ScottieL and his eclectic slang is back in the building sporting a tan and great hair. He took a break from admiring himself in the mirror to file his report about last weeks Camp Bisco VII.
What’s up ML, it’s your boy ScottieL back with the latest festival review. About a month after Bonnaroo, I had finally completely recovered and was ready to rage to the max for another weekend. This time I headed up to Mariaville, NY for Camp Bisco VII, headlined by the Disco Biscuits. Other acts included Snoop Dogg, The Egg, 2020 Soundsystem, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, and Lotus among many others. This was my first Camp Bisco, and the lineup looked like the best, and most eclectic to date. Camp has turned into one of the premier electronic festivals in the U.S., and the fact that it has the drawing power to get an act like Snoop is very impressive.
For the past two years, Camp has been held at Indian Lookout Country Club, a vast 200-acre farmland run by the local bikers. It was interesting to go to a festival and not see any cops around, but the bikers kept things in check. I know if I was to partake in illegal activities, hypothetically of course, I would probably be more scared to fuck with these guys than the popo. Almost all of them I encountered were cool, showing us respect when we showed it to them, but let’s just say I heard some stories, and yeah, you don’t wanna fuck with them.
Camp was a much more intimate festival than Bonnaroo. Unofficial numbers put the attendance around 7,500, and you could walk from one side of the grounds to the other in about 10 minutes. There were two stages, the main stage and the hill stage, and one dance tent. We had a good view of the main stage from our campsite, which was perfect when I needed a minute to relax while still listening to some great music. And there was plenty of that…
After waiting in line for a few hours to get into the campgrounds, I missed the first few acts, but got in just in time to set up my tent and make it to the evening Biscuits set. They opened with a fun “7-11”> “Little Betty Boop”> “42,” that got the party started. The highlight of the set for me was guitarist Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig nailing the “Svenghali” peak. They closed the set with the hip-hop(ish) “Trucker’s Choice,” setting the stage for Snoop to follow.
Watching Snoop walk out on to the stage amidst giant weed leaves and bongs, we knew we were in for a treat. This was my first time seeing him, and I couldn’t have asked for a better show. His live band was incredible, and he had a nice mix of newer songs such as “Sexual Eruption,” and older classics like the fan favorite “Gin and Juice.” As great as the music was, the highlight for me took place after the set. Blunt in hand, Snoop got on the mic and told everyone to enjoy 311, who he’s been on tour with, but wasn’t at the festival. You gotta love him.
After Snoop, I headed to the dance tent to catch Pnuma Trio. The tent was fairly big, had amazing lights, and when full felt like it was 500 degrees. It gave “face-melting” a whole new meaning (wakkawakkawakka.) These guys have come a long way since I last saw them a few years ago. Seeing them (all in their early 20’s) tear up late night at Camp Bisco sort of made me feel like a musical failure. (Cue Violin.) After Pnuma, things started getting a little bit hazy. Must’ve been the, ahem, fatigue setting in from the long drive. Orchard Lounge set the table nicely for Lotus with one of their signature video mash-ups. I’ve never been a big Lotus fan, but I was getting down to them pretty hard (according to my friends) and I remember having a great time. Overall, the first day of Camp was a lot of fun, and set the tone nicely for the next two days.
Waking up crammed in the driver’s seat of my car with the sun beating down on me is not one of my finest Camp memories, but it is memorable nonetheless. At least I wasn’t naked. Stepping out of the car, I heard the crunchtasticness of RAQ emanating from the main stage. Should’ve stayed in the car. (Just kidding RAQ… you guys are good musicians, just not really my thing… no offense.) Around 3 p.m. I headed over to the hill stage for the first time to check out Dr. Fameus. Dr. Fameus consists of Allen Aucoin, the drummer of the Biscuits, playing drums while DJing. DJ Drizno sat in with him for a little while, and Allen got to show off more of his chops on the drums.
After Dr. Fameus finished up, I booked it over to the main stage to catch the end of Tea Leaf Green. They were a nice change of pace from the electronic acts, bringing some good old-fashioned rock & roll to the party. I was especially impressed with the addition of new bassist Reed Mathis. Their old bass player was solid, but I found him to be more of an entertainer than a great musician. Reed definitely has the ability to take these guys to a new level.
Next up on the main stage was indie band !!! (pronounced chick-chick-chick.) I’d heard good things about these guys before, but I had no idea what to expect. The first thing I noticed was singer Nic Offer dancing like a madman on stage in booty shorts, arms flailing and feet tapping. He called out the hippies in the crowd, mentioning the smell of patchouli and weed, which mostly got a confused response from the hippies themselves, making it that much funnier to (mostly) sober people like me. After getting past his antics, I noticed the excellent playing of the rest of the band. !!! reminds me a lot of a modern day Talking Heads with their tight playing and offbeat humor. Definitely a surprise highlight for me.
