On a chilly New England night in Worcester, Massachusetts, Disco Biscuits fans gathered at the famous Worcester Palladium for the group’s first run of fall tour. The room was nearly filled up by the time the band took the stage and people were ready to dance their butts off to get warmed up.
To open up the first set, the group started into “Uber Glue,” an ambient, synth-driven song that, like most Biscuits songs, acts as a great jumping off point for jams. The band wasted no time getting this rendition started, jamming on the tune for well over 20 minutes before building the groove into the beloved “Caterpillar,” which took the energy from “Uber Glue”’s jam and launched into the song’s first verses. Bassist Marc Brownstein and drummer Allen Aucoin kept the groove locked in as guitarist Jon “Barber” Gutwillig and keyboardist Aron Magner led the song’s chorus, joined by the crowd singing the lyrics passionately and dancing their butts off. Following the chorus, the group spent some time building an upbeat techno groove that brought the song into Brownstein’s first vocal effort of the night, “Miracles.” The jam in “Miracles” showed off the band’s ability to work as a unit as they brought the techno jam they had built into an ambient, almost soundscape-like section introduced by Magner and Brownie.
The group let the soundscape breathe a bit before dropping into the darker “Air Song,” which blew through the lyrics fairly quickly and led them immediately into a funk jam, mostly led by Magner on a Clavinet sounding patch. The jam didn’t really leave the song’s main structure, acting more as a platform for Barber and Magner to build off of, before the group brought it back into “Miracles,” starting off the second half of the first set sandwich. The group continued through the song’s verse and chorus sections until they broke into a dark fast-paced jam that featured the first big peak of the night, and brought the song back into the set opener “Uber Glue,” before dropping into the last verse of “Caterpillar.” The energy from “Miracles > Uber Glue” culminated in one last passionate chorus section of “Caterpillar,” before the group ended the set for a short set break. During the set break, Brownie tweeted out the fact that 75% of the songs in set 1 were songs written during the current Allen era of the band, saying “…let’s see if that trend continues into the second set!!!!”
“Rivers” kicked off the second set, getting into a Barber-led jam after the lyrics had been sung. The whole group was very active in bringing the song into an up-tempo peak before slowly ending the song with one of the main riffs. Following “Rivers” was the segment of the night, “Catalyst > Great Abyss > Boomshanker > Mr. Don,” which was filled with deep jamming and seamless transitions. “Catalyst” came out swinging, Barber following a very up tempo composed section with a high energy solo on his green Stratocaster aptly named “Money Bags.” “Catalyst”’s jam section spanned over nearly 30 minutes and was an exemplary musical representation of what the Biscuits are all about, letting a jam develop naturally and working together to bring it new places. Barber led the song into a another grand peak with another energetic solo before the group brought the jam into uncharted territory and started exploring.
Brownie, Magner, and Barber locked in on a riff that ended up being the basis for a good chunk of the jam before Brownie started driving the bus into “The Great Abyss,” a very synth heavy song that was also released during the Allen era of the band. “Great Abyss” also featured a lot of experimenting from Brownie and Magner, while Barber added textural shredding that made the jam feel extremely tense at points. Out of nowhere the group dropped into the dub reggae-esque tune “Boomshanker,” which featured a laid back synth bass line from Brownie while Barber and Magner layered textures together to add to the reggae sound. The jam was fairly straightforward, never really leaving the bounds of the main song itself. Towards the end of the jam, Magner started playing around with some organ sounds which lifted the song into the fan favorite “Mr. Don,” which lifted the tempo up a bit after “Boomshanker.” During the whole of “Mr. Don,” Barber had a smile plastered on his face, showing that he could tell they had just performed an incredible set. Following the main portion of the song, Barber took an enormous solo that was supported by the driving force of the band behind them, and led the song into a quick peak before ending the set. For an encore, the group performed the Brownstein-penned “Portal to an Empty Head.”
The Disco Biscuits performed a fantastic show in Worcester, MA, and will hopefully be back next October to continue the trend of awesome shows at the Palladium. They perform at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas November 1-3, and at The Palace Theatre in Albany November 23-24, where Albany jamband Formula 5 will open up the night on the 23rd. Check out the photo gallery below for a taste of the first night of the run.
Disco Biscuits, Worcester, MA, October 20, 2018
Set 1: Uber Glue > Caterpillar > Miracles > Air Song > Miracles > Uber Glue > Caterpillar
Set 2: Rivers, Catalyst > The Great Abyss > Boomshanker > Mr. Don
Encore: Portal to an Empty Head
Photos by ATS Media