Fresh off live scoring The Fifth Element at The Caverns in Tennessee, The Disco Biscuits marched north to Port Chester for three nights at The Capitol Theatre over March 23-25, quite possibly their strongest run at the ‘Original Rock Palace,’ dating back to 2016.
Few bands display the consistency the Disco Biscuits have displayed as of late, going back nearly a year to their last Capitol Theatre run, which has been followed by more than a dozen original song debuts that have quickly become part of the rotation.
From the crowd, the band looks like they’re having a blast on stage, rocking out to the music they’re creating, feeding off their own creation just as the fans are, creating a live camaraderie that is rarely seen. From the stage, one can see the band is getting down while watching the fans do the same, all while creating live electronic music to an unmatched degree of quality, making it look like just another day at the office.
Typically, Thursday of a three-night Cap run has been more of a ‘‘warm up night,’ as the band gets comfortable in the room. The shows have been great, but have been overshadowed by stellar Friday and Saturday shows. This was not the case this weekend, given the way the band has been playing, as there was no warm up needed and Thursday was on par if not stronger than the next two nights.
Starting the run with a jam that evolved into an almost 20-minute “Gangster,” a “Spacebirdmatingcall” sandwiched “Cyclone” that found Jon “Barber” Gutwillig hitting next level peaks as the industrial techno beat took over. As the set reached the second half, two rarely played songs, “Trooper McCue” and “Floes” appeared, a double dose of early Biscuits, with the more recent “Lake Shore Drive” fitting in nicely in between.
A rarely played “Park Ave” made its third appearance since 2011, and second this year, opening up the second set, then dipping into an inverted “Shelby Rose” which was last performed inverted style at the Capitol Theatre in 2019. The flowing set continued with an inverted “Reactor” which found Barber taking a section for “a couple of laps” as bassist Marc Brownstein put it. The set would close with ”Evolve,” a 2021 composition that gives off a late 90s Eurodance vibe, segueing into a 20-minute set closing “Caterpillar.” With a short encore slot leftover, “Portal To An Empty Head” put a exclamation point on a night that to some was the highlight of the run, but if anything, simply foreshadowed the greatness of the next two nights that followed.
Setlists via Biscuits Internet Project 2.0
The Disco Biscuits – Thursday, March 23 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester
Set 1: Jam > Gangster > Spacebirdmatingcall > Cyclone > Spacebirdmatingcall, Trooper McCue, Lake Shore Drive > Floes
Set 2: Park Ave > Shelby Rose 1 > Reactor 1 > Evolve > Caterpillar
Encore: Portal To An Empty Head
Friday night featured opener Dogs in a Pile, a New Jersey band that was making waves prior to the pandemic and who have not looked back in that time, touring across the country and building a ‘Dog Pound’ fanbase in the meantime. The full set is worth a listen, especially the final tune, “Time Stands Still,” with Ben Pinnola on saxophone.
When it comes to the Disco Biscuits, anything can be a jam vehicle, nearly everything is in play – new songs, old songs, fan favorites, rare covers – and that is what makes the band so enjoyable to see show after show, no matter if you last saw them a week ago or five years ago.
Cracking open the first set was “Shocked,” which stands to be the first song from the band’s forthcoming “Space Rock Opera,” and had fans shouting “Shocked” as if the tune was a longtime part of the repertoire. A stand alone “Digital Buddha” followed, with the pace accelerated by Barber and drummer Allen Aucoin to a furious froth, giving unparalleled energy as the song reached its peak.
Among all new debuted songs, a clear fan favorite is “Twisted in the Road,” which would proceed to sandwich three songs in between a “Twisted” 22 minute jawn, with lyrics “Let it run and let it roll” becoming a mantra for Biscuits fans in the process. “Bombs” made a return appearance at The Capitol Theatre (played in 2017 and 2019) after being brought off the shelf by fan request at a Drive-In show in May 2021. “Orch Theme,” the ever-welcome dark electronic Conspirator song arrived out of “Bombs,” bringing the rare “Rainbow Song” from the ashes of “Orch Theme,” before winding back into “Twisted in the Road” to close the set and reach the halfway point of the run.
Set 2 began with the fresh “Freeze” that ran for nearly 25 minutes and exemplified one of the best elements of the Disco Biscuits – you can easily forget what song you’re dancing to, and happily so. In the moment, it doesn’t matter what song it is when they’re jamming at this level of consistency, making song chasing secondary to enjoying these jams more than ever before. Anything is in play with improvisation opportunities found at all turns.
The middle section of “Crickets” gave way to “Another Plan of Attack” and “Space Train,” and then an inverted “Above The Waves” that clocked in at a raging 20 minutes. “One Chance To Save The World” closed the set with “King of the World” celebrating this powerful set in the encore slot.
