The Disco Biscuits, Bank of America Pavillion, Boston, MA – 9/11
Photo by Jillian Jessup
March 19th 2010 was, to say the least, a trying day for the Disco Biscuits’ organization. After guitarist Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig broke his hand for ambiguous reasons the previous night in Albany, the group was forced to cancel their upcoming performance in Montclair, NJ, and was left scrambling for substitutes to perform with them that night at Boston’s House of Blues. And though Chris Michetti of Raq and Joey Zarick of The Indobox both contributed their guitar chops for a pretty kickass set of music, the venue’s failure to remedy violations incurred at a show earlier in the week resulted in the cancellation of the Biscuits’ second set. And though the decision to cut the show was beyond the control of the band, angry fans proceeded to pelt the stage with beverages and garbage in a half-baked attempt at satisfaction.
And while such a chaotic evening may have created bad blood in the minds of lesser performers, the Biscuits charged back into Beantown less than five months later to perform for one of their largest crowds to date at Boston’s waterfront Bank of America Pavilion on September 11th; this time bringing along a huge supporting cast that included Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan, Mimosa, and RJD2.
“You know, circumstances are circumstances,” said bassist Marc Brownstein about the group’s last Boston performance. “I think we managed to put together at least one pretty awesome set of music that night, and all we can do now is deliver like we would at any other show.”
“And that was just one night in the history of a band,” added Disco Biscuits’ publicist Drew Granchelli. “And here they are coming off that show to play the biggest venue in town. And whether it’s your first Disco Biscuits show, your 500th, or your 10th night in a row seeing the band, everyone knows that every Disco Biscuits show is the best party of the year.”
And while “best” is an entirely subjective term, The Biscuits certainly had the 5,000 guests in attendance partying their asses off. Indeed, after Raekwon and Mimosa warmed up the audience, the Biscuits exploded out of the gates with a huge “Overture” opener that set the tone for an evening of extended jams chock full of exploratory peaks and valleys. And after wobbling through the dubstep inflections of “Pimp Blue Rikki,” the band bounced right into another bustout with the opening notes of “Little Shimmy In a Conga Line,” before the jam was launched back into the deepest dimensions of outer space, only to land in the serene ‘suspended in the air’ section of “Astronaut.” And after the band salsa’d their way back into the end of “Shimmy” to close the first set, the audience prepared to rage the second set that never came at the House of Blues.
But when the band re-entered the stage, Brownstein announced that the second set was written by an elite group of “1999 Disco Biscuits tour-heads,” promising plenty of old school, feel good tunes for the final piece of the late summer tour. And after hinting at a “Basis for a Day” opener, the band departed into a welcome “Run Like Hell,” that furiously drove into the first inverted “Portal To an Empty Head,” illustrating the versatility and range of one of their most popular new tunes. “Portal” then gave way to a complete “I-Man,” before hopping into the jazzy progressions of “Aceetobee.” The jam then effortlessly transformed into the many beeps and boops of “Spacebirdmatingcall,” until Barber charged to the front of the soundscape to lead the group into a gigantic “Bernstein and Chasnoff” ending to finish the set.
And in stark contrast to the March House of Blues show, a tangible positive energy was spread throughout the Pavilion as thousands of fans banged on their seats and screamed for one more chance to get down before the venue’s early 11PM curfew. And though the encore departed from the sentimental feel of the second set with the brand new “Feeling Twisted,” the fans still showed the Biscuits plenty of love before they exited the stage for the final time.
So while it may have seemed that The Disco Biscuits and the city of Boston were headed for a rough breakup, a little planning and a lot of showmanship promise that the two can have a healthy relationship long into the future.