6:30 a.m. Friday morning: Camp Bisco X. Ice cold shower. Thinking how this is the first time I’ve gotten to shower at a festival. My phone’s been dead since yesterday around (sometime), but the day’s off to a good start because we have an interview with Ras I Ray, the bassist of the Easy Star All-Stars today before their set and with the Hood Internet on Saturday, and to my chagrin and my Attorney’s laughing appreciation, we “ran into Run DMT” three times yesterday, and those guys are fun to chill with.
I open my notebook to a page that says:
“If you find this and me, I’ve lost my mind. Find my phone and call my Attorney, please.”
“THIS IS THE VIBIN’-EST FESTIVAL EVER, BWAHHH!!” a kid walking by me shouts ecstatically.
Now, reporting live from Bisco’s 10th Birthday Rager, Camp Bisco X:
We left this morning for Mariahville, NY at 6 a.m., now I’m walking back from a falafel stand into a magical morphing lights display coming from the huge Main Stage A, the center of the festival, where the Disco Biscuits are playing their first show of the weekend. Walking towards the light while they jam to “Home Again,” I feel like I’m where I belong, and judging by the smiling faces of all my glowstick-clad, Grateful Dead wearing, dirty fellows we’re all feeling the same way and loving it. I was dancing in the crowd with everyone during “Spraypaint,” got hit in the face with a blow-up alligator and helped a group of kids I was dancing with launch about thirty glowsticks with a bungee cord back into the massive crowd spread out in a sea of purple and blues all around us.
Did you ever think about it, that everyone gets lifted all the time? And you want to fade away, wishing we’d be normal for a while, so you want to feel good?
Well maybe you should just work it…. Did you ever think about it, that maybe we we’re all crazy from the start?
Yes, I’ve thought a lot about it tonight, I think as we all scream the Bisco anthem: “Freedom is a gun, with giant bags of money….” Bisco set #1. They’ll be playing 5 more sets.
After setting up our tent in the wrong campground, the Bisco Avengers, as my friend Swiss calls us, waltzed into the VIP area. Mike Nusbaum immediately ran into Skrillex, who played a great show of Thursday (rage-wise, I liked Lotus, Beats Antique, and Cut Copy the best). Not a single festival worker knew where the media tent was, but the general consensus whenever I tried to get anywhere was that of this bedraggled hippie man worker who, upon walking by him, chivalrously beckoned me onward saying only “You can go wherever you want, m’ lady,” as I entered the backstage area, full of dancers with hula hoops and big fluffy paws over their shoes, neon glowing netting and bells. Around Camp Bisco, everyone, even the workers and the artists are here having the time of their lives, so as long as you pass on favors and introduce yourself, you’ll meet so many awesome people who just want to chill.
For instance, there was this couple I ran into who were on their honeymoon at Camp Bisco, with a guy named Matthew wearing those flashing, pulsating light-up gloves. They told me if they had a kid here they’d name it Bisco.
Then there was the glass-blowing lady who was kind enough to give me her pen, shout out to Last Fair Deal, who go on tour with live glassblowing performances at festivals. The torches and fire, and her genuine smile while she created her artwork, drew me in.
Broke through the circle that had formed around the poi-spinner in the middle of The New Deal’s show to embrace him after he pocketed his magic flags.
On Shakedown Street there were all kinds of crazy artists, these guys made Moonwalk pads, which I saw some kids sitting on while watching Cut Copy later in the evening. They’re bright neon orange, cost $30, and make it feel like your walking in outer space. I asked them what people buy them for: should I put this in my room?
“You can sit on it, dance on it, have sex on it,”
they laughed, showing me some other spindly metal objects and making me and Swiss demonstrate how to hold hands and let the slinky roll and spin between our arms.
We made our way to the Grooveshark tent and I danced my way into the crowd during Run DMT’s set, complete with belly-dancers.
“We’re gonna play some funk town music for you guys, so make some noise.”
Then BOOM, the bass drops down to our toes and we’re all dancing to steady hard-hitting beats with haunting, psychedelic undercurrents. The beats are so rockin’ that everyone’s arms are in the air steadily pumping in unison as we thrust them forwards and backward and groove to the break downs in between.
“Are we having fun yet?” John asks us, to which Grooveshark tent fills with a reverberating “YEAH!”
And I told them that when I “ran into” them later. They were surrounded by a group of press people, so naturally I walked up to John and Chris, shook their hands, and told them how fun their set was—they said they had just as much fun performing.
