Set I: Hands Up>Gypsy Lane>Countach>Abraxas>Hard Acid>Commercial Amen>Fire
Set II: Rude Boy>Flash Mob>Orch Theme>Brooklyn Bridge>Orch Theme>Liquid Sawyer>Caves of the East>
Feed the Wolf>Say My Name
Encore: Fascinate>Portal to an Empty Head
On Saturday night, Conspirator wrapped up their Spring Tour at Irving Plaza in NYC. In a last minute decision MUN and Jeff Bujak were both chosen to open for the night after going head to head in an online contest to choose the opener because NERVE cancelled. MUN, the livetronica act with a distinct electronic/psychedelic feel, helped ease fans coming up to Irving Plaza and down at the Mr. Bugsly loft for the late-night after party. They have a great sound, and are gathering a nice following, we recommend keeping an eye and an ear out for these local guys from NYC. Jeff Bujak brought his brand of “intelligent dance music” to Irving, generating a ton of energy to a responsive crowd. The last support act of the night, Blockhead, crushed it with his brand of instrumental hip-hop, which he showcased on his most recent album Interludes After Midnight.
This tour saw Conspirator team up with ‘Master of the Kit’, KJ Sawka of Pendulum. While this incarnation of Conspirator has a seemingly ever-revolving door of drummers fill the void – from Mike Greenfield (Lotus), Darren Shearer (the New Deal), to Adam Deitch (Break Science) – it seems as if Magner, Brownstein, and Michetti have finally found a steady comfort in KJ. His unique style of drum n’ bass blends itself perfectly to the ever-evolving sound of Conspirator.
Since bringing in Chris Michetti (RAQ), Conspirator’s sound has drastically evolved from 2005′s The Key. They have become a national touring act, considerably different from the occasional special late-night act that many Disco Biscuits fans were accustomed to. The band looks focused with what seems to be only Conspirator on their mind, writing new music, scheduling summer festivals, and releasing a new live album entitled Unlocked: Live from the Georgia Theatre. With no tour dates for The Disco Biscuits besides Camp Bisco and Mayan Holidaze, it is clear that Conspirator is a top priority for each band member. Conspirator’s new sound is a mash-up of genres ranging from house, livetronica, dub-step, drum n’ bass, to electro. Bringing KJ Sawka along for the ride seemed like a match made in heaven, given his proficiency with these styles of dance music, as seen in the work he has done with Pendulum since joining them in 2009. Brownstein couldn’t give enough love to Sawka on this night, which led many in the crowd to believe that an eventual full-time partnership with Conspirator may be in the works, as Pendulum tends to perform more DJ sets than live shows requiring Sawka.
In the first set, Conspirator showcased two of their newer songs from the Unlocked album, “Gypsy Lane” and the dark, dancey “Countach”,which got the crowd going early. Re-worked versions of “Hard Acid”>”Commercial Amen” from 2005′s The Key were highlights of the set.
A cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” brought the set to a rousing close, leaving the fans in high spirits. The fired up crowd watched KJ Sawka stay on the kit and take over the floor for a 30-minute demonstration of just why he is one of the best there is. Sawka’s set was incredible; it was hard to not get down, and even harder to not stare in awe at his mastery of that ridiculous setup that he has.
AAs Sawka was finishing his all too short display of perfection, the rest of the band came back onstage to begin the second set with a cover of Rihanna’s “Rude Boy”. They played it quite well, and I often found myself not knowing whether to laugh or dance. A monster sequence of “Orch Theme>Brooklyn Bridge>Orch Theme” was sprinkled with bits of the Beastie Boys’ “Root Down” from Ill Communications, which saw Magner rapping along and having a blast. Another highlight of the night was “Liquid Sawyer”, which is a mash-up of “Liquid Handcuffs” from The Key, and Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” . Being a huge fan of Rush, I can say that was not only awesome, but a tastefully done mash up. I give serious kudos to the Conspirator boys for both the plan and the execution. The other new track played, “Feed the Wolf”,served as great jam vehicle and the potential to lead the band into many unexplored musical experiences. They encored with “Fascinate”into a Biscuits fan-favorite “Portal to an Empty Head”, which provided a nice sing-along to end the night.
If this New York City show and the last two and a half weeks were any indication of what the future holds for Conspirator, then things are definitely looking up. It’s unfortunate that this has to come in the wake of a year in which the Biscuits are just not giving any indication of touring, but a saying/song that was introduced in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much might best sum things up….Que Sera, Sera – Whatever Will Be, Will Be. Either way, Conspirator is putting out some inspired new music, leaving fans with a lot to look forward to from Magner, Brownstein, Michetti.