Camp Bisco 12
The sun is slowly making its way into an overcast sky, mist slowly rises off the sacred ground below. Headlights line the roads for as far as you can see, they are at a stand-still, waiting. You can hear the excitement amongst the anxious voices that surround you, everyone is exhausted yet nobody seems able to sleep. Empty beer cans and cigarette butts are scattered along-side the thousands of cars in line. At this point it's 6 a.m. and most people have been waiting for over 6 hours. Cars slowly inch their way forward, barely moving at the pace of a turtle. But why are there thousands of people here? Why are they lined along these back-roads in upstate New York? What are they waiting for?
Yes, there is an answer to these questions and if you're reading this, I'd imagine that you already know it.
I've been in attendance for the past three years and this year was no different. Little did I know how different this year would really be. This year was the best and worst Camp Bisco that I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. It definitely did not have the same vibe as the first year I stepped foot onto the sacred ground of ILCC, which was in 2010. I knew this year was going to be special, for some reason I felt it in my heart as I was packing up my festival gear. My friend who drove up from our hometown of Warwick, NY didn't get off work until 10 p.m. so unfortunately we got a late start. Once we reached the line we knew we were screwed. I was on the phone with the rest of my crew and figured out that they were approximately 3 miles ahead of us. In 'waiting in the camp bisco line' terms that translated to about 6 hours +, my two friends and I did not want to wait 6 more hours. We had to make a decision, a tough moral decision at that; Do we wait in line for 6 more hours and not camp with our crew? or Do we drive 3 miles in the opposite lane, cutting thousands of cars filled with patrons just like us? My friend called again, "Yo man we're about to make the turn onto the main road to the gate, it's now or never". We didn't wait a minute longer, I told my friend to gun it and make sure not to run anyone over or crash, looking back I laugh while feeling like a total asshole. We were flying past cars on our right, along with people carrying coolers and camping gear toward the front of the line. My phone rings again, "Yo I'm in the road waving my arms, can you see me yet!?". At this point we were driving pretty fast with our fingers crossed that we don't see a police car, people were yelling some nasty things at us and I don't blame them. Let me dedicate this next sentence to anyone that I cut in line, I am truly sorry and hope it didn't ruin your Camp Bisco. With that being said, we went speeding over a hill to see my friend waving his arms in the distance, my ten car crew had left a space for us to pull right back into the line. We cut out about 6 hours of waiting doing so, I was so grateful at that moment. I wasn't even through the gates yet and my emotions were flying high. Once they put that wristband on me (it wasn't red again!) I had a sudden burst of energy. The kind staff searched our ten car party and found nothing, we pulled into our site and quickly setup. By this time, it was about 7 a.m. and everyone was exhausted, some slept while others (like myself) flipped through the festival guide circling the artists that I planned on seeing in the upcoming hours that followed.