There was a schedule change after !!!, and Shpongle came on instead of Prometheus. Shpongle is one of Simon Posford’s many projects, and it was a perfect blend of dance grooves and psychedelic soundscapes. He had the whole crowd getting down and eating up every new layer he added to the frenzy. The highlight for me was the intense “Gamma Goblins,” which has always been one of my favorites of his. After he finished with his Shpongle set, Posford stayed on stage to play with one of his other projects, Younger Brother. Joining him on the stage were Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits) on bass, Tom Hamilton (Brothers Past) on guitar, and Joe Russo (The Duo) on drums. This all star lineup definitely lived up to the hype. They remind me of a modern day Pink Floyd, which is a high praise coming from a huge Floyd fan (Ed Note: true story dude’s screen name is in honor of Pink Floyd).
No time to rest after Younger Brother. It was time for the Biscuits to come on again. Making sure to run back to the campsite to grab my flat bill and shades, I secured a good spot in the middle of the crowd. The highlights from the two sets, which included an hour setbreak in which MSTRKRFT threw down, were the “Basis For a Day”> “The Thieving Magpie,” the “Spacebirdmatingcall”> “Tricycle,” and the “Helicopters”> “Confrontation.” They also debuted a new instrumental called “Meditation” which sounded like it has potential. Barber was on fire all night, which was a recurring theme throughout the festival.
The tent was in full force again late night, this time featuring two of my favorite performances of the weekend from The New Deal and Telepath. Jamie Shields kept pushing his band until it felt like the tent was going to collapse from all of the energy. When they finished up their set, I think I heard a collective sigh of relief from the crowd because any more and all of our heads would have exploded (in a good way.) But Camp Bisco is not a place for the weak. As soon as they got off the stage, Telepath got on and owned us until 5 a.m. These guys can fucking play. Their reggae influences and funk-driven basslines definitely added a unique layer to their sound, and they kept me wanting more when they finished up, even though my body felt like it could barely move. Another great day of music had ended, but the best had yet to come.
After a much better sleep than the night before, I woke up and hung out at the campsite while Future Rock played on the main stage. They sounded great as usual. The Biscuits came on for a day set next, which was quite a treat. They opened with a solid “Astronaut” that featured a unique jam that sounded rehearsed (new song perhaps?) They ended the set with a beautiful “Shelby Rose.” Definitely a satisfying one-setter.
Up next, Amplive threw down some tight hip-hop beats and kept the crowd pumped until DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist came on. These guys put on a fun show, but I was expecting more from them. A lot of people were getting down to them, but from this performance I didn’t see what all the hype was about.
BISCUITS BISCUITSBISCUITS. After some solid playing the past two days, Saturday night was where they really brought the heat. “Mindless Dribble” opener was perfect, and it left my brain a… well… you get it. In the middle of “Dribble” they debuted another new song called “Chilled Briefly” which was a joke toward the Biscuits scene, more specifically Phantasy Tour, a Biscuits internet message board where everything from latest shows to gas bongs are discussed (whatupPTizzle!) The set closed with a lovely (no homo) “Crickets”> “I-man.” After Bassnectar spun setbreak for about an hour The Biscuits came back on. They played a monster “House Dog Party Favor” and debuted two more songs, the original “Killing Eleven,” and “Phantom Part II,” a Justice cover, which were both pretty tight. Overall, The Biscuits killed it on Saturday and really impressed me the entire weekend.
After the Biscuits tore up the main stage, I could’ve gone home satisfied right then. Little did I know what I would’ve missed. I had heard good things about The Egg before Camp, and I listened to a couple of their albums to get to know some of their material. I liked it, but I had no idea what kind of live show they’d put on. These guys blew me away. I guess you could call them England’s version of The Biscuits, but that doesn’t really do their sound justice. I almost felt like I was being brainwashed by the pure power of their sound and their samples (“I like chocolate…”) I would definitely say these guys were my favorite act of the weekend, behind The Biscuits of course. Much to my dismay, The Egg had to get off at some point. Fortunately 2020 Soundsystem played a great set as well and took my mind out of The Egg’s psychedelic vice grip. The highlight of this set for me was the guy behind me telling me I had an “awesome haircut” when I was wearing a hat. Notice the lack of “no homo.”
Another weekend, another great festival. I’ll definitely be going back next year. Everything went smoothly, there was almost too much good music, and I got complimented on my hair. What more could a guy ask for?