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Published: 2008/11/22
by Lauren Sutter

Conspirator / Orchard Lounge / Telepath, Highline Ballroom, NYC- 10/31

The Highline Ballroom was home to Halloween debauchery this year with very special guests from all over. Russell Brand from England, Alice from Wonderland, Mad Hatter, Thing1 and Thing 2 and even the Pickle Guy came to party. The dance floor was packed when headliner Conspirator took the stage, with soaking wet fans pushing forward to proudly wave their hands in a come hither motion, signifying the desire for an all night dance party. And sure enough, Aron Magner, Marc Brownstein and surprise guest Allen Aucion, gave a tri-umphant set full of fast-paced drumbeats, piano riffs and pumping bass lines.
The venue was tinier than expected, having to walk through double glass doors to enter the stage area after a steep walk up darkly lit stairs, but the intimacy provided an amazing energy all night. The stage was appropriately decorated with a mound of fresh pumpkins, a mirror-mosaic of a jack-o-lantern, a graveyard headstone inscribed with R.I.P Jack Black, and front-row stragglers waiting for the show to start.
Telepath opened to a small gathering, which was disappointing, but that didnt stop them from playing their hearts out for the tiny crowd. Opening with Global Rights, a smooth dub jam with Afro-beat horns as a central focus, helped ease the crowd into motion for the Halloween showdown. Telepath gets crowds to get-down from their ability to mix down-tempo with world music influence, transporting you to other cultures for a more diversified sound and aura at their shows. Subterfuge, a show energizer song from their new album, Contact, features string, wind and percussion instruments from eastern countries, and with background synthesized space sounds and funky break beat, it feels as though you are running through a Bazaar in India, without paying the hefty price of a plane ticket.

Photo by Jesse Borrell

Then Orchard Lounge, all dressed as Pilots, provided a smooth transition towards a limitless mixture of sounds from house and techno, to downbeat and hip-hop. Their assorted combination of music ensures a good time, and their popularity is only appropriate for having been on the scene for almost a decade now.
Before Conspirator took the stage though, fans eagerly discussed whom the special guest would be. So when Allen Aucion took his seat at the full drum set, everyone knew that Conspirator was going to play extra dirty in honor of Hallows Eve. They opened up with Step Inside, a conglomeration of drum n bass beats featuring spine-chilling piano riffs from Magner.
But of course with the Election only a few days after Halloween, before jamming into the eerie, funk-fused George W. Bush is Satan, Brownstein mandated everyone to go out and vote to prove how qualified us young-folk are in making important decisions about whats best for our country. Then Brownstein got a little sentimental before Oname Wa, shouting out to old drummer Sam Altman. Allen then played so hard, maybe out of respect for Altman that his hands looked as though they separated from the rest of his body, floating in the air while hardcore, flawless drum beat emanated from the stage.

Photo by Jesse Borrell

The rest of the Conspirator set was body numbing. People grabbed onto the stage to keep balance while dancing to the floor, feet were trampled on from bouncing bodies while Brownstein dropped his bass a few times to play on samples and engross the crowd more by hand-pumping along to the music. Towards the end of the set though, Curt Heiny, bassist from Telepath, joined Conspirator for a tight, heart-melting Loco Street Devil, with deep driving bass lines and melodic ambient piano jams.
Halloween brought out the energy in everyone, making the show a complete success between performer and attendee. A great show provides great talent, and each and every artist brought something electric to the table during the evening. Conspirator allows diehard Disco Biscuits fans to get their fill during Biscuits tour breaks, and measuring the nature of how the Triscuits played that night, it is a great preview of the music to come in 2009.

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