[live review + video] Camp Bisco: An appendix

This is a follow-up to my brief review of Camp Bisco that appears in this week's issue. First read that over here, then read this over here.

Because 300 words is hardly enough to wrap what essentially amounted to 63 straight hours of music. Because the bands I labeled standouts in my TJI deserve more rub than the single sentence of praise I was able to afford them. And because, even though I mentioned SKRILLEX and BASSNECTAR in my brief recap, I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea and thinking they were highlights of the festival.

They weren't. Actually, they were exactly what you'd probably imagine a Skrillex/Bassnectar show to play out like in your head -- undulating fist pumpage, flames, shitty haircuts --  but any review not granting them mention would be incomplete. Their mainstage performances drew the two biggest crowds of the weekend and although my dubstep-phobic ears repented, the kids ate that shit up.

But I'm not here to hate, so I'll stay focused on the positives. There were a lot of them. And not just the picturesque weather and hassle free entry I referenced in my truncated print review.

For as balls-to-the-wall the festival can be at times, Thursday is mostly constructed around chilling. The music starts a bit later in the day affording everyone an opportunity to unwind following their travel. I opted for a nap myself.

All that went by the wayside around dusk though, not coincidentally around the time CRYSTAL CASTLES took to the mainstage. Having only ever seen them in the recesses of a pitch black club -- where their generous use of strobes only further contribute to their maniacal stage presence -- I doubted whether their live show would translate to the broad daylight.

About two-minutes into their set however, at the exact moment when Alice Glass thrust herself deep past the first couple rows of audience, I realized that watching someone recklessly fling themselves in harms way over-and-over again is just as enjoyable during the day as it is at night. For their 30-minute outing, they drew evenly from both their self-titled efforts for a set that saw Glass cozying up to Ethan Kath to slam some e-drums only when she wasn't moonwalking over the crowd. A properly delirious table-setter for the succeeding Skrillex/Biscuits 1,2 wallop.

Friday took about as long to warm-up as Thursday. This was in spite of a ratchet early afternoon set of unrecognizable techno from ORCHARD LOUNGE and an breezily out-of-place (but-still-welcome) tryst from PORTUGAL. THE MAN. I blame BIG BOI for stunting the momentum. Thirty-minutes is generally my threshold for standing around and waiting for a late act to take the stage, but yet I opted for 45 because, hey, it's Big Boi.

Allowing seminal UK label Ninja Tune to rekindle my charge, I ventured from the mainstage to an outlying tent where they'd be curating an afternoon of music. Not being aware that the prominent producer even DJ'd before wandering up to his set, BLOCKHEAD proved to be the surprise of the festival, delivering a concentrated array of screw-yo-face hip-hop beats. Immediately following him came FALTYDL. I've hyped him plenty in the past, but he really deserves all the praise. The most prevalent stateside ambassador of a brand of bass that has completely blown overseas, dudes got chops, slicing a number of familiar tunes to the point of faint recognition and sprinkling them throughout his outing.

Nothing up to that point would prepare me for the next ‘set' though. AMON TOBIN has been traveling the world for the past year or so on his ISAM tour, in support of his most recent album of the same name. It's built around a large mass of glowing cubes, all jutting from the stage at random intervals, and it looked cool enough from the YouTube clips I'd seen, so whatever, I wandered over to take a look. Judging from the pre-show look on everyone around me's face, I was either in for something special or all the acid had just kicked in, for everyone. Turned out to be a combination of both, as a woman's voice appeared over the PA system, warning everyone to put down their floaty toys and signs, and then a curtain dropped, revealing Tobin's vessel.

I've batted around a number of comparisons since, and the best I can come up with is the MOM ride at Jordan's Furniture, in terms of both his projections giving you the feeling of taking off into space and the pristine surround sound. Except you're not really taking off anywhere, you're standing in a dust bowl of a field. And the sound should presumably be the same quality it was for the rest of the acts on the weekend. But therein lies the magic. Tobin milked the system until the cow was dead -- flinging some of the most unsettling IDM sounds I've ever heard (trip-hop, DnB, breakbeat) around the field like the mainstage area was his personal playground. Really made everyone else seem like amateurs in comparison. He's coming to our House of Blues on September 12th. Just go.

Because my mind was properly flogged, Saturday ended up being a bit of a wash. The three Disco Biscuits sets were amongst the best they played all weekend and I was able to salvage enough energy to make it to the late nights. A-TRAK traverses a thin line between superstar DJ and seemingly chill bro. His set possessed the auditory and visual bombast of a Kaskade -- or whatever the kids are raging to nowadays -- but his hip-hop leanings are enough to keep me on board. SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO reeled things back in a bit in terms of flair, but the dirt wedged within their beats proved a fitting complement to my mud caked self.

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