The Disco Biscuits’ Feed the Rocks: “Burn, baby, burn. Bisco Inferno!”
Colorado has long been envied for being perpetually showered with thousands of amazing performances and collaborations from some truly talented artists every year, and after two long years without, fans traveled across the country for the second time this year for another exceptional weekend of Feed the Rocks with Philadelphia’s own jam legends – The Disco Biscuits.
“I’ve spent more time in Colorado in 2013 than I have at home in Philadelphia. It just feels like home…” – Marc Brownstein, Boulder 4/26/2013
The second three-night run in Colorado of 2013, known as Feed the Rocks, was an unexpected, but very welcome, occurrence. For years the Biscuits have made it known that Colorado is one of their favorite places to play, not only because of the stunning landscapes and healing mountains, but because of the love and pure enthusiasm for the music. This particular run began at the famous Boulder Theater. Before departing Denver to begin our three-day journey, we could feel the energy and excitement of the fans and the music to come, flowing down the mountains in a rush of other-worldly excitement. The theater was electric with fans reuniting and their love for the band and the family they’ve formed.
Thursday 4/25/2013: The Biscuits came on promptly at 9:45pm with an epic “Plan B” opener – a nice surprise for those who know the Biscuits well. The first set began with pure joy just to hear our boys playing again, but looking back, the set seemed a little wonky and sounded like a new house/club version of our beloved Biscuits. It seemed like the band was ready to party as much as we were and sent that vibe straight through the music.
The night continued with high-energy jams and somewhat flawless transitions. The second set opener, “Little Lai,” is one of my personal favorites as it was the first song played at my very first Disco Biscuits show years ago at the 9:30 Club in D.C. Nostalgia and the genuine exhilaration I felt during that very first show kicked in and my smile was fixed for the entirety of the show.
More classics filled the second set with memories of classic Biscuits – “King if the World,” “Abraxas,” “Story of the World,” and then a true surprise “Barfly” – one of the oldest songs played during the run (played 39.5 times in 1998) was a unexpected addition to the second set, as most young Biscuits fans stood swaying in confusion, wondering what song was being covered. The perplexity mostly stemmed from our inability to hear the lyrics clearly, except for the occasional mumblings of “I like to drink, that’s what I do.” Nonetheless, it was great to hear something new (per se) at a Biscuits show. The first nights’ encore included “Home Again” and “Helicopters” and was a high-energy, exciting end to the first night. We left the show with a slightly strange feeling – the Biscuits had just played an extraordinarily interesting show, to say the least, but we had no idea what we were in for.
Friday 4/26/2013: The second night in Boulder held an entirely different vibe than the first. A flame of passion had been lit and we were all ready for the Biscuits to REALLY throw down, like they’ve been known to do. Everyone was looking dapper, dressed to the T in their finest custom Biscuits gear (like custom Kurious Koncepts hoods) and disco-appropriate attire. Morale was high and there was no doubt that we were among family— everyone out for the same common goal, with the same epic love for the untamed, transforming jams that have the power to transcend us to a higher level of musical understanding and pure enjoyment. That night was ours and we were ready to soak up some more musical magic. After all, this show couldn’t possibly be weirder than the first night and as fans who know their band, we expected big things.
The Disco Biscuits have the strongest connection to their fans that I’ve ever witnessed first-hand. Not only do they personally respond to requests, messages, thank you’s, heartfeltoutpourings, and dedications to fans that have recently passed on, but they always know exactly what we want and they’ll eventually deliver, but not without teasing and making us want it more than ever.
The night started off strong and loud with an old-school favorite, “Trucker’s Choice,” and you could hear the repeated line “we just came for the chicks” echoing from fans and the band alike all throughout downtown Boulder. I had the chills and a feeling that tonight would be very different.
The set just continued to please from that point on, with the Biscuits playing songs we haven’t heard (especially all in one show) in quite some time. “Kamaole Sands,” “Svenghali,” “Aquatic Ape,” “Reactor,” and “Bazaar Escape” were all filling additions to the setlist that just blew us all away. Not only were these classics played with an overwhelming energetic love of the music that you could feel pumping through your veins, they were played surprisingly well.
“Reactor” was one of my favorite songs played on Friday night. Not only did it sandwich the entire second set perfectly, it rounded out the whole sound and vibe of the evening. The song inspires a rowdy sing-along every time it’s played and, by finishing the song at the end of the set, our spirits were rejuvenated after the intense, spacey jams the Biscuits allow us to drift off into. It speaks to the true fans and highlights our energy and refusal to let go of our beloved Biscuits. “Nowhere to kick us out. You’ve got the meaning all confused. Break down the core reactor. Blown all to pieces for the new.”
Allen Aucoin was a rock all weekend and held the beat with a solid force to be reckoned with. Marc Brownstein, rocking his brand new Brownie “BASS” fitted from Grassroots California, kept the baseline funky and strong and clearly enjoyed himself, and especially thrived with the fans reactions. Barbershreds lived up to his preferred name and carried every song beyond the norm, adding his own wild, untamable flair. And last, but certainly not least, Aron Magner impressed me beyond his usual notable performance by adding undeniable new depths to the already complex progressions, making a band of 4 sound like 42.