Most of my crew were awake by noon, we filled our camelbacks and loaded up on party favors, our day was about to start. Because of the new setup (that was horrible) this year took a little bit getting used to but no matter how many times I went through them, I couldn't get used to the absurd amount of security checkpoints and irrational security. I understand that the festival has to do what they have to do but it just didn't feel like Camp Bisco, until the music started, that is. Unfortunately I missed Twiddle, I always enjoy them, they're a good band. The first artist I got to see was Cherub, I've had the pleasure of seeing them a few times and they're always fun. My good friend, John is also pretty close to them so it's not rare for their music to be in rotation in my group of friends. This year was big for them, they got a main stage set and special guest David Murphy of STS9 joined them on stage for their last songs. From Cherub I navigated myself to the B.I.G. tent to catch the UK duo, Koan Sound. They were everything I expected them to be, the tent quickly turned to a mud-pit as the crowd danced harder with every drop. I actually witnessed an individual rolling around in the mud, he looked like he was having a blast so I let him be. After that heavy dub throw-down I needed something that I could chill and vibe to, Umphrey's McGee was exactly that. It was my first time seeing them and was disappointed I was unable to see their light-show because of an early set. They were playing well but once the members of The Disco Biscuits joined them on stage, everybody went crazy! Playing a joint rendition of 'Home Again' there were smiles as far as the eye could see. It was a good set but still not quite what I was looking for. On the opposite stage STS9 began playing, I've seen them a good amount of times, I feel like it's hit or miss with them now-a-days. Again they played a good, solid set; brought out the horns, Murph was rockin', the visuals were cool. They played some of their classics along with songs off their newer album. Once they finished their set, everyone re-focused their attention to the stage that Umphrey's was on, The Disco Biscuits were about to take the stage. The moment I was waiting for since their three sets on NYE in NYC. They took the stage and the crowd erupted, biscuit-heads from all over the country, all in one place, for one band. They opened with their classic 7/11 and we all cheered, Barber yelled the lyrics into the microphone "I'm gonna go out and jam, i'm gonna go out and party, I got a brand new mission, so bring your ass to the party". And that is exactly what every single person in that crowd did. We all brought our ass to the party that night. Their set left everyone yearning for more, if we only knew what the next day would bring. After the Disco Biscuits I went back to my campsite, I was so exhausted from the night before that I actually passed out and missed the late-nights which is extremely rare for me. I didn't let that happen again for the rest of the weekend, I told myself I'd see the sunrise the next two nights and I did.
I woke up well-rested and ready to party and party is what I did. I hung back at the campsite with my crew for most of the day and was pretty lit by the time that the Biscuits came on for their first set. They played incredible, they all looked so happy, this was their time. This set included classics like 42, Helicopters and House Dog Party Favor. I'm actually listening to the specific set as I write this, it truly was an amazing performance and portrayal of the bands' musical ability. The Disco Biscuits Friday sets were truly bliss, I ran into so many great friends and everyone was so happy.
Most fans of The Disco Biscuits hate on Bassnectar, I'm not one of them. Bassnectar threw down the best set I've ever seen him throw down in my life and easily the best he's ever played at Camp Bisco. It was absolutely massive and there were no technical difficulties, anybody who has been to Camp the past few years knows about Nectar and his Camp Bisco curse. No sign of the curse this year though, as me and my crew piled in between the sound towers, we were ready. I was surrounded by BNF and as somebody who reps the Biscuits I still felt right at home. His set was full of throwbacks from 2010, I really enjoyed it. Bassnectar isn't just a musical show, it's a full experience, he truly brings your mind and senses on an adventure.
After his set most of my crew went back to our site, I did as well, just to fill my camelback, I ran straight back to catch the last Biscuits set of the night. Bassnectar and the Disco Biscuits had planned on doing a multi-stage mix of 'Killing In The Name Of', Bass ended with it and the Biscuits started with it. It didn't really work out haha. This set included an amazing Great Abyss along with Spacebirdmatingcall and Lunar Pursuit. By that time of the night I was feeling good, real good. The Biscuits were done playing, there was still a whole night ahead of us. Alot of the people I was with wanted to check out Destroid and I don't know if anything could've prepared me for that experience. Upon entering the B.I.G. tent I spent a few minutes laughing hysterically at the numerous people slipping and falling in the mud. Inside that tent, I literally felt like I was on another planet, a planet filled with aliens and mud. I had to put in ear-plugs because of how loud the bass was, probably the heaviest music I've witnessed since I was in the hardcore music scene at age 16.
After that very odd yet unique experience, Lotus was exactly what my body and soul needed. Opening with a fifteen-minute Flower Sermon, it was the best Lotus set that I've had the pleasure of groovin' to. Jessie Miller of Lotus had the quote of the night, "You see this (holds up his guitar) this is what we used to call an axe, to chop away all that bullshit and play real music". All of the Lotus fans went crazy after that, the band did as well. Even with some technical difficulties in the midst of their set (the lighting director of Baauer unplugging the wrong chord) they remained tight. Mike Greenfield and Chuck Morris performed a tremendous on-the-spot percussion solo. One that I will not forget anytime soon. The solo not only saved the bands' night but it proved to me that Lotus is one of the best jamtronica bands in the scene. They brought the ideal late-night set to the patrons of Camp Bisco; They made Lotus fans proud to be Lotus fans.
