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Published: 2002/12/30
by Dan Greenhaus

The Disco Biscuits, Roseland Ballroom, NYC- 12/28

Mom said there would be days like this

Pulling into Roseland for the second stop on their year-end
celebration, The Disco Biscuits seemed poised to play yet another amazing New
York show. The band always seems to step it up in the
city, most notably the 9/1/01 Wetlands show, the second set of which is
widely regarded as being one of the best sets they've ever performed.
Taking that into consideration, add in the previous night being low on the
energy scale, and the fact that 2002 has arguably been the best year in the
band's history, featuring arguably the finest tour in the band's history
(fall), and the formula existed for an explosive show. However, despite the
aforementioned notes, the band was only able to put on brief displays of the
greatness that fans have been accustomed to on a regular basis, sandwiched
in between average versions of many of their songs.

Of course, when a band is committed to improv and the moment, evenings like this are going to
happen. Even the best band in the world isn't great for every single song
on every single night. And as such, it's nights like Saturday night at
Roseland that make fans love the The Disco Biscuits, and their music, that
much more. As a fans in the jamband community, we allow our heroes to take
chances and to experiment, knowing full well that it is not going to work
out perfectly every single time. However, with the Biscuits, the fanbase
has become used to seeing the band peak on numerous occasions every single
night, leave alone every tour. But of course, even the Yankees don't win every game.

From the night's outset, things seemed to be…....."off". A guest
appearance by Jack McLoy from "Law and Order" started things off with a
mock-speech about shutting down the venue for the night, reminding me
wholeheartedly of the police commissioner shutting down The Doors in New
Haven. However, he eventually introduced the band, who immediately launched
into "And the Ladies Were the Rest of the Night" which segued
lackadaisically into the ending of "Digital Buddha". And it was that
lackadaisical style of jamming (perhaps "forced" is a better word) that
permeated the show, with brief respites in the form of the first set "Story
of the World—>Little Betty Boop" and, in the second set, the
"Triumph—>Story of the World". Both of those jams featured fantastic
interplay between Aron Magner on keys and guitarist Jon Gutwillig, as they
played musical tag with each other, over Marc Brownstein's thumping bass,
and Sam Altman's drum machine-like beats. Unfortunately, those might have
been the only times the band as a whole really "locked in". What's weird is
that on paper, the show as a whole looks quite good, however it just didn't
translate into reality as at times the band seemed to just be going through the
motions of sorts.

Despite my criticisms, I still enjoyed the night as a whole, thanks to the
those two jams, not to mention the dozens of fans from across the country
that are in town for the Biscuits' end of year tour. As the next three nights
in Philly will probably attest, The Disco Biscuits have a lot more energy
to offer, and a lot more energy to take.

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