys) and Jeremy Worthington (Sonic Spank – drums) covered Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in what can only be described as pure magic. As I enjoyed my final show of the festival I reflected on how much fun I had and how well this Camp had gone. Everyone from the artists, MCP/CID Productions, security and of course the fans were on top of their game. I could not have asked more out of my Camp Bisco experience and without a doubt will be back next year to do it all again!