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Published: 2007/03/22
by Ian Stone

Readers Choice:The Top Ten Disco Biscuits Shows of 2006

Last month we offered a Reader’s Choice of the Top Ten Gov’t Mule Shows of 2006. This month, we offer one fan’s look at the Biscuits. Please send along your own list, whether it be a Top 10 for this past year, of all-time, or another category of your choosing. Send it our way-

The Disco Biscuits spent the late part of 2005 in transition after founding drummer Sam Altman left to attend medical school. In November 2005, however, the group started a new chapter with Allen Aucoin. The red-headed drummer won the spot after a series of auditions including a drum-off show held in Atlantic City. Aucoin certainly proved himself at that gig, tearing up the skins for the entire second set and encore, which featured such songs “Hot Air Balloon,” “Spy,” “Save the Robots,” “Confrontation” and “Munchkin Invasion.” As the drum-off came to a close, it became quite apparent who would take Altman’s place.

With Aucoin ringing in the new years run in December 2005, it marked a new and exciting time for the Disco Biscuits. It was a time that everyone was excited about; for both the band and the fans it was finally a time to get together again and do a tour which was dubbed “Biscuits 2.0.” Here is a sampling of the top ten choice shows of 2006; of course there were many great ones and it was tough to narrow it down to this list, but these are the must haves’ for your collection in 2006.

03/10/06 Revolution, Fort Lauderdale, FL

This was a late-night show during the Langerado Music festival, and I would say that this was really when Aucoin really began to hit his stride with the band. With a New Year’s run under his belt, and countless hours of rehearsal, this was the first show where I felt that Aucoin was finally comfortable. From start to finish, they did not let up, and the “I’ve Got a Feeling” was certainly a treat in the second set. The show was at a small outdoor club complete with the summer-like breeze. It was Biscuits in their prime.

3/20/06 Jam in the ‘Dam, the Melkweg, Amsterdam

Shortly after Langerado the Biscuits set out for Europe to play the Jam in the Dam festival. Being veterans of the Jam in the Dam, the Disco Biscuits knew what to expect. With excellent cover choices and powerful originals, this was one of the year’s best shows. Listen back to the “Mindless Dribble>I’ve Got a Feeling>Dribble” extra closely. The segues are perfect and the jam into “Rock Candy” at the end hits incredible heights.

05/05/06 Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL

Knowing each other as not only colleagues, but also friends; the Disco Biscuits decided to collaborate with Umphrey’s McGee this night. But this wasn’t any ordinary collaboration. In fact, the bands weren’t even in the same city. They were both playing shows in each other’s hometown, so decided to cover one another’s songs. The Disco Biscuits opened set two with the Umphrey’s song “In the Kitchen” and Umphrey’s McGee opened their second set with the Biscuits song “Home Again”. Other notable moments in this show include the “Cyclone>Rock Candy” segue, and the encore of “Munchkin Invasion” with a slice of “Great Abyss.”

06/16/06 Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN

For many, this was the pinnacle set of Bonnaroo 2006. The Biscuits played a late night show in the Other Tent, which included their debut of “Bach’s Inventio 32,” which really makes this set special. A cover of “Pinball Wizard” sandwiched in with an inverted “42” made the set interesting, put peaked towards the end with a powerful “Basis for a Day>Cyclone>Basis for a Day.” “Save the Robots>Bach’s Inventio 32” is reason enough to get a copy of this show.

07/02/06 High Sierra Music Festival, Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds, Quincy, CA

It’s late night at a fairgrounds in the Sierra Nevada mountains and it’s the final day of the High Sierra Music Festival. The Disco Biscuits have returned to High Sierra for the first time in three years when they played in the Hi-Sierra Music Hall. This time around, they played the smaller room called the Funk’n Jamhouse. They didn’t funk it or jam it they blew it up. Throughout the night they alternated from “I-Man>Helicopters” multiple times, sending the crowd on an incredible mind trip. “The Overture>Bach’s Inventio 3>The Overture” was pure genius, and Barber’s guitar work on this one was epic. There are so many great shows in 2006, but I will have to say this set was my favorite. From start to finish, they just don’t let up.

08/26/06 Camp Bisco V, Hunter Mountain Ski and Lodge, Hunter, NY

Camp Bisco is the summer festival that has never been a let down since its inception. I remember when it was on a farm with around 500 people in 1999 and, now, it has grown into a large-scale festival. The line up this year was great, with a variety of styles and genres, and even late-night electronica to keep the kids dancing through the night. Psy-trance pioneer Simon Posford was on hand and actually sat in with the Disco Biscuits at the end of their first set; segueing into his scheduled set break of hallucinogen music. It was an incredible way for the Disco Biscuits to end the set, and it paved the way not only for future collaborations with Posford, but influenced the Biscuits style in many ways. “House Dog” was prevalent in set two, and along with an Air cover, and the completed “7-11” from the previous night it was the perfect way to end the festival.

11/19/06 Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO

This was just one of those nights where magic was in the air. Of all the shows on the fall tour, I would have to say that the Fox takes the cake. While the setlist looks good, it does not do justice to the musical genius that transpired inside the Fox Theater in Boulder, Co that night. Starting off the show with “Chemical Warfare Brigade”, the crowd really got into it. “Memphis” set the stage for one of the best versions of “Above the Waves” that I’ve heard. The energy of the room was vibrating during the setbreak, and left everyone wondering how they could top themselves. But they came out, and they did. “Astronaut>Ladies>Astronaut” may have been the highlight of the show, but the “Magellan” encore sandwiched in with “O Fortuna” was quite nice too. Everyone left the fox with grins from ear-to-ear.

11/25/06 Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY

I find it quite hard to choose between the first and second nights at the Hammerstein ballroom because they were both incredible shows (and three times the size of the Fox in Boulder, where I had seen them the previous week). Set 1 started strong and ended even stronger. With “Spacebirdmatingcall” leading into a smooth stretched out basis, the balconies were already shaking like crazy; and everyone went nuts as soon as they busted into a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes.” They did not finish the song, and instead created a trippy loop which continued throughout the setbreak. It was like a scene from Night of the Living Dead or something as the loop continued the lights came on and everyone seemed confused; bumping into one another and trying to make their way to the bar and bathrooms. The view of the floor from the balcony looked like the most confused group of people; not really knowing where to go or what to do with themselves. The loop continued for duration of the setbreak—-roughly 45 minutes—-when the lights dimmed back down and the band returned; picking up right where they left off and finishing “Echoes.” A mix of jam-staples and rarities like “Hot Air Balloon,” “Mindless Dribble,” and “Digital Buddha>Mr. Don” rounded out the end of the set. Though I definitely recommend checking out this show, the set-break segue will never translate to tape.

12/07/06 The Roxy, W. Hollywood, CA

This was the Biscuits’ first time playing an actual tour’ out west in years, and they were back with a vengeance. Selling out two nights in Los Angeles at the historic Roxy; they knew they had to deliver. The second set on the second night was really the highlight for me, with an incredible version of “Spacebirdmatingcall,” which led into a powerful “Astronaut” which had the whole room pumping their fists in the air which reminded me of the Wetlands days back in 1998. There’s something magical that the Biscuits do when they’re playing small rooms like that. The crowd gets into it and the energy builds to the point of explosion. They wouldn’t even pause for a moment, and with “Astronaut” took us straight then into “Basis for A Day” and circled back to “Spacebird” to finish the sandwich. “Spy” ended the set with a really cool twist; the “jam” section of Guns N Roses “November Rain” and Jon “the Barber” Gutwillig really shredded it just like Axl Rose.

12/30/06 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA

Although you’d think New Years Eve would typically be the pick of the New Year’s run, I would have to dub the E-Factory show as the pick of the litter. With Simon Posford’s Hallucinogen opening the show, the mood for the evening was set. Everyone was already raging by the time the biscuits hit the stage, and in similar fashion to Camp Bisco; they segued from Simon’s opening set into the Biscuits’ set with “Gamma Gobblins” and sandwiched the song with “Voices Insane” and “Crystal Ball” throughout the set. Set two was another sandwich-fest, this time with “Above the Waves” and “Crickets” being most prevalent. Download this show if you can, it is certainly a must-hear.

Honorable Mentions:

4/14 and 4/15/06 Higher Ground, Burlington, VT: Wind at Four to Fly CD Release party. First time that the biscuits play “Abraxis” and “Step Inside”

4/30/06 Exit Inn Nashville, TN: Incredible “Above the Waves” and “Story of the World” sandwiches make this one notable.

10/31/06 Halloween Masquerade Ball Orpheum Theater Boston, MA: This show included some incredible bust outs like “In the Flesh” (Pink Floyd), “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (Rolling Stones) and “O Fortuna” (Carl Orff), as well as a version of “Digital Buddha” performed with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Backup Choir on vocals.

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