It is now approaching 4am and Bisco opens its gates in about 17 hours (God help us).
Time for a fest preview, obviously.
OK you’re done.
Here’s the Dig’s SUPER OFFICIAL GUIDE to Camp Bisco XI.
Founded and curated by the Disco Biscuits, with more than 100 acts, three days and nights of music on five stages, two mainstages side-by-side, two Dance Tents featuring showcases from labels such as Ninja Tune, Fool’s Gold and OWSLA, a silent disco and an Up & Coming stage…
don’t you find it hilarious that you will probably only remember the gist of this?
No matter. That’s why we at the Dig have created this compilation of “shows not to be missed” and “last minute tips” to emblazon on your minds before you leave. There are also two points that must be made before carrying on:
1) This is the first Bisco in about six or so years where the forecast is completely devoid of rain. Every year there has been some drastic turn in weather to utter doom-storms. Behold:
. . .
Our Picks: Shows Not To Miss
Thu 7.12 | B.I.G. Tent | 5.15pm-6:15pm | If music were a machine, Daedelus’s stuff would look something like a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption of the type ripped from the pages of a Jules Verne novel. The beat starts on the hands of a clock (a dnb drum line), rolls down a chute into a waiting toaster (a sultry torch song vocal sample), pops up into the hands of an awaiting mannequin (an electro-tech chainsaw riff), and is thrown across the room, which somehow causes everyone within to travel through time. The idea of blending together every imaginable thing might seem surprising for a guy whose namesake is a Greek myth about hubris, but after all, that myth is basically the first recorded instance of steampunk–madcap inventor, beautiful and impossible inventions, inaccurate but charming pseudo-science–it’s all there. Show up for Daedelus and you’re in for something gleefully convoluted. Don’t let him be the only one dressed like Dr. Who. [Ben Gray]
Bonobo (DJ Set)
Fri 7.13 | Ninja Tune Showcase, Label Tent | 11:30pm-? | UK producer and DJ Simon Green, aka Bonobo, is exceptional with his hands. By that, I mean that in order to get the sound he wants, he samples himself playing the instruments, from hand-drums to xylophones to the double bass, often performing with a live band and vocalist Andreya Triana. Guy’s got the whole music world in his hands, and also makes the goddamn sexiest downtempo music I’ve ever heard. His multifaceted musical knowledge is probably why his DJ sets feel like a fresh breath of life. Break from the the monotonous drones, glitch and gut-wrenching drops outside of the Ninja Tune Tent on Friday, and slip into his smooth, soulful realm. It’s the simple recipes that strike me: finger-picked riffs and vocal samples that melt you like a caress, layered over hip-hop or funky tropical percussion so infectious it causes shivers. “We are far from grace” floats over bodies moving genuinely with beats in one gorgeous flow, until you let yourself go, become weightless, and touch. Bonobo’s music is like a forbidden fruit that sets you free, with never a dull moment, only fire, passion, and expertly positioned twists to keep you guessing. His sets will mesmerize you all the way to the end, when you’ll walk out of the tent changed. [Lauren Metter]
Thu 7.12 | Main Stage 1 | 7pm-8pm | There’s a certain subset of women about whom you can fantasize them smashing you in the face with a bottle of whiskey and not feel any particular cognitive dissonance about it. Alice Glass of Crystal Castles is one of those women. Part of it is just how she looks. Skinny and sneering as any CBGB denizen, make-uped into the uncanny valley, she’s the kind of half-alien, hostile force of anything-but-nature that’s completely irresistible. But mostly, it’s the music that lures you. Glass’s largely-unintelligible screeching is played down into a mix of undulating, beautiful melodies that break without warning into abrasive static and synth and back again, giving one the impression that they’re dealing with someone schizophrenic, or perhaps on some very volatile cocktail of illegal substances. The music is the kind of person you follow at 4am from party to parsty, loving every minute and also wondering if you’re about to experience a lot of physical pain. And also musing if, when the pain comes, you’ll like it. Bring a towel. [Ben Gray]
Fri 7.13 | Main Stage 2 | 10:15pm-11:30pm | Oh, hey, wow, Amon Tobin at Bisco? NICE. He’s only been doing the “breaking sonic barriers” thing for 15 years now, psh, visionary of electronic music, score-writer for gargantuan video games, cross-section of his musical repertoire performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. What’s that? He’s doing that huge ISAM production where he plays inside a white cube surrounded by stacked fractals arranged in a geometric pattern so projections can dance along to the preternatural, low-frequency sounds of the album of that same name—creating a hundred alternate universes and making us feel like we’re on some sort of dance music rocket ship hurtling into magic Amon-Tobin land? AHH HE’S AN ALIEN!!!! This Brazilian-born producer will turn your brain to mush while recording the sound of your brain turning to mush, and then digitally manipulate that sound with his Continuum Fingerboard and make a brand spanking new sonic brain-buster. There you fucking go. Do not miss this show. [Lauren Metter]
