xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

REVIEW: Music, not problems, is focus this year at Disco Biscuits' Camp Bisco at Pavilion at Montage

The Disco Biscuits, Lotus and Big Grizmatik among headliners at Camp Bisco

SCRANTON -- First impressions can make or break experiences, and the difficulty of getting in to the first night of Camp Bisco, the festival that brings Philadelphia jam band The Disco Biscuits and electronic dance music and camping to the Pavilion at Montage, could have had a dampening effect.

That's what happened last year, in Camp Bisco's first year at the venue, when massive lines took up to 14 hours to get people into the venue.

Advertisement

This year, Thursday's opening night of the three-day event things seemed to go far better – meaning music was the most important thing that happened.

Three headliners -- Lotus, The Disco Biscuits and Big Grizmatik -- stole the night at the Electric City stage.

Advertisement

Lotus was the first of the eight headliners to play the festival, swaggering onto stage at 8:30 p.m. to a roaring crowd. The band played with that crowd, ebbing and flowing to their energy, bouncing people back and forth off each other.

The crowd was feeling it when the song "Flower Sermon" began. The drums and keyboard built slowly and steadily, with guitars joining in, until they released in a wave that resonated through the crowd.

Surprisingly, the band didn't play "Jump Off" from their album "Nomad," which is always a fan favorite. But it did play songs from its  new album, "Eat The Light," which was released today July 15.

The Disco Biscuits, founders of Camp Bisco, followed at 10:30 p.m. With little delay or self-introduction, front man Marc Brownstein strummed his base and things were off.

"Triumph" brought an edgy feel to the night and hyped up the crowd. But when guitarist Jon Gutwillig sang a cover of Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance," the audience was ecstatic.

The Biscuits brought their electronic/jam band feel to the song, drawing parts out and flowing them back together. They continued on with "Papercut," "Great Abyss" and "42" before thanking the crowd and introducing the next act, Big Grizmatik, who Brownstein said he was excited to see.

Big Grizmatik combines three acts -- Big Gigantic, Griz and Gramatik -- into a super group. It came on at almost 1 a.m., but that deterred no one. The crowd was the largest of the festival's first day, easily more than 10,000 people.

The Disco Biscuits just turned 21 and you're invited to their birthday party. How are they going to celebrate? The same way they do every year: Camp Bisco.

The band didn't let up in its hour set, until it finished eight minutes early. It was an obvious trick: The lights shot back on and the band came back out for two more songs. As its wrapped up, confetti cannons that were only gently used all night exploded in a storm of colored paper.

The set was the most interactive of the three, with Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic and Griz jumping on to the base speakers at the end and high-fiving fans while thanking them and Camp Bisco alike.

While it was the group's only set of the weekend, Griz plays again Saturday.

While it was the music that made the festival, the mountain, water park and positive communal atmosphere were nice.

Security was a big concern for festival organizers, who tied to ensure that no drugs or weapons were brought on site, especial after the May death of Heather Bynum , who suffered a seizer as a reaction to a drug at Bisco 2012, before it came to Montage, and was in a coma.

Advertisement

Last year the festival used 12 tractors to transport fans from the parking lot to the camp site, which also made things move slowly.

Some patrons still experienced long waits to get into the festival. The VIP parking lot alone had 10 lines with crews checking cars. Instead of tractors, this year 24 Ford F150s with flatbeds were used to carry people and their belongings to the festival. Gate-to-campsite times this year were two or three hours.

At almost any large gathering of people, trash clean-up is going to be a concern. With Camp Bisco partnering with Clean Vibes to promote site clean-up things are looking relatively tame.

The Clean Vibes Trading Post is offering prizes such as tapestries, T-shirts, beer cozies and an ENO hammock to people who collect recyclables, cigarette butts and glow sticks. Whoever collects the most by the end of the festival will earn two tickets to next year's Camp Bisco.

Camp Bisco 2016 continues on at Montage Mountain through Saturday.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement