The Disco Biscuits first created Camp Bisco in 1999. The band wanted to bridge the gap between music festivals and raves, combining the energy and elements of electronic music with their brand of improvisational rock. Originally serving as an intimate gathering for friends and fans, the festival steadily grew as the Biscuits added acts like STS9 and Umphrey’s McGee.

After outgrowing the original venue, the Biscuits went on the hunt for the perfect venue to throw Camp Bisco in a safe and professional manner. They moved from one venue to the next until finding Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, New York, in 2007. By 2008, the festival had taken on a life of its own. That year included Snoop Dogg, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, and Lotus among many other artists. One year after another, the Disco Biscuits created balanced lineups with all types of music. Some people loved jam bands, and some people loved electronic music—the Biscuits loved both, and they had one thing in mind: bridging the gap.

Fast forward eleven years, and that same formula is being used on a much larger scale. Besides the Disco Biscuits, this year’s lineup included Bassnectar, STS9, Tipper, Lotus, and Ghostface Killah, along with a wide array of smaller bands and DJs. Since the beginning, Camp Bisco has always been about showcasing smaller acts and introducing new music to their fans—if you go to Camp Bisco with an open mind, you’re almost guaranteed to discover music that you enjoy. The reverse proves true frequently as well; many people originally attend Camp Bisco for the festival’s extensive lineup of DJs and leave with a massive interest in the Disco Biscuits.

Space Bacon kicked the weekend off on Thursday at the Office Stage. The jamtronica four-piece from Brooklyn has steadily been climbing the ranks, and their hard work is definitely paying off. In the blistering heat, old and new fans showed up and got down to Bacon’s brand of improvisational rock ‘n’ roll. The band was pleasantly surprised by the turnout and ruled the set a success—everybody in attendance felt the same way. If you’re into bands like the Disco Biscuits and Lotus, keep your eyes peeled for Space Bacon, as they’ll be coming to a city near you sometime in the not-so-distant future.

Right after Space Bacon, Lettuce hit the main stage, and the funk outfit wasted no time in kicking off their exceptional festival set. After parting ways with their close friends and bandmates Eric Krasno and Neal Evans, Lettuce has been moving in a new sonic direction. Their set at Camp Bisco was a prime example of the group’s steady evolution, with the performance perfectly balancing future funk and psychedelic trip-hop.

Using improvisation to take their compositions to the next level, Lettuce’s chemistry is currently burning with passion. Adam Deitch and Jesus Coomes are an incredible core rhythm section to paint melodies over. It’s really special to see what a song like “Phyllis” has turned into, as a result of staying loose and using improvisation to their advantage. The band has been working on a new album, and it could end up being their most innovative and authentic body of work thus far. If their set at Camp Bisco was an indication of what’s to come, fans should be ecstatic.

The Pavillion at Montage Mountain is one of the most complete main stages that a festival can have. One heavy hitter after another took the stage on Thursday, delivering fantastic sets and styles of music for the audience. Bonobo Live Band followed Lettuce with professionalism and poise. When it comes to DJs putting together live bands, Bonobo is as good as it gets—translating his fiery DJ set through the lens of a live band. He takes international dance music to new heights, and his set at Camp Bisco was phenomenal. He explored a multitude of genres and gave fans an experience that they won’t soon forget.

STS9 is the definition of a Camp Bisco alumnus. They spearheaded the jamtronica movement with the Disco Biscuits for the past twenty years. The band has played a number of Camp Biscos and is almost always guaranteed to throw down an enjoyable set. Starting the set off with “Ramone & Emiglio”, fans buckled up for what was about to be a wild ride. Tribe has found a new life with bassist Alana Rocklin, and their energy has been on an upswing for the past few years. As always, drummer Zach Velmer was leading the charge, and the way he leads the band from the throne is incredible. Their set was ideal for people that love The Disco Biscuits and people that love Bassnectar, as the group is phenomenal at staying in the center and keeping the balance.

For the first of six sets, the Disco Biscuits walked on stage to roaring applause. Their fan base is as passionate and tenacious as any band in the scene. There’s a sense of unique loyalty that has been fueling the band for the past twenty years. Starting off with “Feeling Twisted’ > “Spaga” > “Feeling Twisted”, the Biscuits eased their way into a weekend of high energy risk-taking.