Sat 7.14 | Label Tent | approx. 1:30/2am-? | Let’s face it, at one time or another most of us have wished that we lived in a montage. Especially the kind of montage in which people chill on the steps of a New York apartment building, drive around in Cadillacs, and drink on fire escapes. Gramatik’s hip-hop productions, the spiritual descendants of RJD2, put you squarely in that world. The soul runs pretty deep in his universe, and not just because of the layers of soul that went into the compositions. Anyone can put together an R&B vocal with a chill bassline and a slow hip-hop beat, but the sound of classic soul comes from restraint – you have to leave enough space for all those lovely melodies to breathe, while still providing enough groove to keep a listener bouncing. Gramatik is all about balance – and he’s one of the few opportunities to be outdoors and still feel like you’re in a smoky lounge. [Ben Gray]
Fri 7.13 | Showcase Stage | 6:45-7:30pm | If you’re going to get your fill at Camp Bisco, please get your Wobblesauce with that. The beloved local live electronic trio, Jake Boynton (Bass), Cody Rountree (Drums and E-Drums), and Michael Micharthy (Keys, Synth, and production), original founders and current curators with The Brain Trust of the popular Wobble Wednesdays at Wonder Bar, deserve to be alongside the big guys at Camp Bisco, because their sound is huge. A seamless blend of organic and electronic sounds laced with an unmatched energy that shines during their live show, Wobblesauce is able to get any crowd on their feet and dancing--they’ve made their mark at festivals throughout the country. A Wobblesauce set is like a feast for all of the senses: from dubby bass lines to explorative glitch to straight up dance-jams, these guys will always stay true to keeping it funky, fresh, and real. This is one party you do not want to miss. [Lauren Metter]
Thu 7.12 | Label tent | 8-9:15pm | The distance between classical and electronic music has never been terribly great. Don’t laugh. If Bach had heard Daft Punk’s “Aerodynamic,” he’d have had to change his breeches and stockings. Even so, it’s not always easy to see the connections beyond baroque to more evolving, evocative composers. Virtual Boy, with their classical training and Daft Punk-esque use of electrified vocals, helps fill that gap. Occupying some sonic space between Boards of Canada, Baths, and Air, a Virtual Boy song starts in one place and ends in another – they’re exercises in storytelling that have more to do with emotion than dance (though that happens too), more in common with Robyn than with Skrillex (though they do get heavy sometimes), and more resonance with the experience of savoring the complexity of a fine wine than with head-banging (though of course that’s welcome). Think opera, but with dancing. Well, other dancing. [Ben Gray]
Sat 7.14 | Fool’s Gold Clubhouse, Label Tent | 8:45-10pm | *Smacks Kanye West off stage* Yo seriously, Kanye, we have had ENOUGH. Of ALL of your lights. And we refuse to say we first recognize Craze as the DJ for your damned Glow in the Dark Tour. Let’s just say this: there’s one guy at this fest who wont’ have to worry about the mosquitos this weekend: and that’s Craze. The Scratch-master has won so many awards behind turntables that his ridiculously long list of titles will now fill up the rest of this entry: first place for the USA DMC Championships in 1998, World ITF Scratch Off Championships in 1998, ITF Western Hemisphere Scratch Off Championships (1998, ’99), Winter Music Conference Scratch Off Champion (1996, ’97, ’98, ’99), East Coast DMC Championships (1997), East Coast Rap Sheet Championships (1996) and Zulu National Championships (1995, ’96), to name but a few. Additionally, DJ Craze claimed 2nd place in the first DMC Team Championship with his Allies’ crew (which included fellow champions A-Trak and Infamous) in 1999 and then in 2000, the Allies’ won the Team Championship title, taking it from the previous year’s winners the Scratch Perverts. Craze is also a world-renown producer, dropping drum’n'bass records on labels like Cartel Recordings and Breakbeat Kaos and other hip hop productions with DMC Records, Ninja Tune, OM and K7 Records. Phew! [Lauren Metter]
