For a variety of reasons, expectations going into Camp Bisco XI were lower than ever. Don’t get us wrong, we are all for Camp and all that’s in between, but Bisco X didn’t leave the best taste in our collective mouth. It seemed as if those in charge were extremely unprepared for the massive increase in attendance. The bikers were meaner than ever. Color Wars turned into swamp wars. Showers ran out of water, while the spickets spewed a sulfur brown something before they dried out. Kitty ravers and plur queens polluted the crowd. A disgusting amount of trash littered the venue, and the porta potties remained unfit for human use the entire weekend. And, despite the epic Shpongle Storm Showcase, rain, once again came down on the parade.
Yet, us Lost in Sounders aren’t haters, we’re lovers, and we had faith that the Camp Bisco crew would step it up and take a turn for the better. There were glimpses of improvements leading up to the festival, like the Wednesday night entry, a stacked lineup, shuttles running to and from all the nearby major cities….. Even so, our expectations were blown out of the water! Entering the festival was quick, easy, and more efficient than anyone could have imagined. On-site locker rentals allowed people to keep their valuables safe and their hands free while raging the main stage. Lot sections were numbered and clearly marked, which any festival go-er who’s tried stumbling back to their campsite in the dark can appreciate. Walkways were decorated (to the nines, with colorful lights and lycra galore) in top-level rage status. Mind-blowing art installations served as a playground for our eyes. The dance tents were bigger and better. Festival goers were on their best behavior, and the sense of community had never felt stronger. The small cozy community that Camp once was turned into a massive festival that was done up right! While there were a few technical letdowns that impacted some important sets (to be mentioned later), we give massive praise to the people of MCP Presents for a job well done!
I have to say one of my favorite aspects of Camp Bisco this year was the people. To be honest, rather than just to see great music, I oftentimes attend these festivals for the companionship and camaraderie of incredible humans/freaks/bassnymphos/gypsys who populate them. Bisco was definitely a letdown in this department last year, as the attitude of many attendees seemed to be an utter disregard for anyone but themselves. (I will respectfully refrain from starting on my erroneous ‘defecation in people’s campsites’ rant here.)
Thankfully, everyone – from their rage gear, to the use of their heads – radiated positive energy and enthusiasm. The costumes were bigger and better: more beautiful, more outrageous, and more glitter. Day-glo, feathers and bangles as far as the eye could see. My absolute highlight of the weekend was the level 99 ragestick status. They littered the skyline at the main stages in the most delightful of ways. There is nothing more hilarious than looking out into a sea of people and seeing a 4-foot-tall cardboard cutout of David Hasselhoff’s face bopping about. I am getting the giggles just thinking about it now.
Aside from showcasing some of the world’s best live electronic music acts, Camp Bisco has maintained its strong roots in the surrounding local music communities. With the further development of the showcase stage and a packed silent disco lineup, Camp Bisco has found the perfect recipe for giving back to the music scene as the festival grows to accommodate headlining acts of bigger and bigger stature and a reputation of being one of the wildest parties in the Northeast. We’ve done our best to highlight the sonic ups and downs of each day, read below…
Some of us kicked off Thursday with an afternoon set by Rubblebucket. This group has a way of getting the audience bopping and twirling and prancing about with their feel-good tunes and catchy lyrics. Given a severe lack of female performers at Camp this year, and at music festivals in general, Kalmia Traver (vocals, baritone sax) held it down for the ladies with her quirky onstage presence and hypnotic voice. The huge horn section started a musical ruckus and radiated energy into the crowd. Alex Toth paraded through the crowd on a friend’s shoulders playing his trumpet for a couple songs, joined by the band’s infamous cardboard robot puppets. The whole scene was a fun-loving circus of fabulous music and captivating showmanship. No onlooker was immune to the group’s funky, compulsively danceable, booty-shaking vibes.