A lot of people joined the masses exiting the concert area, some headed back to their campsites while others rushed to get headphones at the silent disco. My friends and I headed straight to the silent disco, one of my favorite attributes at a music festival. By the time we arrived Gramatik's side project 'Exmag' was finishing up, I would have loved to catch their set. We went there to catch one act specifically, Schlang. For those of you who don't know who or what 'Schlang' is, I'll explain. Schlang is a project put together by two amazingly talented producers, Space Jesus and Supersillyus. They got the sunrise set, one of the best slots you can get at a festival. I had never seen Schlang, I honestly didn't know what to expect. Their set truly blew my mind, it was somewhat like an experience put on by the great Simon Posford. The visuals at the silent disco stage were a huge step up from the past couple of years I've been at camp. As the sun slowly made its way into the overcast sky, raindrops began to fall, it was truly a magical experience. In my humble opinion, It was one of the best sets of the weekend. If you enjoy Shpongle or Ott then you should definitely check out Schlang. In the words of Space Jesus, "Lets get trippy ya'll". My mind was officially blown after that set, it was 6 a.m. and we walked back to our campsite as raindrops fell above us. None of us could sleep so we spoke about all the amazing sets we had seen that day, what a spectacular array of live music.
The third and final day of Camp Bisco 12 was definitely a strange day. I had seen fist-fights break out, tents get slashed and my friend's back-windshield got shattered, for no reason. Once the third day rolled around I was starting to have mixed emotions about my favorite festival, Camp Bisco. There was still a whole day left of music so my crew and I insisted to each other that we had to make the best of it. We cooked up some food and started drinking, laughter filled the air and smiles were everywhere. My friend walked up to our site with some bad news, "The main-stage is sinking so they cancelled music until further notice". I spent most of the day meeting new people and bouncing around the vendors, until the Disco Biscuits came on. The Disco Biscuits played one of the most amazing day sets that I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of. They played a couple of my favorite songs; Svengali, Magellan and Strobelights & Martinis to name a few. To many biscuit-heads this was the best set of the weekend, it left everyone craving for the next two sets, wondering what they were going to break out. Unfortunately because of the main-stage fiasco I missed out on a few sets that I really would've loved to see, Break Science being the main one. The biscuits had a few more tricks up their sleeves, they had everyone moving during their second set of the day. My favorite jam of the weekend was played during the second set on Sunday; Story Of The World> Rock Candy> Tricycle > Orch Theme> Story Of The World. Along with this set having my favorite segment of the weekend they also opened with M.E.M.P.H.I.S. and everyone loves a M.E.M.P.H.I.S. opener! The jams in and out of Story Of The World were amazing, one of my favorites to date. I intended on catching Gramatik play his set in the tent but because of the re-scheduling he overlapped with The Disco Biscuits, I only got to catch 20 minutes of his set unfortunately. From what I saw it was extremely groovy and he dug into the crates, playing a lot of his older tracks. I love when he plays with his guitarist, you can't go wrong with improv guitar over his funky-fresh, hip-hop styled beats. The last Disco Biscuits set of the weekend is usually always a very special one, this one was no different. They opened with a twenty-minute Run Like Hell moving swiftly into one of my personal favorites, Little Shimmy in a Conga Line. I was in a pure state of bliss while they played Mindless Dribble into Munchkin Invasion, the crowd jumped around and sung along with the band screaming "We come from the city, We come from the jungle!". They re-visited Run Like Hell and absolutely killed it, I personally believe the Munchkin sandwich was the best part of the set though. The band played Jamillia>Tempest right back into Munchkin Invasion for the closer, some laughed and some cried but every biscuit-head in that field was smiling. Saturday was absolutely priceless, without a doubt some of the best Biscuits' sets that I have ever seen.