In Focus: Disco Biscuits wrap up first part of Fall Tour at State Fairgrounds in Syracuse

photos by Josh Davis

The Disco Biscuits returned to Syracuse for two nights, their first run in the Salt City since Halloween 2015. The masters of live electronica and improvisation performed four flawless sets to enthusiastic crowds at SI Hall at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse on November 22 and 23.

On Friday, following an energetic “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.” opener, guitarist Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig stretched the intro to “Run Like Hell” out for an extended period before a triumphant burst into the Pink Floyd cover, then took the long route into an inverted “Aquatic Ape.” A full “Hot Air Balloon” closed the five song set, one of the few this tour to feature no new material that the band has been breaking out.

Set 2 opened with a pair of ‘global’ tunes, “Jigsaw Earth” and “Story of the World,” the latter of which sandwiched the remained of the set. “Anthem” and “Rocket Science,” two new originals debuted this tour, filled the sandwich, with an “Orch Theme” meshed in between. With the clock ticking, Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance” served as an encore, with the show ending right at 11pm. A sweaty and smiling crowd rejoiced at one of the finest nights of the tour thus far.

Friday, November 22 setlist via PhantasyTour:

Set 1: M.E.M.P.H.I.S. > Run Like Hell1 > Aquatic Ape2 > Svenghali3, Hot Air Balloon

Set 2: Jigsaw Earth, Story Of The World > Anthem > Orch Theme > Rocket Science > Story Of The World

Encore: The Safety Dance

  1. unfinished
  2. inverted version
  3. ending only

The Biscuits’ Saturday performance featured a pair of new songs, a Tractorbeam jam, and one of the best sets from the eight fall shows thus far. Two songs, “Mulberry’s Dream” and “Crickets,” were each interpolated with “Catalyst” and recent debut “4th of July,” respectively. In between these two combos found another new tune, “Electric Slinky,” part of a potential series of ‘Slinky’ songs, including “Freebis Slinky.”

Set 2 was filled with pure heat from start to finish. The four song set featured three roughly-15 minute jams, and one monster jam that went past the half hour mark. Opening with “Clocks,” a debut from earlier this year, the band ventured into “Gangster” which was met with cheers and fist pumps from the audience. What came next was one of the longest jams of the tour (thus far) and the highlight of the weekend. A 30+ minute “Spacebirdmatingcall” featured a Tractorbeam jam on Crackazat’s “Fly Away,” which draws on Earth Wind & Fire’s “I’ve Had Enough” and seemed to never let up as the band dove deep and kept exploring what the jam had to offer. “Little Shimmy in a Conga Line” wrapped up the set nicely, and a pairing of “Frog Legs” and the ending section of “Run Like Hell” from the previous night’s version cemented the night as one of the best of the tour. Setbreak is indeed over.

The Disco Biscuits head south to Florida for four shows in mid-December, then return to New York City where they will close out the year in Times Square at the Playstation Theater, which will close on December 31st following their performance.

Saturday, November 23 setlist via PhantasyTour:

Set 1: Mulberry’s Dream > Catalyst > Mulberry’s Dream, Electric Slinky, Crickets > 4th of July > Crickets

Set 2: Clocks > Gangster > Spacebirdmatingcall > Tractorbeam Jam1 > Spacebirdmatingcall, Little Shimmy In A Conga Line

Encore: Frog Legs > Run Like Hell2

  1. Fly Away (Crackazat)
  2. ending only; completes 11/22/19 version