Skrillex headlined the night, and, (I even surprise myself by saying this), he put on a pretty damn good show! I was dragged to his set by a couple of very enthusiastic fans. I braced myself for nails-on-a-chalkboard screeches and cliche whomps, builds and drops perfectly timed to get the crowd SUPER FUCKIN’ HYPED. To my surprise and delight, what I got was a nice medley of downtempo hip-swayers, hip-hop, reggae, metal, fidget house and some good ol’ fashioned DnB, all folded into (a little too) hyphy electro house bangers. He even dropped a remix of “Booty Clap” by Dirty Bird’s own Kill Frenzy! How is this man’s music even classified as dubstep? Well, we’ll save that discussion for another time. Either way, he definitely knows how to work an audience. And speaking of the audience, everyone was on point! Definitely someone I would go see again live, even if his music still doesn’t make it onto my iPod.
Bird of Prey provided a necessary break from the east coast style EDM that dominated the air late-night on Thursday. Mixing in new tracks with old favorites, BOP drew in curious listeners, enchanted by the yoga-womp vibe that was emanating from the smaller of the two dance tents. The Bay Area bass Jedi shattered social monitors with his concoction of sounds, provoking the crowd to whip out their most primal dance moves. Gypsies and rage-bro’s intertwined seamlessly, a testament to Bird of Prey’s ability to introduce less experienced electronic music enthusiasts to the world of creative and unique music production. It’s quite fitting that BOP gets our most prestigious accolade; he dubbed the term HEALIN’ IT! to replace the proverbial “Killin it’.”
We kept it moving immediately following Bird of Prey’s set to catch our good friend, and up & coming producer, Futexture, at the silent disco. He shared his midnight slot with other Lost in Sound homies, Business Casual Disco. We knew the latter would grace our ears with undeniable booty shaking disco, so curiosity switched us to Futexture’s blue channel. You can go ahead and throw genres out the window. While he does fit under the bass umbrella, the intricacy of his sound is impressive to say the least. Quick and walking liquid bass lines gave off an almost silly but intelligent feel. It was like we were prancing around a forest solving mysterious. Perfect for a silent disco. It was apparent that he put a lot of detail and thought into his productions, something any music aficionado can appreciate. We expect big things from Futexture, and give him the accolade for the Silent Disco Delight of the night.
HEALIN’ IT!: Bird of Prey
What the FOXXX!?: Daedalus
Bunk Act of the Day: Alvin Risk
Silent Disco Delight: Futexture
Friday started with some fruit smoothies and (rather useless) hygienic activities. Spirits were high, with a lot of the festival still to go. Nobody Beats the Drum’s 2:30 set in the label tent was approaching quickly. After being blown away by their set at Ultra Music Festival and our interview thereafter, I hyped up their appearance and rallied the crew. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to set up their 333 Monitor which displayed the stunning work by VJ Rogier van der Zwaag. Regardless, he was on the decks with Jori and Sjam, providing breathtaking visuals for the first set of the day. It’s safe to say that nobody was ready for the high energy, bass infused electro rage NBTD always brings to the table. One fellow Lost in Sounder grabbed me in disbelief exclaiming, “I was gonna take it easy today, but this shit is fuckin’ nutso!!” Their set was top notch as expected; taking it easy wasn’t an option. Resistance is futile, Nobody Beats the Drum.
Orchard Lounge was up next. Their set the previous day was one of the downtempo variety – ‘to the couch’ if you will. They left us all with a delicious taste in our mouths, but we hadn’t seen nothing yet. We knew we were in for a treat when a fellow Lost in Sound comrade provided Bethany with a Use Your Head pin which had a delightfully large presence throughout the festival. Ben Silver started things off and held nothing back. Getting right down to the dirty tech house he pulled out some of Orchard Lounges best tricks in the bag. Next up was Spencer, many peoples favorite of the trio. It may not have been as dancy and raging, but definitely more intricate and those with a developed pallet for music got down ..hard. All of the aforementioned was in anticipation for the boss. Queen B was lurking in the back dancing to her fellow muses awaiting her turn. The second she took the decks the crowd roared into a frenzy. As the time creeped closer to the end of the hour, Bethany was jumping up and down destroying the dance-floor and everything else that was packed in that tent. She got on the mic to let us know that it was their 9th year at Camp, how much they loved us all, and that we were about to get graced with some brand new original Orchard Lounge sexiness. Without a doubt, it was the best OL set I’ve witnessed, probably the best they’ve had at Camp, and many peoples favorite of the weekend. The vibe of the crowd was top-notch, making it quite easy to rank it among the top 3 sets of the weekend. – HEALIN IT!
