The dust has now settled as this year’s Camp Bisco has come and gone, and attendees are now faced with the task of adjusting back to into their day-to-day routines. A couple days later, and I’m left with Atmosphere still stuck in my head and a pile of laundry.
Day three of the festival was under the blisteringly hot sun, and what I felt was the hottest day of the weekend. It was hot enough to almost miss the rain and storms from Bisco’s past (but not quite).
I was anxious waiting at the shuttle stop, knowing that Atmosphere was slated to begin in mere moments. I was surrounded by festival goers talking about how they’ve never been to Camp Bisco before when I realized that on Saturday, the festival had day-passes available. As a result, the grounds saw an increase in volume and in security alike. (Sporting a bag that had only the line-up guide, my iPhone and ear plugs, I got to make the “I’m your easiest search of the day” comment over three times; security was not messing around on the last day of the fest).
Hit the jump for the rest of Day 3 recap and photos.
Practically sprinting my way down the massive hill past camp sites and ATMs, I made it just in time for the second part of Atmosphere’s set. The first song I got to hear was “Just For Show,” which is off of the group’s latest album, “The Family Sign,” and it was exactly the kind of energy I wanted to start off Day 3 running on. Atmosphere, comprised of Sean “Slug” Daley and Anthony “Ant” Davis, made their performance at Bisco a family affair, talking much about the festival environment and addressing all the campers as people they identify with.
Slug is known to get a little bit preachy behind the mic but in the good, engaging way that gives me goosebumps instead helping me lose my attention span. The snippet I caught went along the lines of, “So every time you go to a hip hop show, there’s some rapper on stage telling you what to do. Throw your hands in the air. Lemme hear you make some noise. Impregnate the person standing next to you. Well, there’s a reason for that. Let me explain. When you look to your left, and your right, and you see the person next to you doing the same damn thing as you, well that is as close to church as a lot of us get. So make the most of this moment. Put those scissors in the sky…”
Atmosphere went on to perform hits like “God Loves Ugly” which the crowd chimed in for, and “Yesterday,” which had some modified lyrics to fit in with Camp Bisco. Slug went on to tease the crowd hoping to play one more track but was out of time. Atmosphere’s set was an absolute highlight for the weekend and it was nice hearing people walking around say the same true words.
I then wandered over to the Fools Gold curated tent, where Codes was behind the decks. He was absolutely engaged in his set and even though I’d never heard him live, he was the only one out of the Fools Gold line-up I’d been familiar with prior to the festival. He came off, to me, as a “young” DJ, but one that was able to be in control of his set and worked with the audience well, engaging the crowd while still following his own weird compass. He impressed me, and was also the first DJ I’ve ever seen who jumped up on the table of gear to proudly stand and rile up the crowd. He also wasn’t afraid to slow down the tempo and build it back up, and also dropped a handful of “Bisco-exclusive” new productions as well as dipping deep into his catalog. Add Codes to your radar, pro tip!
I got a tip from my friend that Starslinger was canceled, so I decided to stick around the Fool’s Gold tent and caught part of Nick Catchdubs’ set before heading over to the main stage to check out Holy Fuck. Holy Fuck was my disappointment of the weekend; it just wasn’t what I had in mind. I felt like they were a low-energy buzz band hiding underneath the cloak of a percussion-heavy indie band; one that would be better fitted for a bill with similar sounds as opposed to being the odd-band-out of a high-energy focused music festival. The contrast of acts and diversity on a line-up is important, but I just felt like Holy Fuck missed the mark here. There set was a lengthy one, alloted time that goes along with the honor of being on the main stage, but I noticed a thinning crowd and just wasn’t able to get engaged myself.
Since it was the last day of the festival, I knew I had to ride that damn ferris wheel. I met up with some friends and we decided now was the time. The sun was beginning to retreat behind the trees and Big Gigantic was slotted next to perform. Watching the colorful sky and staring down at all the partying festival attendees from a safe distance above was quite beautiful; and worth the $5 ride. As we were on the ferris wheel, Big Gigantic was doing their own sax-heavy take on Aloe Blacc’s “I Need A Dollar.”
After our adventure on the ferris wheel, we stopped by the Tree Shurts tent where there was a party of a local flavor going on with DJ Trumaster ringing in his birthday behind the decks and Oddy Gato on the mic. It was also awesome to see many throughout the weekend sporting a Tree Shurt. The clothing company is based out of Albany, in case you didn’t know.
After saying hello to the crew, I talked myself into getting a burrito in my system before catching any more music. Bassnectar’s set was loud enough that it was inescapable anyway and he played for what felt like ages (90 minutes can feel double that, it’s amazing). Bassnectar has played the fest for the past five years and has grown in both set times and stage sizes over the years. I heard some rumors about his mixer giving out towards the tail-end of his set but from where I was sitting on the other side of the festival grounds, I could only make out bits and pieces through the trees.
As the Disco Biscuits were playing their final set of the weekend, I was waiting for Dillon Francis to start at 11:45 over in the B.I.G. tent. The party was in full force, switching gears from a mellow day time into swarms of people dancing and going all out. Dillon Francis was a highlight of last year’s camp and this year returned with A-Trak on the introductory duties for Francis’ prime-time slot. Around fifteen minutes in or so (my phone was dead), Francis announced that he was going to be playing what the crowd wanted – moombahton – and then went in on his more-popular moombah-fueled productions such as “I.D.G.A.F.O.S.”, “Westside” and his original mix of “Masta Blasta.” The crowd at Dillon Francis was one of the more notably crazy and some dedicated dudes up front even had a huge flag with Francis’ face on it. Following Francis, A-Trak came on and I stuck around for a bit, enjoying myself before heading back into the night to catch the air-conditioned shuttle back to my car.
Overall, I’d say my favorite acts of this year were (in no particular order) Amon Tobin, Crystal Castles, Atmosphere, Blockhead, FaltyDL, Starkey, Bonobo, Codes and A-Trak. I wish that Shigeto didn’t have travel issues that prevented him from going on site and I also wish I caught Mux Mool, Yacht, El Ten Eleven, Lotus and Mimosa. Ah well.
Big thanks to all involved in putting on this production, especially Chad Schearer and Caren West PR for giving me the opportunity to cover the festival again this year.
Perhaps we’ll be back again!
Feel free to post any festival highlights or comments below.