Fri 7.13 | Ninja Tune, Label Tent | 9pm-10pm | Try to imagine a robot possessed by spirits of Aphex Twin, Caspa, and Girl Talk, presiding over a party at your local space station/dive bar. You probably think I’m going to tell you that’s what Starkey sounds like. Yes and no. Characterizing Starkey’s music is a difficult thing to do without making it sound completely different from what it is. His own term for his sound, “Street Bass,” is itself only somewhat useful, given that he routinely swerves between what could perhaps be classified as dubstep, hip-hop, and what is probably more properly termed left-field house (or maybe IDM), in addition to his totally intergalactic soundscapes. You can also certainly count on this dynamic Philly-based DJ to bounce and swerve just as much behind the turntables as he spins. To be sure, it’s got some heavy elements, and there’s sure to be plenty of hip-hop involved, but when it comes together, Starkey’s sets really epitomize how useless genrefication can be. Fortunately, when you’re in the Ninja Tune tent you don’t have to worry about that. Or much of anything. [Ben Gray]
Fri 7.13 | Label Tent | 12:30pm-1:30pm | According to cokemachineglow.com (?) (It’s 3am right now.), “There are essentially two breeds of music lover in Canada: those who believe Rich Aucoin to be one of the best live performers currently working, and those who’ve yet to have the pleasure of experiencing Rich Aucoin perform live. “ The photographer friend we made at NXNE last year was of the former breed, telling us if we picked one show not to miss at the fest, it should be the “best live show. Period.” Of Halifax indie rock musician, Rich Aucion. I use the term “indie rock” loosely, as his live show injects any dreaded, dumb synth pop anthem with so much unbridled energy he creates dance parties equivalent to any late-night tent rave at Bisco. I will say that giving him a 1pm set time kind of sucks on the Biscuits’ part (could they perhaps have given up ONE of their 5 sets to give him a better time?) But if anyone can prove timeslots wrong, it’s Aucoin. I mean, he did bike across Canada dressed as the Grinch who Stole Christmas to give all of the money to charity. And when I first saw him, he won me over when he threw a giant parachute over our heads, which we all lifted as he ran under with us and started a giant dance party. It was pretty phenomenal. [Lauren Metter]
. . .
LAST MINUTE CAMP BISCO TIP SHEET
- Don’t die.
- WATER. It’s the elixir of life. Bring an exorbitant amount of water. If you think you have enough water, you don’t. Bring more.
- Bring cash. You’ll want something. You might not know what it is until some dude walks by with it, but you’ll want it.
- Don’t bother asking anyone where anything is. Especially the festival staff. Last year, the answer was pretty much “I dunno, man… ask that [staff] guy over there,” which only led to an endless cycle of non-answers. No matter how simple, just don’t ask.
- Everyone has heard that Skrillex song already. Turn off your car stereo.
- If you lose all of your friends, don’t give up hope. Due to some unknown cosmic force that dominates the Bisco vortex, you will somehow bump into them within three hours, amongst 20,000 kids. This phenomenon is inexplicable, kind of like when you think you see your ex boyfriend’s car everywhere when you’re trying to avoid him. Whatever’s on your mind tends to find you, so it’s no use worrying.
- You might not eat very much. Like, for three days. That’s ok. Eat later.
- If your name is Molly, change your name for the weekend. Just in case someone is actually looking for you.
- Don’t try to plan out your fest experience. It will fail. The best part of huge fests is when you take two hours to just wander around. Oh, the things you will see.
- Meet new people. Festival friends are great because they’re best friends without the baggage of long-term commitment. Chill with the neighbors, get into as many random conversations as possible, and then say goodbye on day three … forever. And tell stories about them for years to come.
- Use protection. As good of an idea as it may sound in Fucked Up Happy Land, we don’t want any Bisco babies.
- Sleep. At least once. At least for a while.
- Bring sneakers. How you gonna wear flip-flops, girl, you be trippin’!
- Be a kid again. You know your 9-5 desk job? Your shitty landlord and crazy roommate? That massive pile of bills you’ve been ignoring for months? That doesn’t exist here. For one weekend, let yourself be totally free.
- Bring tarps. It might not rain, but. If it does like it has every year for like the past six years at Bisco … just bring tarps.
- Look at the stars. There’s a lot more of them outside the city. The best conversations about existence will happen in the middle of the night, backs side-by-side on the cool grass, eyes focused on things that are way bigger than you.
- Don’t worry about the purple devil monster in your tent. He’s just here to party. Why do you think he brought all that salsa? Just get on the time-travelling motorcycle with him and go check out that unicorn singles night he hasn’t shut up about for the last 45 minutes.
Everything will be fine.
FOR CAMP BISCO UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND, BE SURE TO FOLLOW @CAMPBISCO, HASHTAG #CAMPBISCO11, AND @HAVEYOUMETTER, WHO WILL BE REPORTING LIVE FROM CAMP BISCO AGAIN THIS YEAR. CHECK OUT LAST YEAR’S COVERAGE [DAY I // DAY II // DAY III] FOR WHAT TO EXPECT.