The Disco Biscuits | 12.31 | NJ

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Words and Images by: Jake Krolick

The Disco Biscuits :: 12.31.07 :: Tweeter Center :: Camden, NJ

The Disco Biscuits :: 12.31.07 :: New Jersey
2007 was a banner year for the Disco Biscuits. Summer tour concluded with a concrete Camp Bisco, and the band amped up their creativity during the fall tour as they settled into their best playing since drummer Allen Aucoin joined them. The NYE run landed a commanding punch that sent Biscuits fans bouncing between PA and NYC only to wrap everything up on the dirty banks of the Delaware River. There were enough guests and sights stuffed into the Tweeter Center at the Waterfront to create a hearty three-ring ruckus. When the party subsided, fans slipped away into sugarcoated dreams of the magnificent “Run Like Hell” > “Waves” > “Run Like Hell” sandwich, a blazing highlight which sat like a cherry on top of an entire year of music. The Disco Biscuits once again showed how to properly celebrate the end of the year.

What the Tweeter Center lacked in NYE decor was remedied ten-fold by the Biscuits’ vibrant, dynamic followers. Encrusted in boas, broken glow stick liquid, space helmets and pieces of costumes, it was hard to not just stand there and gawk. One of the best parts of the Disco Biscuits experience, aside from the music, was the energy pumped out by Delaware Valley’s Biscuit faithful. Aside from the human eye-candy, cones of white material hung from the ceiling while dancers and hired creatures wandered the halls. In a fine showing of hometown thanks, the Biscuits even invited a slew of pals to a few choice kegs and bubbly in the green room.

Antibalas :: 12.31.07 :: New Jersey
An alluring distant corner of the venue had a sign advertising the Black Box. Inside was a small black light bathed disco room. Patrons of the night could stray from the massive crowds to converse in a corner or dance to a plethora of DJs and musicians. Philly’s Grimace Federation rocked the Black Box during the Biscuits’ second set. With a set-up similar to the Benevento/Russo Duo, the focus was on dueling drummers Jon and Chris Wood. Behind them a wet, undulating jam emitted from a trio of bass and guitar players. Off to the side, their vibraphonist, Xack Xweig, ran furiously up and down scales in time to the drummers. His airy sound fused together jazz with drum ‘n’ bass. The majority of the Black Box experience was warm and cozy; quite an inviting way to escape a massive crowd. That is until the main floor closed and the late night Larrys started cruising in for a piece of ass.

The big room shebang kicked-off with an excellent flaunt of beats and blows from Brooklyn’s Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. The band actually filled the oversized Tweeter Center stage while they pumped out undulating horn blasts that fed the percussion and encouraged one’s primordial dancer to surface. Duke Amayo hung back on the drums at the beginning of the set while his lumberjack-esque compadre, Stuart Bogie, took center stage. Bogie’s combination of jumpy dance moves and energetic sax during “Indictment” riled up the floor, turning the crowd into a juicy frenzy. The political edge to the song was subtle, just enough to linger in our minds. It was a stark contrast to Bassnectar‘s late night political rant. Amayo later stepped forward, billowing with spirit and passion. As he shook his arms, yellow and white spotlights danced off the silk on his homemade Asian-inspired garment. He looked like he had emerged from some story years in the making. As Amayo chanted, he tipped his head back and dug deep to preach to the willing audience. The band breezed through a few choice cuts off their latest album, Security, before exiting the stage after a punchy start to a long night of music.

The Disco Biscuits with Antibalas :: 12.31
Pairing Keller Williams with this lineup was a questionable choice, but charming Keller offered his own bag of musical acrobatics. However, if you were looking for a time to get out and see the vast Tweeter sights, this was as good a time as any. Keller’s “Tribe” seemed very fitting as he repeated, “Can I join your tribe? Can I join your tribe?” To his credit, I was thrilled to hear the Disco Biscuits cover some Michael Jackson with him during their first set. Still his spot on this electronically stacked bill remained odd.

Screams and thunderous cheers welcomed the Disco Biscuits to the throw down. Early on a sweet little combo of “I-Man” > “Wizards of Winter” popped up on the radar. Marc Brownstein and Jon Gutwillig aligned to create a nice boost in the energy while the costumed masses whirled themselves into an end-of-the-year fury. The Antibalas horn’s fed “Morph Dusseldorf” and helped the Biscuits navigate a nice section of Michael Jackson teases including “Billie Jean” and “Thriller.” Antibalas’ Marcus Farrar kept himself and his shekere shaking almost as furiously as the hardcore rail riders. However, the horns fell out of sync a smidge, which proved an amusing way to send off 2007.

