by Kerry McNeil
This year's tenth-anniversary Camp Bisco produced some amazing spectacles from major artists across the industry and the world. With the intimidating number of artists on the bill, multiple stages, and unfortunate overlaps, fans may have missed some impressive sets from up-and-comers, or seasoned vets that were sacrificed to due to time or exhaustion. Of the mass of highlight sets, The Untz presents three gems.
The Chicago-based DJ collective Orchard Lounge kicked off their set on Thursday afternoon, opening up the Dance Tent at Camp Bisco with a bang. Formed in 2000, Ben Silver, Spencer Lokken, and Bethany Briscoe Lokken are known for their live mixing, rather than using playlists and bringing up samples—and their set at this year’s Bisco was no different. If you weren’t moving, you were definitely the odd one out.
Using their style of live mixing, the trio achieved a deep, funky house sound without the use of popular MIDI controllers and synthesizers. From chill, laid back jams to bass heavy tech-house, Orchard Lounge created an extremely danceable atmosphere in the small tent—keeping the audience moving, so much so that mud roiled underneath everyone’s feet as the dancing ripped up what little grass was left.
With such a diverse array of sound, Orchard Lounge’s set in the Dance Tent was well received, amping up the hungry crowd.
The New Deal
Having played Camp Bisco for the past 8 years, festival veterans The New Deal said goodbye to the audience—the bands looming breakup in January quickly approaching. The farewell set proved to be a fantastic bon voyage for bassist Dan Kurtz, drummer Darren Shearer, and keyboardist Jamie Shields—full of improv jamming in between songs, and even some darker points in the set with heavy bass wobbles. Ending their reign at Bisco in style, The New Deal put on a satisfying and incredibly tight set.
From their 2001 self-titled album, “Technobeam,” was a crowd favorite with it’s constant, bumping beat, high-energy synths, and driving drum lines—with fans dancing hard to the old school jam.
During an improvisational part of the set, The New Deal played around with spacey/lasery synths, heavy bass, and smashing cymbals on the drums, making the crowd bounce along to the pumped up groove.
“VL Tone,” was another favorite, with bouncing beats from Shearer on drums and an addictive keyboard melody from Shields.
Fittingly enough, to close out their last Bisco set, The New Deal played “Gone, Gone, Gone,” from their 2003 release of the same name. Rocking hard during their last song at Camp Bisco, the upbeat, high-tempo nature of the track helped to continue the spirit of the raging dance party that The New Deal had created during their set.
Though it was a bittersweet ending for The New Deal, as noted during the commentary in between songs, the group certainly made their last Bisco set an upbeat and unforgettable one—full of energy that the crowd of loyal fans couldn’t help but return.
Brooklyn electronic jam duo Ratatat stormed the second main stage in between the Disco Biscuits two sets Friday at Camp Bisco, and amidst swirling blue smoke, the pair blew the audience away.
Standing in front of a screen—with a smaller, vertical projection screen to their right—guitarist Mike Stroud and bassist Evan Mast (also working synths) pumped up the audience with their exceptional instrumental grooves and heavy guitar melodies. While pictures of everything from chickens (and many other birds) to Arnold Schwarzenegger circa Terminator synced up to the beat, the audience danced hard to everything the duo threw at them during their Camp Bisco X set.
Bumping along to the blistering beats and grinding guitars, the audience absolutely lost it during tracks like “Wildcat,”—with its signature mountain lion roar being echoed by the crowd.
“Mirando,” and its quick, lasery synths, with screaming guitars and grinding beats sped up the pace of the crowd—making it one of many tracks keeping the crowd moving and dancing along.
The robotic sounds from “Falcon Job,” against bouncing keyboards and glittering synths was a crowd favorite, with projections of several different women spliced together, opening their mouths in sync with the mechanical melody.
“Loud Pipes,” had the crowd bumping slowly to the addictive beat and the irresistible guitar melody, set to more projections of explosions and infrared skulls.
And of course, no Ratatat set would be complete without a blazing live version of “Seventeen Years,” complete with the spoken intro—echoed by the crowd of devoted fans—and with a little improvisation on the guitars to close it out. The raging melody had the crowd on fire, chanting for “one more song!” repeatedly to no avail.
Walking away from the stage, shouts of, “Ratatat-tat-tat-tat!” could be heard from vast pockets of fans, proving once and for all the unforgettable nature of Ratatat’s live jams. Ratatat certainly did their part to keep CBX raging through the night and, like many acts, to make the tenth Bisco even better than the last.
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