After putting the run on hold last year, The Disco Biscuits revamped City Bisco this summer and relocated to the biggest and brightest city of them all, New York City. On April 18 and 19 the band performed at Irving Plaza in downtown Manhattan, playing back to back heaters that included fan favorites “Therapy,” “Confrontation,” and “Kitchen Mitts.” Friday the 19th also saw the band debuting a new original, “The Champions.” Switching locations but losing no momentum, the Disco Biscuits moved the party to the new Ford Amphitheater on the Coney Island Boardwalk for the final night of the run, Saturday August 20.
It was an interesting scene, seeing Disco Biscuits heads mingle among the usual weekend patrons of Coney Island. Roller coasters whipping past, the wafting smell of the salt water battling for dominance with the odor of the famous boardwalk hot dog, and good ol’ White Castle Express. It reminds you of a time past, but the New York City energy is still unmistakably crackling up and down the worn boards just as much as in the asphalt a few boroughs away. The Ford Amphitheater opened its doors at 6PM, revealing state of the art facilities and high quality monitors flanking the stage.
The Hungry March Band provided a nice introduction for the Biscuits, with members of the headlining act slowly joining as the March proceeded into a familiar melody. Both acts broke into “Spectacle,” and as the Biscuits began to take over the groove the Hungry Marchers exited stage left. Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig seemed to have some intonation issues during the opener, stopping abruptly to re-tune during the noodley 11/8 time section. He wasted no time getting his mojo right back in line however, as his solo during “¿Donde?” melted more than a few faces. The song was extremely put together considering the last time they played it live was September of 2010. Keyboardist Aron Magner provided a surreal acoustic piano introduction for a stunningly tight “The Very Moon,” which gave way to an absolutely raging “Tempest.” The segment transitioned into a flawless inverted “Digital Buddha,” continuing seamlessly into the funk section of “The Very Moon.” Seguing into the end of “And the Ladies Were the Rest of the Night” would complete the unfinished version from the previous evening, as well as bring the set to a dramatic close.
The Biscuits chose the Beastie Boys classic “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” as a perfectly apt opener for the second set, giving a nod to the Hip Hop titans as well as the location of the evening’s show. Having only played it out one other time in October of 2009, bassist Marc Brownstein seemed positively giddy to play an anthem from one of his childhood influences. “Run Like Hell” provided back to back covers for the last set of City Bisco. Without a single standalone song the entire set, the boys seemed to get into the pocket and stay there for a few songs after “Run Like Hell,” playing off of each other effortlessly but effectively. “Cyclone” seemed an obvious choice considering the name of the local minor league baseball team who’s stadium was about a quarter mile down the board walk and was a complete shredder.
Allen Aucoin’s drum rolls were so pristine that it actually hurt a little. An inverted version of “Crickets” got everyone on their feet, but an inverted “Aquatic Ape” sort of quelled the vibrations building from the previous jams. Some thought it was a strange choice considering the previous and forthcoming compositions: the end of “Bernstein and Chasnoff” seemed to lack following such a down tempo diddly. Coming back out for the encore with “Highwire” was sort of a slap in the face for some fans after a weekend of song choices that left us on our toes; “Highwire” being the epitome of the opposite concept.
After yet another weekend of unexpected bust outs and crazy set list arrangements, Bisconauts both tenured and amateur have a lot to look forward to. The Biscuits have proved that they’re back on the right track, 2016 seeming their comeback year. They’ll be headlining this upcoming Saturday, August 27 at Imagine Festival in Atlanta, as well as two nights in September at the Great North festival in Maine. This should give curious jam fans plenty of time to relax with the Disco Biscuits. And remember…they nasty, but they good.