The segment contained one of the coolest teases of the weekend, with keyboard player Aron Magner subtly teasing “You’re All I Need” by Mary J. Blige and Method Man. The band shocked fans when they dropped into “High Speed Racer”, a song that had been shelved for nine years. “Crystal Ball’ > “House Dog Party Favor contained extensive improvisation that could be labeled as signature Disco Biscuits. The band wasted no time turning their energy up a few notches, with Jon “Barber” Gutwillig and Marc Brownstein jumping in unison as they slammed into the second jam of “House Dog Party Favor”. The band was locked in, and, at times, the jam was very reminiscent of some of the classic “House Dog” jams from the earlier years of the Biscuits. The band closed the set with a huge “Run Like Hell”; when it comes to covers that the band has made their own, “Run Like Hell” is as good as it gets.

Disco Biscuits – Camp Bisco 2018 – Thursday

[Video: The Disco Biscuits]

Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | Camp Bisco | Montage Mountain | Scranton, PA | 7/12/2018

Set I: Feeling Twisted-> Spaga-> Feeling Twisted, High Speed Racer, Crystal Ball-> House Dog Party Favor, Run Like Hell

The Biscuits kicked off Friday with “Shem Rah Boo”. Staying patient, the band allowed the music to take shape on its own. Barber’s tone was impeccable on his custom Fender Stratocaster—it’s crazy how an instrument with so much nostalgia can increase the inspiration of a musician and act as a muse for improvisation. Drummer Allen Aucoin uploaded new effects to his Edrums, which add so much flavor to certain jams.

“Pimp Blue Rikki” is one of the best songs when it comes to Barber shredding a pure, unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll solo. With the full spectrum of guitar, his current setup may be his best one-two punch yet: a Gibson hollow body and a custom Fender Strat dialed into an assortment of effects pedals is the perfect balance of classic craftsmanship and new world technology. Getting to see him shred the PBR solo on his Strat was a real treat for anybody that loves the tone and feel of the guitar. By the looks on the faces of his bandmates, it would appear that they felt the same way.

Disco Biscuits – Camp Bisco 2018 – Friday, Set I

[Video: The Disco Biscuits]

Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | Camp Bisco | Montage Mountain | Scranton, PA | 7/13/2018

Set I: Shem Rah Boo-> Tribulations (LCD Soundsystem)-> Pimp Blue Rikki-> Shem Rah Boo, Strobelights & Martinis-> Rio (Duran Duran)

For the second set on Friday, the Biscuits opened up with “Rivers”, which is a product of the group’s slow but sure re-introduction of songs from their legendary tour of 2009. Dropping into “Caterpillar”, the energy on stage was palpable. Barber and Brownstein were bubbling like a bottle of Dom Perignon on New Year’s Eve. As soon as they dropped into the jam, the lights went down, and everyone strapped in for what was about to be a trance-fusion throw down of epic proportion.

The low-end melodies from Brownstein and Magner were inseparable. They took it even darker by jamming into “Voices Insane”, a song that makes even the most put together people feel scatter-brained. From there, they transitioned into “Sweating Bullets” with ferocious power. Most fans agree that it was, without a doubt, the best Sweating Bullets in recent years. The song exemplified how much energy can be generated from the stage when all four of them are on the same page. They jammed back into a triumphant “Caterpillar” ending and slammed the door on the final set of Friday. Listening back, the segment has minimal noodling and is filled with a memorable theme, making for a prime example of aggressive, get-your-body-moving Biscuits.

Disco Biscuits – Camp Bisco 2018 – Friday, Set II


[Video: The Disco Biscuits]

Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | Camp Bisco | Montage Mountain | Scranton, PA | 7/13/2018

Set II: Rivers, Caterpillar-> Voices Insane-> Sweating Bullets-> Caterpillar

Saturday was the final day of Camp Bisco, and as tradition shows, the Biscuits were slated for three sets. They started off with the day set—another vital piece to Camp Bisco tradition—except this year was a little bit different. The band and their team brought out “The Wheel” for the first time since the New Year’s run in 2016. Some people look at it as a gimmick, but it’s actually a great tool to see how locked in and confident the band is.