As we walked and hung out at their car in the artist lot, after I lent them some IB Profen and papers, the Austin natives, who just started mixing in 2010, told me after Bisco they’re headed to NYC and then back home to Austin for what promises to be a true “home town show.” Then into the studio for two weeks to work on their debut full-length album, which they’re both psyched about. “I can’t release anything yet,” John said. “but it’s going to be a really big album, we have some big people we’re trying to work with.”
The guys, like me, were looking forward to seeing Lotus that night. They also loved the video I shot on my iPhone from the dance floor during their show. I wanted them to see how much fun it is to be in their crowd.
Other highlights of the day were definitely Beats Antique, a gypsy-esque live instrumental ensemble with a Middle Eastern funk feel and some live tribal fusion belly dancing thrown into the mix. This I think was the funkiest sound I’ve heard yet here, as Zoe Jakes did her thing belly-dancing on stage. With violins shredding, some 6-string electric banjo-type instrument that sounded like a sitar, cow bells ringing, and the boops and beeps and weird Persian-sounding ripples flitting from a laptop adding an electronic tinge. This trio has been up to big things of late: five albums since 2007, and playing every festival from Austin City Limits to SXSW.
According to my Attorney’s sister, who’s part of a hula troupe, Jakes is legendary for her belly-dancing skills in the underground circus performer following, and iconic for her role in Beats Antique. They even played “Oriental Uno,” the song that Dimitri’s sister walked down the aisle to—not to mention at one point their music dipped and literally cooled down the entire sweaty, sun-burnt crowd as we all danced merrily away. I wish I hadn’t forgotten the gypsy bells I got at Rothbury!
Did I describe that well enough? Here’s a better idea:
“I never thought, eight years ago in a parking lot in Delaware, that we’d make it here [to Camp Bisco]!” they said earnestly to us, then proceeded with the trippiest jam sesh with beautifully orchestrated and improvised keyboard grooves.
Turn from Main Stage A to the right to Main Stage B, and oh my [hippie Pagan nature sun god], it’s Cut Copy. Did I die and go to music heaven? Is that a disco ball? It’s just one amazing act after another.
Getting down to the disco funk with all my friends around me (Well, Swiss thinks I’m insane) Cut Copy played “Hearts on Fire” and my favorite of the night was “Lights and Music,” because Jesus Christ, that’s all that was on my mind during their show. You cannot, not pulse and jump to the beat--I don’t even know… just creating perfect poppy rhythm, linked together with some spacey samples … and clearly having fun performing as they jump up and down with their guitars.
I don’t know how I kept dancing but somehow found myself in the dead center for Skrillex at the Grooveshark Tent. These dance parties just keep getting better and better as the night goes on. Now we were all getting down so hard that we were literally sinking into the mud, then covered in mud, then smearing mud all over each other as we danced the night away.
By far funnest song: his remix of Benny Banassi’s “Cinema.” At one point as we all jumped in unison and our feet slid into the mud, we went a capella:
“You are a cinema, a Hollywood treasure!”—we shout, arms, bright smiles flashing, sweat explosions, dripping, grinding (I’ve never been so dirty or happy in my life).
Seriously, at 1:20 into the above song, the tent blew up.
Lotus jammed late into the night. Didn’t get back to my tent til around 3 a.m. but the pulsing neons of one of those weird pacifier things girls sometimes have in their mouths that I found on the ground was clutched in my hand and helped light the way. I haven’t eaten anything for hours, don’t know where any of the Bisco Avengers are, but man, the first day of Camp Bisco X was truly a life-changing experience.
Side-step, fire explosions over there. Late night light show coming from Main Stage A. I sold my soul three times tonight for cigarettes.
But back in the tent with that damn pulsing pacifier, I hear a scratching and see the silhouette of someone outside.
“Wait, who’s that who’s that? Holy shit!” I yell, as my Attorney pops his head into the tent exactly five minutes (or so…) after I got back.
I’ve never been happier to see him. I left him right before Skrillex and told him to meet me after Lotus—I don’t know how either of us thought that was possible, at a sold out festival of 22,000.
Time for some serious story exchanging.
Check back tomorrow for that interview with Easy Star, their set’s this afternoon @ Main Stage A @ 2 pm. Get ready for some reggae-Pink-floyd remixes over on the “Dub Side of the Moon.”
PHOTOBLOWYOURFACEOFF: By Dimitri Kouri, Alex Cahiz, and Michael Nusbaum (be sure to click “Next Page” for the rest of the photos!)