Setlists via Biscuits Internet Project 2.0
The Disco Biscuits – Friday, March 24 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester
Set 1: Shocked, Digital Buddha, Twisted in the Road > Bombs > Orch Theme > Rainbow Song > Twisted in the Road
Set 2: Freeze > Crickets 1 > Another Plan of Attack > Space Train > Above The Waves 2 > One Chance To Save The World
Encore: King of the World
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Opening Saturday night was Eggy, who has been on the rise as of late and had recently opened for Twiddle at The Capitol Theatre in November 2022. This remarkable Connecticut band has excellent stage presence and precision jamming, with Jerry Garcia Band’s “Gomorrah” a fitting cover for the room.
The Biscuits’ first set opened up with stand alone versions of “Story of the World” and “Astronaut,” a departure from the sandwiching of other tunes inside segments of these compositions. A classic “Little Shimmy In A Conga Line” had a percussion segment that was unique and fit the jam well, and may have been exploring a shift into “O Fortuna” (a cantata by Carl Orff), from the Biscuits’ catalog of classical covers. Shortly after, “Shimmy” started to give off “Digital Buddha,” but having already played “Buddha” the night before, this meant the audio doppleganger for “Buddha” – “Tricycle” – was on the horizon.
The last two minutes of “Shimmy” made it seem as though the band would be dipping into one of their most high energy songs for a segue. Then out of left field came a short, sweet and nasty “Tempest” that provided a bridge to the full on “Tricycle,” which had the crowd singing along in unison like no other in recent memory, the four fully dialed in for this fusion of sound and bringing the audience along with them for the ride. The newer “Vibes” hit the spot out of “Tricycle” and found its way into the ending of “Svenghali” to close the set on a high mark.
The first set had so much energy and hit all the right spots, contending quickly for ‘Set of the Weekend.’ The general consensus at setbreak gave no notes, no criticisms and no hot takes other than ‘these guys are on fire.”
Sorry if that sounds like hyperbole, but the dedicated fan base is in agreement that the band is as dialed in and consistent as they’ve ever been. So when it came time for Set 2, the crowd was abuzz as the setlist was confirmed to be written by longtime Biscuits audio engineer Rich Steele, celebrating his 300th show this evening. The set unfolded as a dissection of one of the Biscuits’ earliest songs, “Basis For a Day” spread out over the 90 minute set with four of the newer ‘Space Opera’ songs woven in between, leading fans to coin the fluid set “Spaces for a Day.“
If you hadn’t heard “Basis For a Day” in a minute, you were in for a treat. The band opened up with “Basis,” segueing into “The Wormhole” before finding their way back to “Basis.” Despite only debuting nine months ago, “Who’s In Charge” has found its home in regular rotation and followed the second “Basis,” with a driving beat behind Barber’s repeated query “Who’s in charge….. of this place right here?” From there, it was back into “Basis” for round 3, followed by “The Deal,” a song so new it had only been played three times prior to this evening. Back into “Basis” and then “To Be Continued,” with a new wave/techno riff from Aron Magner, seeming to be a song towards the end of the Space Opera. By the time they went back into “Basis” for a final time, nearly 90 minutes had passed but fans didn’t notice as they were far too busy getting down.
You couldn’t find a stronger way to cap the run with a set of this nature, where knowledge of the band’s collective level of consistency in performance and songwriting was put high on a pedestal for all to see. Weaving the band’s unnamed/unreleased “Space Opera” in and out of one of their most performed songs was a master stroke and paid dividends for everyone in attendance. A fitting encore of “We Like To Party” framed the three night run, with the band and fans in unison proclaiming enthusiastically, loudly and proudly, “We like to dance, sorry if you don’t.”
Don’t sleep on the Disco Biscuits – they’re in Colorado this coming weekend for four shows, head down south for four more in May before heading to Iceland for their first international jaunt in well over a decade. Tour dates for the summer have just been announced, which find the band touring up the east coast in June for eight shows, starting in South Carolina on June 7 and closing out with two nights at Mulcahey’s in Wantagh. Here’s hoping for more details on the upcoming “Space Opera” as the year progresses.
Setlists via Biscuits Internet Project 2.0
The Disco Biscuits – Saturday, March 25 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester
Set 1: Story of the World, Astronaut, Little Shimmy In A Conga Line > Tempest > Tricycle > Vibes > Svenghali 1
Set 2: Basis For A Day > The Wormhole > Basis For A Day > Who’s in Charge > Basis For A Day > The Deal > Basis For A Day > To Be Continued > Basis For A Day
Encore: We Like To Party
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Photos by Filip Zalewski
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