Photos by Jim Mimna
(From the Thursday Night Show at The Boulder Theater)
The Scene: On what might have seemed like an average night on Colfax, those lucky enough to get the hottest ticket in town were also privy to the heat brought by The Disco Biscuits. The quartet’s show, widely known as “Bisco Inferno,” brought fans from throughout the state and beyond to bounce, bob and frolic in the glow of not only their lasers, but also their masterfully layered instrumentation. Like many jam bands that roll through town, many of the Biscuits fans have seen more than 10 of their shows an yet are thoroughly engaged in the set list and the mood that their band of choice will be bringing on any given night. Due to the massive crowd that was already inside The Ogden before the opening act, I was relegated to the balcony. The combination of the heat in the dark spacious room and the white horizontal ceiling beams made me feel like Jonah in the belly of the whale.
Opener: Future Rock. Given their name, I was expecting this Chicago based trio to come out in lavish Devo style outfits and have a futuristic artistic concept to accompany their moniker. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. Dressed as if they were performing for family and friends in a neighborhood garage, they chose instead to let their smooth bouncing Disco beats do all the talking. With deep Funk bass riffs and straight rhythms leading the way, Future Rock played every last second of their allotted time and put the crowd at ease by channeling the warm and inviting energy of the room.
Disco Biscuits: By the time the Biscuits took to the stage, the kindling and coals had been lit and the crowd was ready for the Inferno. Bassist Marc Brownstein was the only member of the group that spoke to the crowd during their sets, and he gave everyone a warm welcome and spoke briefly about the group’s affinity for Colorado’s music scene and how grateful they are to be able to put together a 3 night run in the dead of winter. With niceties behind them, they moved into a slow melodic Jam, apparently as an additional sound check as they were testing both the highs and lows of the Ogden’s stage side towers. Bathed in fog and a spectrum of blue and purple lights they coaxed the crowd into an easy sway, not an easy feat given the amount of people and energy in the room waiting to combust. Once they transitioned out into the next track, they took the lights from zero to eleven with four massive lasers beaming from behind each member of the band. Just the flip of a switch on the lasers was enough to get the audience amped and bouncing with only a handful of concertgoers standing still and staring into the neon sky in reverence.
The Biscuits were full of joy, and it radiated through their sound and seemed to infect the crowd with a similar enthusiasm. As I’m finding is custom for most electro-jam bands, they don’t move around the stage to show their enthusiasm, but they rather place extreme focus on the musical task at hand. They never moved into deep or dark progressions, the closest they came was a blue steam soaked rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes.” The Floyd corollary works well for them, and especially so with the sound of guitarist Jon Gutwillig. It was obvious from the beginning of the set that the other band members tend to defer to him, and I could sense awe from the other three members as they worked through their riffs and enjoyed Gutwillig painting with sound onto the collective canvas. Sporting aviator shades and a beanie for the entirety of the show, Gutwillig was everything you’d want from a mysterious guitar virtuoso, and for my money his talent was the highlight of my first foray into the world of Bisco.
The only thing I can knock the Biscuits for was their vocals, or lack thereof. While the majority of the crowd didn’t seem to mind and droned along like soccer hooligans, I was left wondering what exactly was going on. Is the band in on the joke, and recognizes that no one has any vocal chops and chooses to sing regardless in monotone chants and cheers? Thankfully for the most part they let their instruments do the talking. Their particular vocal style meshed just fine with spoken lyrics a la Pink Floyd, but they really fell flat when they added lyrics to their beautifully constructed melodies. In the end the night was a success as a whole, as the band worked through lengthy stretches of complex progression and showcased the demeanor of consummate pros who love what they do and who they do it for.
Set 1: Jam > Run Like Hell > Tricycle > Confrontation, Echoes> Run Like Hell
Set 2: Therapy, Spacebirdmatingcall > Cyclone > Above The Waves1 > Rock Candy > Spacebirdmatingcall, Spraypaint
Stage Presence: B
Set/Light Show: A-