“Morph Dusseldorf” became the NYE countdown, and, like last year, those who weren’t paying attention to the time may have missed the stroke of midnight. Before we knew it balloons popped, confetti scattered and faces were sucked left and right. Onstage, the Disco Biscuits were joined by a costumed tiger and two colorful clowns, one of which was super Biscuits supporter Dan Berkowitz. Keller Williams joined the confusion to sing a respectable cover of Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.” Set One concluded with the Biscuits finishing the “Helicopters” from 12/28 in their classic tradition of tweaking the chorus to “Happy New Year / Look out below.”

The Disco Biscuits :: 12.31.07 :: New Jersey

During set break Bassnectar brought his bombastic style out so all could lob their arms skyward. The snack and beer area patrons enthusiastically bounced to his beats, too. If he had only played the set break we would have been better off. His late night set started as an interesting mix of mash-ups until he started preaching about politics to the largest, least sober bunch of freaks that side of the river. In the wee hours of the morning, it’s usually good to play and not to preach. Honestly, the Philadelphia Experiment and Playloop recording artists Justin Paul, Kezner and DJ Everyday were easily equal to, if not better, than all of Bassnectar’s hype.

Jon Gutwillig :: 12.31.07 :: New Jersey
Set Two for the Biscuits was a serious step in the right direction. Aucoin and keyboardist Aron Magner turned up the temperature as the Biscuits invited Skydog Gypsy guitarist Dean Tovey up for an extended “Shem-Rah Boo.” The additional guitar and particular selection were a treat as Brownstein wove a nasty bassline into the extended intro. As the band steered into “Cyclone,” it appeared they were off course. Despite multiple tries to signal Tovey to exit, he had overstayed his welcome and knocked the song out of whack. No worries though, the stuff that legends are made of was just around the corner.

As if they were prospectors hitting a golden mother lode, the Biscuits struck into “Run Like Hell” with massive gusto and energy. They teased “Don” a little before launching into one of the best “Waves” ever. The harmonious masterpiece was evil and vivacious with absolutely perfect timing. Its dark underbelly accentuated the Pink Floyd cover that preceded it and gave you a real reason to dance like hell. Attendees deep in the throes of substance disorientation traded looks of horror and grabbed their chairs in a white knuckled terror. The band was all buckled in as Magner began his synthesizer lead, launching a ballsy, stunning jam out of “Waves.” Aucoin demonstrated amazing control-and-release as the jam gained intensity. The balance during the segue was splendid as the four-person juggernaut guided “Waves” back into “Run Like Hell.” The darkness sandwich was easily the highlight of the evening, if not the whole NYE run.

The encore was amusing after such a tremendous second set. You needed to accept it at face value to walk out happy. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” completed the full song that started the run. The placement faked us out and made us think it was over but the Biscuits finished the “Munchkin Invasion” that had begun the previous night’s show. With a tour in Europe and Colorado coming up it would seem that the Disco Biscuits are set for another amazing year in 2008. Until then, dream of “Waves” wrapped in Floyd.

The Disco Biscuits :: 12.31.07 :: New Jersey

The Disco Biscuits :: 12.31.07 :: Tweeter Center :: Camden, NJ
Set I: Home Again > November Rain1, I-Man2 > Wizards in Winter, Morph Dusseldorf3, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’4, Triumph > Helicopters5
Set II: Reactor2> Nughuffer1 > Shem-Rah Boo6 > Cyclone > Run Like Hell > Above The Waves7 > Run Like Hell
Encore: Highwire > Alter Ego > Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)8> Munchkin Invasion9

1 ending only
2 unfinished
3 with countdown; with Antibalas horns; with “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson) and “Thriller” teases
4 1st time played (Michael Jackson); with Keller Williams on vocals/guitar and Antibalas horns
5 completes 12/28 version
6 unfinished; with Dean Tovey (Skydog Gypsy) on guitar
7 inverted
8 completes 12/27 version
9 completes 12/30 version

The Disco Biscuits NYE 2007

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