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Reviews > Shows

Published: 2010/09/20
by Dan Warry-Smith

The Disco Biscuits, The Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY – 9/8 & 9/9

Photo by Tammy Wetzel

“Only suckers miss Buffalo Biscuits.”

It’s a phrase that has been kicking around Bisco-Land for a few years since the Allen Aucoin era ushered in a series of consistently stellar performances in the unofficial capital of Western New York. Additionally, anyone who has stepped foot inside The Town Ballroom would attest that it’s about as ideal as a venue can be. The “bad boys” of the jam scene stayed true to their local reputation, turning in a pair of top notch shows on the home stretch of their late-summer tour.

L.A.‘s Glitch Mob disappointed a good portion of the crowd in opening both nights, as the trio’s repetitive drumming and gimmicky touch-screen midi controllers failed to disguise the often mediocre nature of the music. Fellow California native MiMOSA handled his setbreak slots with more success, his dubstep-steeped beats alternating from smooth and sexy to downright grimy. Both support acts would be served well by reducing the frequency of Drake samples in their sets.

The inaugural Biscuits set of the two-night run closed impressively with the fan-friendly combo of classics “Mindless Dribble” > “Floes.” Keyboardist Aron Magner distinguished his hot hands early, sprinkling the “Dribble” jam with delay-drenched piano flourishes before Aucoin picked up the pace and initiated the segue. Set two boasted ninety minutes of nonstop music book-ended by “Basis For A Day,” the band’s definitive instrumental opus. “Bombs,” a new tune that debuted in July, continued to be an improv workhorse with a dark jam into “The Great Abyss.” While Wednesday was no slouch as a whole, the consensus after the show spoke to high expectations for improvement in round two.

Thursday night lived up to that forecast and then some. From the maiden moments of the “Voices Insane” opener, it was clear that this would be a special show. Patience was the name of the game, and the transition into “Air Song” was steady, fluid, and eventually explosive. Guitarist Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig moved over to his midi keyboard for a portion of the “Air Song” jam while Marc Brownstein tastefully explored the neck of his bass. Barber returned to the axe, complimenting Magner’s dreamy pad work as a massive dance-rock peak developed before resolving into the end of “Voices.”

The Brownstein-penned “Mirrors” appeared next, delighting the audience with its bouncy pop vibe before finding its way into a synth bass-led slice of unscripted downtempo fire. The band’s newly minted laser lights then took centre stage, deployed in a more cultivated manner than the barrage fans witnessed at Camp Bisco as the band locked into a tough jam replete with Aucoin’s vicious fills and Magner’s heavy lead lines. The closing couplet of “Naeba” > “Sound One” left the crowd chomping at the bit for the impending final set.

The keyboards were unstoppable in this last series of tunes, as the band returned with a drawn-out version of “Spaga.” Solidifying his bid for Buffalo MVP, Magner owned the room with a constantly evolving torrent of sounds. The techno madness coming out of recent rarity “Nughuffer” contained blissful peaks and a monster version of the newer “Catalyst” was improbably topped by the arpeggiated electronic insanity it spawned. The encore selection of another longtime favorite, Barber’s “House Dog Party Favor,” was a gesture befitting the relationship between the band and city.

Don’t be a sucker. See The Disco Biscuits the next time they play Buffalo.

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