Camp Bisco is a household name at this point. Just its mention can inspire mixed emotions; from love to disdain. After a long stint at Indian Lookout Point in Mariaville, NY, Bisconauts found a steep new home last year at the Montage Mountain Performing Arts Center in the “Electric City”, Scranton, PA. Returning July 14, 15, and 16 for the second round, Montage seemed to have a much better inclination towards the larger crowd that Bisco inevitably draws year after year.
Thurday, July 14 was pleasantly welcoming upon arrival compared to the tediousness of last year. The security lines moved much more quickly both on and off site, and the shuttle system ran smoothly. Once inside, campers had a plethora of events to choose from. Beginning promptly at 10AM, a yoga class at the Above the Waves stage kicked off the weekend’s bevy of Wellness programs. A Festival Fuel seminar followed at noon, a talk that gave information as to which food would best combine portability, nutrition, and ease of preparation; extremely useful for any frequent festival goer. It seemed that Bisco was aiming to make its patrons not only headier, but healthier, this time around.
Speaking of heady, Philadelphia based DJ Josh Wink set the bar high for all of the electronic acts that would follow with his 5PM set. With his career blossoming in the club scene of the late 80’s, Wink has been an internationally touring act for decades. Playing in front of a smaller crowd than he had in years was no deterrent for this old pro, and Wink had the crowd moving in a matter of measures. Dopapod hit the Above the Waves stage at 6:30PM, coming hot off their summer tour with an air of confidence. Opening with “Vol. 3 #86” and thundering right along into “Black and White”, the boys were in prime form as usual. “French Bowling” lead to a highly unexpected and face melting “Black Sabbath” tease. Fan favorite “Trapper Keeper” wrapped things up.
Lotus was on deck for the Electric City main stage at 8:30PM. Being the eve of the release of their new album, Eat the Light, the trance-fusion giants were in sync. They debuted a new track titled “Sleep When We Are Dead” off of the forthcoming album, and closed the set with “Bush Pilot”. Beginning right on time at 10:30PM, the fathers of Camp Bisco, the Disco Biscuits took the stage. “Triumph” launched the evening into orbit, followed by “Papercut”, which hadn’t been played in over five years. A whimsical cover of “Safety Dance” got everyone to look at their hands, and took us back into the end of “Papercut”. Without a single ending the entire set, the Biscuits jammed right into an Great Abyss, wherein they let the projection light show loose under the seemingly sailcloth pavilion, revealing a truly stunning addition to this year’s production value. “42” took us into the ending of “Nughuffer”, the jam between exploding off the stage like liquid hot shrapnel. Eager was the mood of the crowd, almost impatient to see the Biscuits’ next sets.
Bisco veterans Orchard Lounge kick started the Friday festivities on July 15 with some filthy deep house beats. Being their 9th appearance at the festival, the trio floored the crowd with a qualified style. Thundercat continued to electrify the main stage at 4PM with a sophisticated brand of jazz-fusion that only bassist Stephen Bruner can deliver. Lettuce ensued, though seemed lacking in the wake of such intense technical musicianship as the Thundercat brought. 7PM rang in the Disco Biscuits first set of the evening. Humidity wasn’t the only reason for a high moisture level, as guitarist Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig slid into the opening bars of “Jamilia” with a sensuality that made the ladies blush. “Park Ave.” completed the segment, as Bisco classic “Caterpillars” brought us into an inverted arrangement of “Mulberry’s Dream”. The band seemed to struggle through “Feeling Twisted”, as bassist Marc Brownstein took off his five string and clumsily muddled around on his less mastered instrument, the mini-synth. The conclusion of “Caterpillar” rounded out the set.