There’s something truly special about Biscuit runs. It could be the tightly-knit fanbase that attends nearly every show, ready to party night-after night; it could be the stellar venues the band carefully handpicks, or maybe the lasers, or maybe it’s just the jamtronica awesomeness that is The Disco Biscuits. Whatever it is, it’s nearly impossible to deny the spellbinding magic that defines these sacred concert runs.
And this past run in Port Chester, New York was hardly an exception. From Thursday to Saturday, Biscuits fans piled into hotel rooms and AirBnB’s around Port Chester to see our favorite jamtronica band in the same room that Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead made infamous 45 years ago – “The Original Rock Palace,” the one-and-only Capitol Theatre. You could practically taste the excitement as fans arrived at the legendary venue to see the up-and-coming electronic funk trio SunSquabi open up the three-night rock extravaganza. SunSquabi was the only opener of the weekend, and they served this role justice by dropping an impressive funky dance set loaded with grooves and live drops. Towards the end of their admirable set, the theatre began to fill up, exponentiating the already nervous energy permeating the room.
Taking the stage promptly at 9:30, every person in the room was more than ready for their fair serving of fresh Biscuits, and the band was ready to deliver. Starting off with a fan favorite sing-along, “Story Of The World,” Marc”Brownie” Brownstein (bass) started off the jam with a heavy, forward-moving bass line while Aron Magner (keys) grooved out on the synth. Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig (guitar), proudly standing at his typical stage left post, expanded on the rhythmic groove with well-refined guitar lines. After about 15 minutes of jamming, Brownie led the band into “Shem-Rah Boo,” which took off into another Brownie-led groove peppered with “Drunken Sailor” teases throughout, instigated by Magner on the synths. As Magner and Barber picked up the groove, the jam built into a high energy pulse-style section before going into the somewhat seldom-played “Gangster,” with Magner hopping on the talk box for a robot sounding “wish I was a gangster” vocal texture (you are a gangster, Aron). “Gangster” built up to a high-tension peak before taking off into another Brownie-led groove with Magner and Allen Aucoin (drums) adding melodic and percussive layers, while Barber shredded away on the guitar. This jam evolved into a comfortable, more laid-back groove while Magner laid down some noticeably crunchy synth sounds, before ending in a blissful Barber-driven jam that went right back into “Story” to close out the sequence. After a few quick breaths, the band dropped into the high-energy instrumental, “Strobelights and Martinis,” which seemed to be a fan-favorite for this run’s Biscuits Bingo. However, after perfectly nailing the composed sections and even beefing up some parts of the composition, the band came to a complete halt right where it seemed like a jam was about to commence. After another breath or two, the band took off into the more commonly performed “On Time,” which amounted to a nice little funky jam to conclude the first set.
Kicking off the second set with the punk inspired “7-11,” Barber initially took control of the song, which eventually evolved into a subtle yet fast-paced jam with signature Biscuits interplay between Magner and Barber. As the jam slowed down, Allen and Barber moved into an offbeat “dub” style rhythm and welcomed to the stage the reggae singer/beatboxer Matisyahu for a freestyle segment. While undoubtably a unique part of the performance, many Biscuits fans were largely unimpressed by the sit-in. Sit-ins often remove the band from jamming as there are very few artists who can actually keep up with the nearly peerless level of improvisation the Biscuits have achieved. Additionally, Matisyahu is disliked by many for personal reasons that are largely removed from his music.
After the sit-in ended, the jam slowed down and grew more ambient and experimental before picking back up and launching into the historical, rarely-played “Floes.” “Floes” took off into a noticeably spacey jam where Allen held down a rhythm driven by the bass drum that the band playfully noodled over. Eventually picking up speed and energy the jam built tension before going back into the ending verse, which led into a more blissful segment that once again built an intensity that smoothly segued into the Barber song about ballin’ out, fittingly titled “Pilin’ it High.” “Pilin'” was stretched out with a nice ambient jam that gained speed and traction towards the middle before peaking and returning to finish the song. The band finished off the second set with fan favorite “House Dog Party Favor,” an appropriate choice given The Cap’s close proximity to Zoo York, with lyrics like “city boy is out of his mind again.” “House Dog” was jammed out with a bass-heavy, relatively short improv jam before returning back to the structure of the song. Barber really shined throughout this whole “House Dog” rendition with his vocals, his dexterous playing, and most of all his unmatched, hallmark tone. Encoring with the sing-along, “Kitchen Mitts,” The Disco Biscuits performed a solid end to a solid show.
Unfortunately, due to copyright issues with the “Drunken Sailor” teases in “Shem-Rah Boo,” Night 1 is no longer available on YouTube. At any rate, you can download the set here, and we’ve included the setlist below. In addition, we’re trying something new here. In red find the Sound-Fix highlight of the night, which, in our opinion, is a “must hear” segment of the show.
April 27, 2017 – The Capitol Theater – Port Chester, NY
Set 1: Story of the World > Shem-Rah Boo 1 > Gangster > Story of the World, Strobelights and Martinis, On Time
Set 2: 7-11 1 2 > Floes > Pilin’ It Higher 3, House Dog Party Favor
E: Kitchen Mitts