Just last night, I returned home from an epic weekend of awesome music, camping, and great people in Mariaville, NY at the tenth Camp Bisco. Buoyed by the world-class lineup, the festival sold out for the first time in its history, reportedly packing in more than 30,000 people.
I could go into a long recap of my entire exhausting weekend, but the purpose of this article is to highlight a few of my favorite shows.
To put it simply, Tobacco was unreal. While most of the festival attendees were getting Shpongled on the Main Stage, Pittsburgh-based Tobacco was laying down his ridiculous in-your-face fucked-up hip-hop-meets-rikers-island beats at an intimate set in the Dance Tent.
This set was a perfect juxtaposition to the Black Moth Super Rainbow set that Tobacco and his crew participated in earlier in the day. Black Moth played outside during the daytime in the light; Tobacco played in a dark tent during the rain. Black Moth’s music was played on-point to their recorded material; Tobacco brought his beats to you in real time and messed with them like you’ve never heard before. Black Moth’s music soothed you like a lullaby sang by your mother; Tobacco’s music hit you in the face like a two-thousand pound boulder and left you bleeding.
The live drums, played by Iffernaut of Black Moth, completed the show. She laid down a groove so hard and steady that I was afraid her snare hits were going to puncture the tent. When I previously saw Tobacco play, she wasn’t there to play, but it made all the difference. The live drum sound added such a rich, creative dimension to the music and allowed the vocoder and synths to shine. A highlight for me was “Dirt (ft. Aesop Rock)” partly because I could see and hear Iffernaut’s intensity on the drums and also because of Tobacco’s ridiculous warping of Aesop Rock’s vocals.
Tobacco came out hyper-focused to this show and nailed it. He seems to have moved away from the showmanship that permeated his other shows, such as wearing his signature basketball head mask. This lack of distractions left him to focus only on the music and it was reflected by the quality of his set.
Tobacco has stated on his website that this was his last show in the Maniac Meat chapter of his music life. No one is sure what is in store for Tobacco or Black Moth, but here’s hoping that after leaving on such a high note, there is much, much more to come in the future.
Neon Indian, a chillwave band based out of Danton, Texas, far exceeded my expectations on Saturday. Playing on the main stage, in the middle of the day, in front of a sunburned and partied-out crowd, they brought an energy to their set that brought everyone out of their lethargic state.
Lead singer and songwriter, Alan Palomo, was a force to reckoned with on stage (not to mention their super cute synth player Leanne Macomber). Hair bouncing, he was like an ADHD child, running back and forth from one side of the stage, to sing with the drummer, to the other side of the stage. Seeing him perform gave me a brand new take on their music. From the recorded material, I could not picture the band having that kind of an energetic frontman. They performed most of their songs off of their debut album Psychic Chasms as well as a few new ones.
Using heavily echoed vocals and Korg synth lead melodies over distorted drums and heavy bass, Neon Indian really knew how to perform. They have a new album coming out in September so be sure to check that out.
The coolest visuals I saw all weekend definitely belonged to Ratatat. The Brooklyn electronic duo played to a massive crowd on the main stage on Friday night and they delivered with their style of wailing distorted guitar and bass over electronic drum beats.
They played a lot of their biggest songs from their previous four discs, highlighting the show with “Seventeen Years” from their debut album. Having never seen Ratatat live before, it was awesome to see that their live show is way more exciting than their recorded material. Too many bands (especially duos or solo acts) simply press play and treat their live show almost as a DJ set. Not Ratatat. You could see their talents on their guitars, jumping around and rocking out in almost heavy metal fashion.
Their visual reel was what I took away most from this set. It consisted of things that made me laugh, scared me, or just left me in wonderment. During one of their songs, they had a loop of normal looking people’s faces showing different emotions. There would be a business-looking guy in a suit nearly crying, a depressed black middle-aged woman, then two old people kissing and being happy together. The reel was genius, highlighting the emotional impact of their instrumental tracks.
These three acts were merely the greatest of the great in a highlight filled weekend. Leave me some comments if you feel that I missed something or you disagree. Thanks for reading.