We were incredibly excited to see our friends Wobblesauce make their first-ever Camp appearance, having been some of their most loyal fans since the beginning. The boys drew an impressively large crowd of new and old faces to the local stage, where they threw down for us a light-hearted, joyful, dizzy dancing extravaganza. Starting off with a couple of well-weathered favorites, they then worked in some super new unreleased ish, including one at the end, “Galactic Cannibalism,” that had the influence of Cody Rountree’s metal upbringing written all over it. Each song complimented the next, and the set flowed seamlessly, with only one quick break to say hello to all the beautiful faces. And did I mention the Wobble Dragon was there in full force, inspiring crowd participation and an impromptu conga line?!? Between Mike McCarthy’s spacey synths and gorgeous keyboard riffs, Jake Boynton’s funky bass licks and Cody’s metal roots shining through on drums, one can easily understand how the band’s name came to be Wobblesauce: they represent an eclectic, tasty blend of genres, influences and styles, one that is most conducive to boogying on down and having a grand ol’ time. These guys are masters of the mid-afternoon set as well. There is something so uplifting about getting wobbly with Wobblesauce, especially at this time; dancing with the grass under your feet and the sun shining above your head.
Check out their website for free music downloads! (http://www.wobblesauce.com)
In anticipation of Shpongle’s suddenly announced absence from Camp Bisco XI, an Emancipator live band set was organized in hope of re-bolstering the lineup. Unfortunately I may have gotten myself too excited for the proposition of a live band Emancipator set, especially considering the inclusion of Bonobo (Simon Green), Dom Lalli (of Big Gigantic), Molly Kummerle (of Paper Tiger), and 2 members of Inspired Flight, Gabe Lehner and Eric Poline. It seemed as if the idea held so much potential, but the end result was lacking in preparation and cohesiveness. Where as the debut of something as memorable as this could’ve have been rehearsed to a point of perfection and released upon a crowd on the perfect date, in the perfect setting, this Emancipator live band set seemed thrown together at the last minute. I felt harmonies clashing and instruments going in and out of sync with one another, a clear sign that the extremely talented group of musicians needed more time practicing together. I hope to see a live band Emancipator set again in the future, with the proper foresight this could become one of the most intriguing livetronica acts to see. Yet, due to the lack of preperation we dub this set with the Bunk Act of the Day accolade.
There is no possible way to describe the elite status Amon Tobin holds in the electronic music industry. The same holds true for his mind blowing ISAM experience. This was easily our most anticipated set of the weekend. A monolithic structure of white blocks played host to projection mapping that can only be from the far & distant future. Carefully crafted in the middle of the stage was a central block where the legend set up shop. Each sound was carefully manufactured from the most eclectic of origins – you could hear the crackling of leaves to the opening of a can of soda. All of this is intertwined and spit out through reinforced sound which allowed the bass to rattle our bones. Don’t be misled, this isn’t your stereotypical womping bass drop. Amon Tobin’s sound is like no other, and words don’t do it justice. The majority of his set were tracks played from his newest album ISAM which is a work of art. It wasn’t just easy, but likely to get lost during this performance. At times, the central block in which he was stationed would light up like a strobe light, giving us a glimpse of the master at work. As his set was coming to a close, and the crowd in absolute awe, the unthinkable happened. Marc Brownstein, aka Brownie, of The Disco Biscuits, started muttering something about his multiple rides on the ferris wheel. What happened to the music?!? To all of our disbelief, Amon Tobin was still spinning in his booth and the projections were still in full effect, but the speakers were silent. Some sort of miscommunication had Amon Tobin hearing himself play in his headphones, but his sound was cut out. They pulled the plug on a legend. The pioneer of electronic music. It was surprising that Amon Tobin agreed to play at this sort of festival – there go the chances of that ever happening again.