During each transition, a fan is invited on stage to spin the wheel, picking the next song that the band jams into. They decided to spice things up even more by adding a “Tractorbeam” versus “Perfume” theme, which includes different versions of their original compositions. For example, they’d take a jamtronica song like “Sound One” and play a honky-tonk rendition—it’s hilariously awesome. Highlights included a b-boy version of “Memphis” (picture Brownstein, Barber, and Magner as the Beastie Boys), and a shred-heavy, brain-shattering take on “Pilin’ It Higher”. All in all, the set was very creative, and fans were happy the Biscuits took a chance and executed with tenacity.

Disco Biscuits – Camp Bisco 2018 – Saturday

[Video: The Disco Biscuits]

Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | Camp Bisco | Montage Mountain | Scranton, PA | 7/14/2018

Set I: Honk Tonk Sound One, 1999-> Pilin’ it Higher, Beastie Boys M.E.M.P.H.I.S., Digital Buddha, Abraxas, Dub Dribble-> Confrontation

The second set on Saturday was the second to last set of Camp Bisco, with the fans primed and the band was more than warmed up. The Disco Biscuits delivered on all fronts, giving fans a ridiculous four-song set that defines all things Bisco. Opening with “Hot Air Balloon”, the jewel and title of Gutwillig’s brilliant rock opera, resulted in the crowd cheering victoriously. The composition is classical and defined; Barber has always said that Mozart was his favorite because of the movement in his music, and it shines through in songs like “Hot Air Balloon”.

Barber led the jam out of “Hot Air Balloon”, leaving the song unfinished. Once the band hit their stride, all chances of mistakes went out the window; they were so calm that it was scary, and the group had complete trust in their decisionmaking as well as their bandmates. The crowd was captivated, watching the band’s every move, as they stomped their way into “Gangster”, one of the most relentless songs in the Biscuits’ catalogue. “Gangster” > “We Like to Party” > “Helix” was near flawless when it comes to that style of Biscuits, making for an all-out trance-fusion assault on the body and mind. The group touched on every emotion, as synapses fired off like machine guns—this set showcased the Disco Biscuits at their best.

Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | Camp Bisco | Montage Mountain | Scranton, PA | 7/14/2018

Set II: Hot Air Balloon > Gangster > We Like To Party > Helicopters

The final Biscuits set of the weekend was as complete as they come. Marc Brownstein did an exceptional job at writing the setlists for the weekend. Besides the fact that his musicianship continues to get better every run, his ear and vision are what makes him intangible. Opening with “Above the Waves” was a great choice, and the crowd responded in kind.

Without missing a beat, they jammed into an inverted “Crickets”, which the band followed up with “Minions”—something that dreams are made of for a large portion of Biscuits heads. The band didn’t stop there though, mercilessly and unforgivingly marching into “Orch Theme”. Lightning and thunder echoed in the distance as torrential downpour led to flash-flooding under the tent at The Pavilion. To balance out the mayhem, the Biscuits transitioned into the second half of “Hot Air Balloon”, nailing the composition with focus and conviction and offering an astonishing “flight” section. For the final song of the weekend, a standalone “Basis for a Day” was perfect in every sense of the word. The confetti cannons erupted, and there were smiles for as far as the eye could see.

Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | Camp Bisco | Montage Mountain | Scranton, PA | 7/14/2018

Set III: Above the Waves-> Crickets (inverted)-> Minions-> Orch Theme-> Hot Air Balloon, Basis for a Day

Camp Bisco has always been about one thing: bridging the gap. Whether it’s the counterculture that the Grateful Dead birthed so many years ago or the urban rave culture of the ’90s, the Disco Biscuits are inspired by both and hope to be the connection between the two. From Frank Zappa to Phish, Pink Floyd to LCD Soundsystem, and Beastie Boys to Duran Duran, the Disco Biscuits love music more than most and know how important it is to experience all genres and sounds.

The legendary Wetlands made such a huge impact on them that it was engraved into the genetic makeup of the band. So, they used the model of combining genres and building a collective of music that everyone can enjoy to their benefit and to the benefit of their fans. They created Camp Bisco as an intimate gathering for their fan base, but it took on a life of its own. Now, it’s a living organism that is made up of people from all walks of life—and that’s exactly how the Disco Biscuits want it to be.

Check out the full gallery below, courtesy of photographer Dave Vann.