The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester is a venue that has earned itself a unique spot in the heart of American jam band culture. Being a regular stop for legends such as the Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa in the past, today the Cap continues its tradition of booking the cream of the progressive rock crop. The Disco Biscuits fit that roll exquisitely, and it showed this weekend during their back to back maximum capacity shows on March 25th and 26th. With the New Deal opening on both nights, the bill would provide a trance-fusion treat that no fan of the band or the venue could deny.
There was an anticipatory energy crackling through the Capitol as the New Deal started the evening smoothly. The unique blend of catchy and accessible electronic rock served as an excellent warm up as the crowd settled in; swelling to a size that would worry the fire marshal as the opening act concluded. Giving a salute to one of the many gods to grace the same stage, the Disco Biscuits kicked it off in style with Frank Zappa’s “Pygmy Twylyte.” Zappa can lubricate anyone’s mood, and the song clearly got it going perfectly as the crowd brimmed with positive energy. “Spraypaint” always being a pleaser, the set promised to be an uplifting one as bassist Marc Brownstein had everyone feeling mellow for the transition into “Rainbow Song”. Maintaining the upbeat theme immaculately, “Spectacle” was followed promptly by a thundering “Helicopters” introduction that had everyone singing along. The set concluded with keyboardist Aron Magner’s crushing organ outro for the set-closing end of “Spraypaint”.
Guitarist Jon Gutwillig greeted us warmly to start the second set, with his fingers even hotter for the incendiary riffs of “Mindless Dribble”. A few people mentioned that the “Crystal Ball” that followed seemed to have a less lively jump than usual, and the set seemed to have changed course from the first. The Biscuits opted for their more contemporary sound when continuing with “Highwire”. Never before heard cover “She’s a Bad Mama Jama”, originally by funk forerunner Carl Carlton, continued to bring the show to a less engaging air. Intertwining back into “Dribble”, drummer Allen Acoin provided a thundering drum solo before the band broke into a haunting “Orch Theme”. The conclusion of “Highwire” would conclude the second set, with encore frequent “Frog Legs” leaving everyone with high hopes for the following evening.
This wouldn’t just be one more Saturday night in Port Chester, however. Sold out yet again but feeling cooler and more breathable on the floor, the boys started the first set with a “Shem-Rah Boo” fake out which dubiously changed key into “Bernstein and Chasnoff”. The Disco Biscuits were clearly locked and loaded for the evening yet again, breaking out “Bombs” like they had something to prove. The inverted “Shelby Rose” filled us all with delight, and served as a perfect segue vessel into the true gem of the entire weekend, “And the Ladies Were the Rest of the Night”. Bringing it back to “Bernstein” before dismissing us to set break, where glowing faces abound chatted about the wholly satisfying experience we had all shared moments ago.
They set the bar almost impossibly high with the first set that night of the 26th, and it seemed they would continue to exceed expectations with the beginning of “Hope” swooning us comfortably into the final set of the run. An inverted “Above the Waves” washed over the crowd as the band nailed the immensely technical composition. “Mr. Don” followed suit, leaving the impression that the closing set would be chalk full of Biscuits classics. This was not so, unfortunately, as they surprised us by playing LCD Soundsystem cover “Home.” The choice seemed lazy and out of place that late in the run; the consensus seemed to be that we all would’ve much rather heard a song written by the band themselves this close to the conclusion of their maiden voyage at the Capitol. Ending the fourth and final set of the run, the boys brought the “Helicopters” that was started during the first set of the previous evening in for a landing. The Disco Biscuits waved triumphantly as they returned for the encore “Caves of the East” adding a hip hop twist with a sample from A Tribe Called Quest’s “Check the Rhime” in salute to the late MC of the group, Phife Dawg, who passed earlier this week. Ending lightly with the last measures of “Mr. Don”, Brownstein ended the weekend by hinting that we should expect to see them again soon on the very same stage.
All things considered, the Biscuits’ inaugural weekend at the legendary Capitol Theatre left the crowd flying high. Returning to our homes and hotels, with sleep came dreams of what may be just around the corner for the new alliance between the band and the theatre.
Encore: Frog Legs
- First time played
- With ‘Shem-Rah Boo’ teases
- Inverted version
- With “Check the Rhime” (A Tribe Called Quest) sample