Saturday 4/27/2013: After two breathtaking shows in Boulder, we find ourselves once again sitting on a mountaintop, fifteen miles above the city awaiting another stunning performance from the Disco Biscuits. It has been two years since the Biscuits last visit to Red Rocks Amphitheater, but Colorado has quickly become their home away from home. The weather could not have been more epic for a day on the Rocks; it was like summer for a day.
This Earth Day event was constructed by People Helping People, LLC to benefit the Denver Parks and Recreation. They brought together RJD2, Shpongle, and The Disco Biscuits for this very special performance. It resembled the Bisco Inferno events previously held at Red Rocks and was presented similarly, which appealed greatly to those who have attended in the past.
RJD2 and Shpongle both played thrilling daytime sets and as fans, dressed in their outrageous, colorful attire (myself, in a fleece giraffe onesie), trickled into the amphitheater, the excitement grew. The Biscuits began their set like any other, but the acoustics aided their sound in a way that surpassed any theater performance. Appropriately, their opening song was “Spectacle”– one of the most positive and lyrically stunning songs Jon “Barbershreds” Gutwillig has ever written. “Spectacles and roundabouts and details afterwards,/You’re gonna get it all today.”
The evening just escalated from there with “42,” “Rockafella,” “Aceetobee,” “Tricycle,” and just when I was about to burst with overwhelming elation, I hear a joyful noise echoing among therocks. “Burn, baby, burn. Bisco inferno!” It was a rowdy cover of “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps. And as we sang along enthusiastically, we heard yet another surprising, joyful noise: melodic saxophone from Big
Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli. This epic cover was the highlight of my Red Rocks experience and invoked a serious question: why in the world have The Biscuits never covered this before? It was both epic and appropriate and was a delightful treat to follow the hearty helping of Biscuits that weekend.
The Disco Biscuits have taken us on one the most wild, unexpected roller coasters of emotion throughout their career and even though I think it’s impossible for anyone to ever have a bad time at a Biscuits show, I have to say that Feed the Rocks was one of the most satisfying runs I have ever witnessed. Not only was the band overall very impressive, the fans made the experience truly one for the books. The family that has been formed simply from like-minded people getting down to sweet jams that not all are able to grasp is one that is truly connected. The family that jams together will jam forever.
One final note: the light shows and lasers were spectacular. That is all.
To give you a more rounded-out view, I asked a few of The Disco Biscuits die hard fans what they thought of the weekend overall. Here’s what the had to say:
“Never would have thought 9 months ago I would have been seeing the biscuits in CO 7 times since I have moved out here. This weekend was perfection– the music was great, the light shows were exceptionally on point, and most of all, the biscuits have given me the most amazing friends anyone could ask for!” – Katie Keciorius
“Thursday highlights: Seeing familiar faces. Friday highlights: Seeing my favorite band play a ripping show. Saturday highlights: Seeing all those familiar faces with my favorite band play a ripping show.” – Ryan Garvey
“Red rocks being my 114th time seeing The Disco Biscuits, this run was the most professional performance I’ve ever seen by them. They were all in tune with each other and there was nothing but smiles all weekend! I’d like to thank all the wonderful fans and of course the band for bring such excitement into all of our lives! DBF!” – Chris St. John
COMPLETE SET LISTS
Set 1: Plan B, Voices Insane > Bernstein & Chasnoff 1 > Little Betty Boop2 > Caterpillar 3 > Voices Insane
Set 2: Little Lai, King of the World 3 > Abraxas1 > Story of the World, Barfly, Shelby Rose, Mr. Don
E: Home Again3 > Helicopters
1 Inverted 2 middle section only 3 unfinished
April 26, 2013 – Boulder Theater – Boulder CO
Set 1: Trucker’s Choice, Kamaole Sands > Hot Air Balloon1 > Confrontation2 > Svenghali3 4 > Aquatic Ape 3
E: Mulberry’s Dream
1 unfinished 2 inverted 3 ending only 4 w/ ‘Save The Robots’ teases
April 27, 2013 – Red Rocks Amphiteater – Morrison, CO
Feed The Rocks – other acts include Mlima, RJD2 and Shpongle
Set 1: Spectacle > Astronaut > Shem-Rah-Boo1 2 > 42 3, Rockafella, Morph Dusseldorf 4
Set 2: 42 3 > Lunar Pursuit > Aceetobee > Tricycle 4 > Disco Inferno 4 5, Hope,Once the Fiddler Paid
E: And the Ladies Were the Rest of the Night
1 w/ Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic on drums 2 unfinished 3 Dyslexic version 4 w/ Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic 5 first time played by The Trammps
Photos by Teresa “Tee Tay” Taylor of Proper Perceptions. Some 4/27 photos taken by Katie Keciorius of Kurious Koncepts.