We all know that Bonobo’s DJ sets aren’t the beautiful songs he makes in the studio. However, I was not by any means expecting for him to throw down as hard as he did. I suppose his late night slot on Friday evening set the stage and amped him up to provide a more dancy set. He threw in a few of his classics like “El Toro” and “The Keeper,” but aside from that, it felt like we were listening to a tech/minimal house producer. At one point he threw down a track from Claude Von Stroke’s power house SF label DirtyBird, which sent the crowd into a booty clappin’ frenzy. Some loved it and some didn’t, wishing they heard more of that signature Bonobo sound. I thought that it was just more evidence of the amazingness Bonobo holds as a person and a producer – being able to change his sound and cater to whatever audience is at hand. This surprising performance is why he is most deserving for our What the FOXX?! accolade. For all those who witnessed this set at Camp and don’t know of his versatility, make sure you catch his rare live show and your mind will be blown to smithereens.
HEALIN’ IT: Orchard Lounge
What the FOXXX?!: Bonobo
Bunk Act of the Day: Emancipator with Special Guests
Silent Disco Delight: Space Jesus
The Biscuits’ day-time Saturday set always seems to stand out above the rest. Year after year it’s provided for a family reunion of sorts as the die-hard Biscuit kids make there way out to the main stage around lunch time (clearly earlier than some of them have woken up since the following Camp Bisco). Opening with Plan B > I-Man and ending with Story of the World and Therapy, this year’s day set was nothing short of what was to be expected, although this year it seemed a towel for sweat and a magnifying glass for solar hits were the necessary accoutrement. Following the Disco Biscuits’ first of three sets for the day, Brothers Past segued nicely, providing the perfect soundtrack for a sunny Saturday afternoon. Their songs are so much more dynamic than your average jamtronica, as they weave between powerhouse pop melodies, dark, ominous jams, and up-beat indie rock tunes. No matter the genre, one thing is for sure: these guys know how to keep their audience movin’ and groovin’.
Afterwards, we caught a bit of Yacht, who followed BP on the adjacent main stage. This band has an edgy, nu-new wave aura, combining deep, substantial lyrics with lively electro beats. Claire Evans (vocals, bad ass mama jama) held it down for the ladies (just two lady performers so far, if you were counting!) with a provocative, energetic stage presence while Jona Bechtolt provided the groovy synths and intriguing visuals. The duo put on quite a show, keeping things interesting to the point of (just the right amount of) absurdity. I wish I could have stayed longer, but the crew had to part ways. Some of us returned to camp to prepare for the Biscuits’ evening set, while the rest of us were out and about, immersed in all the heady music being offered.
Dopapod brought down the house at the local “Showcase” stage. Though their set time conflicted with headliner Big Gigantic, as well as a couple other popular acts, the confines of the area were packed to the brim with eager fans, showing just how big of a loyal and enthusiastic following the band has built for themselves. Their set was full of high-energy, experimental, funk-infused rock tunes and rich melodies that moved the crowd into head banging frenzy, while leaving space in between for jam breakdowns. My favorite part of their performances are their covers. Their choice of cover is different for every set, showcasing their diversity and stellar musical ability. This time they chose a Gorillaz medley (“Clint Eastwood”>”Feel Good Inc.”>”Dirty Harry”) that did justice to the originals while adding their own hard-hitting, psychedelic spin.
Here’s a clip of their set, including the Gorillaz medley: Dopapod live at Camp Bisco XI
Oliver’s evening disco house set was a thing of perfection. Although only one member of the duo was present (unsure whether it was Vaughn Oliver or Oliver Goldstein), he mixed a wildly entertaining array of upbeat nu disco that just seemed to hit the spot track after track. With the crew raging in full force, there was plenty of room in the B.I.G. Tent to get down to the funky bass lines (due to Big Gigantic’s competing prime time slot on the main stage). Needless to say, we made the best of the extra space, infectiously dancing our feet off from start to finish. I wouldn’t have complained once if Oliver played for twice as long. Theres something to be said about these kinds of sets at festivals. The artist is relatively unknown, the tent is relatively empty (beacuse of a big name sharing the set time), but they absolutely murder it!! This was easily the most delightfully surprising set of the weekend – TOP notch disco is truly a thing of beauty. What the FOXXX?!
