The 10th-annual Camp Bisco concluded Saturday and late into yesterday morning, and I can only imagine what the camp grounds look like right now, as the mini communities of attendees, campers, venders and staff alike clear the grounds almost as quickly as they arrived. On-site Saturday felt like a refreshed Bisco, with new life breathed in from those who opted for the Day-only pass and it was almost as if the first two days were now a distant memory. The fresh slate from Saturday also could be due to the absolutely fucking perfect summer weather; nothing but blue skies, temperatures in the high 80s, bright sunshine that dried up the mud from the previous night and then completely cooling off as night fell.
dfa1979 by andrew franciosa
Andrew and I arrived on site just in time to catch the start of Dillon Francis‘ set in the Mad Decent tropical tent featuring the latest in moombahton. The genre is the latest direction that electronic music has been taking, and it’s essentially considered to be a cross-pollination of dance genres (house, techno, dubstep) and tropical bass (reggaeton, dutch house) slowed down to mid-tempo 108bpm range. Anyhow, for Bisco, Mad Decent brought newer talents to the line-up, featuring Jillionaire, Munchi, Nadastrom and Dillon Francis. However, Munchi had problems with his visa and didn’t make it over to the states in time to play the festival. Dillon Francis covered his set, and from what Andrew and I heard, it was spectacular.
If Mad Decent’s only goal was to play good music and have a lot of fun, I’d say mission accomplished without a doubt. People were dripping sweat, nonstop dancing and it was also gratifying to see a huge ass grin on Dillon Francis’ face the entire time he played, save when he was drinking tons of not water from paper cups. One very enthusiastic, giddy bro made his way on stage from his former post against the front rail, and hilariously danced behind Dillon Francis until security dragged him indifferently by his camelbak out of view. Upon exiting the Mad Decent tent, the outside temperature felt at least 20 degrees cooler, it was like walking into air conditioning in comparison to the temperature under the tent. #hotashell
Next, Andrew wanted to make sure his gear was charged up, so I trekked solo to Neon Indian. I didn’t realize this would kind of be a mistake, because their music damn near cleared me of any energy I had festered up at the Mad Decent showcase. Maybe chillwave is best suited for napping to (is napping to chillwave alt?), and my thought was then validated by the row of at least 10 people laying down with their eye closed just outside of the VIP viewing area.
Neon Indian is a 4-piece chillwave band that has played at SXSW, Bonnaroo and Pitchfork, to name a few festival mentions on their extensive summer touring. Their recorded sound is much better than it was live, (although vocals were loud and crisp), but I blame this on the festival environment, or perhaps it was even just me. I was bored during their set and found myself Googling the Princess Bride reference the lead singer shared with the crowd. They collaborated with the Flaming Lips back in March of this year, and I’d suggest checking that EP out if you’re interested in 21 minutes of light, spacey instrumental shit.
Wiz Khalifa played at Main Stage A following Neon Indian, and got the crowd back up on its feet instantly. I didn’t catch any of his set aside from what I heard in the distance but I’ll admit to hearing my fair share of his hit single “Black & Yellow” and it’s definitely a massive ear-worm tune that I thankfully didn’t catch at Bisco.
Next up on our schedule was one hour of pure bliss in the form of Death From Above 1979. Their set at Bisco was a stop in their highly-anticipated reunion tour — DFA hasn’t played a show together since 2006, which was when they announced an official break-up. Their debut reunion show started an actual riot at SXSW this year. Not to say the crowd at Bisco didn’t live up to riot level, because it probably did somewhere unreported in the belly of the beast, but from the media/VIP area it was about nothing but the music from Jesse Keeler on bass and synths, and Sebastien Grainger on lead vocals and drums. Keeler was dressed in all black with Sebastien donning all white in their binary-themed attire.
Behind the rock duo on stage, the sheer backdrop exposed a perfect blue sky with bright white clouds and an approaching dusk. It made for an immaculate performance, perfect element conditions, people going rightfully nuts in the crowd, playing classic songs such as “Blood On Our Hands,” “Romantic Rights,” and “Black History Month” off of their album, You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine.
If you’ve ever read any bit of music writing I’ve done, then you know how I feel about bands that simply just do their thing on their own terms, without relying on showy elements like fire-dancers on stage or whatever gimmick they’re relying on to provide a good time; some bands just don’t need that element of performance to be excellent performers. DFA was one of the latter examples; they played through their set like straight-up veteran professionals without losing their edge and heckling the audience. Some highlight quotes include statements along the lines of noticing that “all the good-looking girls were up close and the ugly girls in the way back,” as well as prior to their last song exclaiming, “well, if you’re not pregnant by now, you’re never gonna be, so get to it. make smart babies.” (With the security guards charming in “You’ll never get that from this crowd”.)
Following DFA, I had received an e-mail from Nero‘s manager, telling me that Joe’s flight was delayed, and they were going to play at 9:45 instead of at their slotted time of 7:40. I double checked Nero’s twitter to see if there was any updates (which there was, here). It was dawning on 8:30, I was chilly now that the sun had set and I wanted to use the ATM so I could get a sweatshirt from Methods NYC. The line to the ATM was so long that Lis and I gave up, and walked away, all to realize that Nero was currently playing at the Grooveshark tent. We parted ways and I ventured in to see if my 9:15 interview slot time was still available despite the miscommunications. Turns out, only 1/2 the production duo of Nero (Dan) played and they stuck to their slotted schedule. I caught the very last song and that was it. Given the hectic nature of it all, the interview fell through but I got to kill time talking to other people associated with media for Camp Bisco and my friend Aaron gave me a watermelon-flavored lollypop. Life and maybe more case-specific life at Bisco is about cutting your losses when they happen and moving the fuck on.
Following Nero, we had some downtime before Bassnectar, gathered up our stuff and decided we’d cut out early following Lorin’s set. You can check out our past coverage of Bassnectar and I’ll leave it at the fact that his set at Bisco was similar, but more intense for the duration since he would be playing for half the time he did at the Armory. Bisco also tripled the size of the crowd and associated craziness, added in brighter lights, a larger stage and a louder sound system.
We had a solid weekend covering Camp Bisco: we followed our own KAB guide to attending a festival, got to see awesome sets from the artists we wanted to see, hung out at the vending tent homebase with Dwell, OneUnit and crew, and managed to leave without any bruises or sunburns. My shoes are muddy and my bank account is practically empty, but none of that matters and we’re now in the single day countdown to July’s Outpost1. Life is good and now KAB will resume it’s normalcy in content. As Patrick Dodson would declare, Camp Bisco is over.
See you next year?