The Disco Biscuits 10.29.2009 Madison, WI
Kevin Hughes Audience Recording of tDB 10.29.2009
The Disco Biscuits made a pit stop in Madison, WI while raging their Planet Anthem tour across the country. Madison is in very close proximity to Chicago where just 2 nights later the second most hyped Halloween show in the live music scene would take place. A few of my homies showed concern before the show. Would the biscuits have their sites set on the Chicago show and look past Madison? My prediction was NEVER!
The Wisconsin Union Theater sits directly in the midst of the UW campus, just off to the side of the trendy college downtown area and directly on the shore of beautiful Lake Mendota. It is a gigantic lake and it sets the stage for a pretty sweet view from the entrance of the venue. The Union does not just sit near campus, it is also part of the University. Despite the amazing view on the way in, the venue itself is sort of bland. Picture that 300 person biology lecture times 3. You know, not so comfortable seats and everything is the same color…in this case beige seats, carpet and walls. The sound, however, was pretty damn good.
I had a long haul to Madison, so I missed opening UK DJ extraordinaire OTT of Simon Posfords Twisted Records label. Luckily I walked in about a minute deep into the opening song, “42.” The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy refers to the number as “the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything else.” That must have been an inspiration for the lyrics when bassist Marc Brownstein sang, “I ask that question to myself I don’t know what to do. Chin is rested in my hands, I feel like I’m on 42.” During the jam in “42” guitarist Jon “Barber” Gutwillig bent over and made a feedback noise with his pedals. It was very subtle and added to the rhythm of the jam.
Next, they played “Konkrete,” a song from their new album On Time. It’s unique, spoken opening lyrics paved the way for an interesting rock jam at the end. After a quick pause they began “7-11” and the light show kicked into high gear. There were star shapes rotating on stage during the sick, extended dance jam.
The level of unpredictability is one of the things that keeps me coming back for more of the Biscuits. Fans get to hear songs played inverted, dyslexic or hear only partial sections of some. Following “7-11,” old school tune “Little Betty Boop” came in. Only the middle part of the song was played and it was done with a very funky, bluesy theme. After ending the set with “Sound One,” mid-west DJ, Orchard Lounge hit the stage for set break. It’s always pimp to have another act play during set break, and it looked like all of the non-smokers stuck around for Orchard Lounge. Good idea!
The second set kicked off with another new tune “Donde,” but went into overdrive after an amazing “Minions” when they went straight into “Helicopters.” Staying true to the very electronical undertones of “Minions,” “Helicopters” hit some serious techno jams that included space ship lift off effects. The jam went from high to low, fast to slow then up, up, up and up. I thought I was going to see aliens or something (and apart from 2 beers I was sober!!). Intense, to say the least, and perfectly placed in the middle of the second set.
Barbers winding guitar riffs wound steadily with drummer Alan Aucoin’s beats to take “Copters” into a short but very sweet 5 minute “Little Shimmy in A Conga Line.” Keyboardist Aron Magner took over with some screeny keys to make the segue complete. In true Bisco fashion they kicked into a group effort spit the catchy “Hey little baby…” lyrics and played the ending only. New tune, “Loose Change” followed. If you don’t already like this one, it will grow on you. It follows that super, mid-90’s alternative style that is present in several Bisco hits. It almost sounds like a song you would hear the Smashing Pumpkins play, but twisted into something much more complex. Give it a chance.
You have to respect the Biscuits…they love to play for their fans. After completing the second set, they took one of the shortest set breaks ever and capped off an already flawless show with an encore to match. Although the boys slowly worked their way into it, fans freaked out, put their heads down and kept sweating as soon as the opening licks of “Gangster” hit their ear drums. This version was highlighted by the fact that it sounded like Magner was playing 15 different keys (who knows, maybe he was) before Barbers signature guitar kicked in. They finished “Helicopters” and called it a night after a 15 minute, 2 song encore.
Yes I. The Wisconsin Union Theater brought us another installment of Bisco in all of its insanely confused cross genre, progressive glory. Big up to the kids dancing in the aisles working it out with me and to the cool ass security guards that only made kids throw their party favors out instead of their stuff and them!! The entire Planet Anthem Tour has raged and despite what some may have thought, the Union Theater was no exception. Neither was the next show or the next. They’ve done it again. At what point does the creativity and desire to cut the edge for your fans stop? I don’t think the Biscuits themselves can answer this question, so don’t even try. Just go to the next show and see for yourself. I’ll see you there….
Here is how the set played out (compliments of PhantasyTour.com):
10/29/09 Wisconsin Union Theater, Madison, WI
Ott and Orchard Lounge opened
Set I: 42> Konkrete, 7-11> Little Betty Boop1> Sound One
Set II: ¿Donde?, Minions> Helicopters> Little Shimmy In A Conga Line2, Loose Change> 42, Reactor
Encore: Gangster> Helicopters
1 middle section only
2 ending only
The Disco Biscuits - 10.29.2009 - Tim Hara Photography
Upcoming Tour Dates:
11/18/2009 - San Diego,, CA
4th and B
11/19/2009 - Los Angeles, CA
House of Blues
11/20/2009 - San Francisco, CA
11/21/2009 - San Francisco, CA
11/22/2009 - Santa Cruz, CA
11/27/2009 - Philadelphia, PA
11/28/2009 - Philadelphia, PA
12/10/2009 - Runaway Bay, Jamaica,
Check out LiveDownLoads.com to purchase soundboards of Biscuits shows.