The Disco Biscuits came out of the gate swinging on Saturday and delivered one of the most well-played shows of their tour thus far. Fans will look back on the second night of their four-night run at New York City’s PlayStation Theater as a top-ranked show of 2019.
Once the band and fans settle into a venue for a multi-night run, the true magic begins to surface. The Disco Biscuit’s feeling of comfortability was evident. It’s also worth noting that the venue addressed the issue with their ticket scanners. The situation was rectified before the doors opened to the public.
There are certain songs in the Biscuits’ catalog that are extremely powerful openers. They have this unique ability to kickoff sets with fireworks. “King of the World” is undoubtedly one of those songs, and they’ve used it as a sonic springboard on multiple occasions over the years.
Guitarist Jon “Barber” Gutwillig started the night off with his white Fender Stratocaster that he purchased in 2018. Drummer Allen Aucoin swung the rhythm and led the band into a section of jazz fusion styled improvisation before jamming into “Munchkin Invasion”. They were officially off to the races once they dropped into the jam out of “Munchkin”.
It didn’t take long for all four of them to sync up by blending textures with elements of mysticism. Keyboardist Aron Magner and Barber weaved in and out of each other’s lines with telepathic confidence. Regardless of how many times one has seen the band, observing them work their way towards complete and total control never gets old.
They had the crowd in the palms of their hands as they soared into an inverted “Great Abyss”—a prime example of tried-and-true livetronica. There aren’t many bands that can make electronic music with instruments rooted in improvisation like the Disco Biscuits. The jams that come out of songs like “Great Abyss” will always reign supreme in comparison to the new Tractorbeam segments that they’ve been performing every show on this tour.
The dance floor was swaying back and forth in unison. People scattered throughout the crowd had their brains blasted into pieces by unapologetic “untz” from the pioneers of trance-fusion. They switched directions when they transitioned into “Story of the World”, leading to a more funk-driven groove fueled by bassist Marc Brownstein. Magner stacked chords on top of the bass line creating a thick 70’s style disco-funk riff. Barber topped it off with a simplistic approach.
They busted out “Freebis Slinky” on night two of the run after playing “Electric Slinky” on night one. Both songs have quickly found their appropriate places within the Biscuits’ repertoire. “Freebis” is all about the pocket when it comes to the rhythm section. Brownstein and Allen construct a sturdy canvas for Magner and Barber to add their own auditory brush strokes. This version, in particular, was oozing with swagger. It’s a slower BPM than some of their more electronic songs and brings out a certain contrast that is valuable. They sped the tempo up and made their way back into “Munchkin Invasion” to end the set.
The second set is some of the best set-list construction that fans have seen from Marc Brownstein as of late. This is the type of set that could very well be submitted by a fan as a fantasy setlist. The opening of the first set may have kicked the doors open, but the jam out of “Caterpillar” blew them off the hinges. They were locked in and filling the space without trying too hard, which translated into an organic singular sound.
Pairing it with “Spraypaint Victory” was proper and resulted in a huge moment of triumph. Magner’s patch selection was tasteful yet constantly pushing to break through to the next level of creative space.
They executed the transition into an inverted “Humu” with patience and precision. By the time the vocals began a large portion of the crowd was singing along. From there, they dropped into space before cranking things up a notch with a “Tractorbeam Jam”. The four-on-the-floor section eventually landed in the ending of “Caterpillar”. There was an energy radiating from the stage during the “Caterpillar” jam. It was contagious and everybody that was paying attention felt it.
“Air Song” > “Spraypaint Victory” was yet another ideal pairing for the PlayStation Theater. The lyrics of “Air Song” are definitely inspired by New York City, so it was only right to bust the song out. It produced a bouncy mid-tempo jam that moved the spotlight from one band member to the next. Magner’s clean piano mixed with Barber’s minimalistic riffs evoked a visceral response. Together, they marched into the ending of “Spraypaint Victory” with total trust in the decision making and musical abilities of one another.
If they were aiming to shock diehard fans with their song choice for the encore, they nailed it. “Bazaar Escape” is by far one of their most complex compositions. They don’t traditionally play it as an encore, so the reactions on some people’s faces when they dropped into the opening notes were priceless. Not only did they play it, but they also played it extremely well. It was a phenomenal way to cap off one of the best shows of 2019.
As always, the next two shows are en route to be even better than the two that came before. You should listen back to this show and make an informed decision if you’re on the fence about attending New Year’s Eve. Finish the decade strong in one of the greatest cities in the world with one of the greatest bands in the history of the live music scene. There isn’t anything quite like The Disco Biscuits on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
Watch a pro-shot video of the entire Disco Biscuits’ second performance at New York City’s PlayStation Theater below.
Disco Biscuits – PlayStation Theater – 12/28/19
[Video: The Disco Biscuits]
Below, check out a full gallery of photos from the Disco Biscuits’ performance at PlayStation Theater on December 28th courtesy of photographer Andrew Blackstein. Visit The Disco Biscuits official website for tickets to their final two shows at the PlayStation Theater on December 30th and 31st.
Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | PlayStation Theater | New York, NY | 12/28/19
Set One: King Of The World > Munchkin Invasion > The Great Abyss* > Story Of The World > Freebis Slinky > Munchkin Invasion
Set Two: Caterpillar > Spraypaint > Humuhumunukunukuapua’a* > Tractorbeam Jam > Caterpillar, Air Song^ > Spraypaint
* Inverted version