Considering his tenure at Bisco, Bassnectar’s set had the potential to be one of his best yet. Drawing the largest crowd of the weekend, anticipation was high for many of the Camp faithfuls, who had been waiting all weekend for the bass maestro. The cumulation of rage all condensed into this one set. Fifteen minutes in, after bangers like “Pink Elephants” and “Upside Down,” every DJ’s worst nightmare abruptly came to life: dead silence. Once we thought the technical issues had been resolved, it happened again. And again. And again. “Camp Bisco, you deserve better!” While Lorin’s words were kind and true, we couldn’t help feeling let down, and sympathetic. When we all thought he would pick up his gear, stomp it out, and walk off the stage, he did the opposite. Lorin toughed it out and was able to work out the kinks and finish his set. While we give him massive praise for standing strong in the midst of a catastrophe, the flow of his set was ruined and would never return. It’s truly disappointing to do this when this could of been the best Bassnectar set I’ve ever seen (around 10), but we dub his set with the Bunk Act of the Day accolade.
Simian Mobile Disco was one of our most highly anticipated sets of the weekend, but they surprised us all with a completely new sound. Previously the duo, London-based Jas Shaw and James Ford, had produced music characterized by pop-infused vocal loops, hip-hop rhythms and acid-techno synths. Instead, their set, which closed out the weekend at the B.I.G. tent late-night, featured almost entirely tracks off of their latest album, Unpatterns, released in the spring of this year. In fact, the only song I recognized was the iconic “Hustler” (“I’m a hustler baby/ That’s what my daddy made me…”) With almost no vocal samples or (somewhat cheesy) playful hooks and tech-hop breakdowns, they took a complete 180 from their previous style. Songs were stripped-down and showcased aspects of deep and minimal house and classic techno beats, while keeping their signature bleeps and bloops and spastic synths. It was a set that truly lived up to their name as a Mobile Disco. All the homies were there getting down, as were the rest of the hardcore ragers and danceaholics, two-stepping, bouncing, shaking and grooving, as SMD brought the house down and sent the festival out in style.
Wondering what in the hell their new sound is all about? Check out their set from Sonar 2012 here: Simian Mobile Disco Live at Sonar 2012
After Simian Mobil Disco‘s very sexy performance, our tired bodies, minds, and souls took a much needed break. Our efforts to take this rest at the silent disco was sadly not going to happen. I would talk about the length of the line to get headphones, but being the only music going on during the last night of the festival with all other stages being shut down, I’ll spare you. We decided to re-fuel back at the site, knowing that the line would die down in an hour or two. We checked the menu one last time and to our delight Lost in Sound’s close homeblow and zonny extoardinare, Horizon Wireless, occupied the slot for the last set of Camp Bisco XI. The emulated, epic, 5am sunrise set was not to be missed. I knew we were in for it when he started us off with the words “Can you hear me now? Good,” echoing in our headphones. It’s hard to find words for the vibe and energy being shared among this crowd. Tons of friends, friends of friends, and newly made friends with all the juice and sweat and tears of the festival cumulated into one small dance floor in front of Harrison himself. My personal highlight of the set was when he dropped the famous trance track, “Drunk on Dreams” by Astrix and Ace Ventura and mashed it up with “We Are Family”. We award Harrison with the Silent Disco Delight – It was the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.
HEALIN IT!: The Disco Biscuits
What the FOXXX?!: Oliver
Bunk Act of the Day: Bassnectar
Silent Disco Delight: Horizon Wireless
STAY ON POINT:
See you all at Camp Bisco XII!!!!
Satellite Man, IntuiSean, Biggie Shmalls, and Grandose