There is little comparison to the excitement of the thumping house beats, the funky rumble of a low bass line shaking the building and the infectious sonic articulation of synthesizers that can be found at a rave. Imagine that being topped off with soaring guitar licks and the interplay of four musicians who are more then comfortable exploring the far reaches of sonic improvisation and thus, you have The Disco Biscuits with their own brand of fresh music that they have dubbed Jamtronica.
San Franciscofs historic Fillmore Auditorium, a psychedelic Rock enf Roll mecca in itfs own right, was packed near capacity on Saturday for the second furious night of action packed Bisco madness.@ This late night party was unofficially set to start at 10:30 p.m., though I didnft get the memo and upon entering the building around 9 p.m., the place was crickets. However, by the time the Biscuits took the stage, the floor was packed, vibrating with the crowdfs enthusiastic energy.
Bisco (as their devout refer to them) is the brainchild of thundering bassist Marc Brownstein, mind-shattering guitarist Jon Guttwillig (aka: Barber), keyboard virtuoso Aaron Magner and the human drum machine Allen Aucoin. They started together with a different drummer in 1995, playing more traditional jam music before taking their game to a different level with the help of technology and old-fashioned ingenuity and have gained serious acclaim in the live music scene; even hosting their own annual music festival called Camp Bisco.
The crowd roared as the band took the stage and kicked things off with the driving hip-hop march eFlash Mobf, led by Magnerfs middle-eastern sounding keyboard melody and Browniefs thwacking enveloped bass, accented with an ever growing swell of swirling synthesizers undulating in the background before peaking with Barber taking over the melody ambitiously leading the army of freaks before them into dance party battle. With only a moment of pause, they dropped into the bouncy disco rock blazer, e42f, led again by Magnerfs screaming synth and catchy vocals by Brownstein segueing into the tropical eHumuhumunukunukuapua'af, an island folk piece about two birds migrating to a remote paradise. After a quickly peaking jam, they launched off into the opening of the intense eLunar Pursuitf before orbiting in space and finding multiple peaks, each more furious than the last, showcasing the ability of the band to read and follow each otherfs every move. Magner and Brownie escalated the energy to ever growing heights until Barber chimed in, sending it over the edge with his jet-fueled guitar riffs until erupting back into the main line of e42f to complete the sandwich! To end the set, the driving, syncopation of eBasis For a Dayf felt like a ride through the desert from Brownie and a floating Barber melody, slowly building energy to a massive driving peak before they slammed back into Earth and set break.
The second set didnft even start until after midnight and Brownie took the mic explaining that he had written a new song and that we were about to witness itfs live debut. The song was a pretty straight rocker called eNaimaf which sandwiched a mean 10 minute jam in the middle of it that said the Biscuits were back to finish tearing the roof off. My thoughts of the place being eCricketsf when I arrived proved to be foreshadowing of the next monster they broke out. The exhilarating theme shot out like a cannon, gaining momentum into a huge trance jam that dropped jaws before dropping into the southern rock sounding anthem eLittle Shimmy In a Conga Linef which momentarily brought everyone back from space before jamming into the buoyant guitar licks and syncopation of eAbove the Wavesf which flipped in an instant from row boat to jet ski before hammering back into the end of eCricketsf which segued into the glitchy intro of eOn Timef featuring Magner on the vocoder singing the melody in his best robot voice before taking off into a small but poignant jam to finish the set with a serious bang.
After only a moment, they returned to the stage to a hail of cheers and ended the night with a short rocking encore called eWetf, capped off by a lightning guitar solo from Barber as the Bisco train pulled back into the station. The Disco Biscuits finished their West Coast tour the next night in Santa Cruz and will be playing two Thanksgiving shows at the Electric Factory in Philidelphia, joining Umphreyfs McGee for a third year for the Jamaican Holidaze festival in mid-December before playing a five night New Years residency at the Nokia Theatre in New York City. For more information check out www.discobiscuits.com!