In early October (5&6), the Disco Biscuits headlined a sold out Mann Center for two nights. The opening set started around 8 PM. I am not going to even bother describing what the first set was like, because my head exploded as soon as I got in there. There were no assigned seats, so you could simply walk before the startlight terrace and enjoy the show. Big J. hooked up the tickets, and Dr. Blythe Goodlove chose to attend as well. The opening set was a blur, except for the vivid memory that the Disco Biscuits had clearly invested vast amounts of money into their production and light set, which caused Big J to exclaim – Wow! These guys have truly made it. I can’t possibly explain the experience of the first set; it was simply entirely disorienting yet powerful. The screens were lit with bright lights, splicing images of women in underwear, as if from a scene from a psychedelic version of Revenge of the Nerds, and suddenly I realized that this band’s goal is to be the most 80’s Miami, cocaine-simulating, rocked out group possible, and it is likely that they have achieved this status, as if Tony Montana himself had made these guys his fucking house band…I mean, Superfly had Curtis Mayfield…and Scarface has the Disco Biscuits. But this is the simple description of the band. This is only one understanding – namely that they try to be the most rocked out, coke-head loving band out there, but what’s wrong with that? They’re not telling you to do the drugs…just like we love Scarface without actually doing a mountain of coke. These guys put on a show to you the feeling of being in Miami beach in 1982; yet we are actually alive, living, breathing, 30 years later. The lights and excitement is so good you don’t need the drugs, you get chills just being there. The second understanding is for the second set.
In between Bicuits’ sets one and two, Diplo hit a serious DJ round which showed why he is possibly the best party DJ Philly has to offer. QuestLove probably is the best hip hop spinner, while Diplo is all party… once he slowed it down in the middle of the set, the crowd went bananas, and he simply said (which only got everyone fired up even more), “relax Philly, it’s only, like 9:30.” In the dark night, overlooking the Philadelphia skyline and the rising moon towards the East, it was clear, that these artists are the best that Philadelphia has to offer, and it is very high quality music. Diplo is not simply one of those DJs that just plays the music or a mix, as most club DJs do, just bobbing their head up and down with headphones on, simply turning up the volume on one knob and down on the other, like you are in Drinkers on a Tuesday or Fado on a Saturday, those DJs that are fucking anonymous and ubiquitous in the mid-town bars, DJs that DJ Deadmous can’t stop insulting. No, Diplo actually understands the music, the bars that makes people jump, he will follow that energy, splice the song, moment by moment, bringing you back and forth, seemlessly integrating 3, 4, 5 tracks at a time, reprogramming the music we are programmed to hear in a certain way, simply enhancing it further. Slowing it down, mixing in others, speeding it up. Yes, Diplo is one of the best Philly has to offer.
That’s what the Disco Biscuits are too – they are the best Philly has to offer – providing a streaming, flowing, vision of blue green art deco video art balls floating in the air. This is the second set. The second understanding. It’s not simply about drugs, getting high, it’s about providing the best, most transitory show possible, a waking dream in the manner of Dali, yet enhanced with music, movement, floating globes, a living dreamscape. The terrace has the best view for this, and I become truly appreciative for the first time, what the Disco Biscuits are. Yes, they are the band that tries to be as “bad-ass” as possible – in the meaning of what a highschooler might consider – good weed, hoppy beers, hot chics – but that’s just the adolescent view of it. The deeper view, is the art, the challenge of tapping into the subconscious mind and replicating that on the screen at a moment in time, unredacted. Dr. Goodlove keeps saying, “Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me.” I can’t help but think it might be a literal plea arising out of fear that she will lose sight of me, to be devoured in the parking lot by post-apocalyptic hippie-zombies (hungry for brains once the nitrous tanks run out), or if this comes from a deeper insecurity nascent in her subconscious mind from a deep-seeded fear from a time before I existed to her, a plea for me to stay, to give up the adolescent sex-seeking behavior and simply stop running and enjoy the show. To stop and stand still. The smoke and the lights coming from the stage look like greyhounds running (watch below – 23 seconds in) and it is truly amazing, shocking. In 3D.
So imagine my joy when approximately 10 days later, @CRSNPhila offered me tickets to go see Primus in 3D at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby. Primus hits the stage promptly at 8 PM, and Les Claypool, before a house full of restless Primus fans chanting “Primus Sucks! Primus Sucks!” (It’s actually intended to be endearing) proclaims, “So my manager said we had to take it to 3D because I didn’t realize we were only in 2D.”
Within moments the crowd was in a frenzy. Everyone had 3D glasses on too, which made it harder to see. This one kid, however, didn’t have his glasses on. He was stumbling up the aisle, like 5 minutes into the concert. He was like 12 years old (okay, maybe 16, max a college freshman) and he fell into the chairs a row before us, but not a good part of the chairs, like the backs of the chairs that would be uncomfortable to fall on backwards. The two dudes in front of us (who were kinda creepy by the way, it was like this older dude, who acted like he was young, and this young dude, who acted like he was old and smoked ciggies clandestinely all night, and I couldn’t help but think they were in some weird relationship where the older guy who tried to seem young was his benefactor and the only cost for free nights out on the town would be sexual favors, but I try not to think about these perversions at a Primus show, cuz then I could get lost in the thicket of the mind and other people might think the same about me and @CRSNPhila, tho they’d probably consider me the benefactor cuz I look older even though @CRSNPhila is and makes slightly more money, either way these thoughts can get you really tripped out at a Primus show) looked at each other and were like, holy shit, this kid is messed up, hopped up on something. They helped him up, and this 12-year old looking highschooler got back up, started walking up the aisle again, and the damn floor moved on him again and he fell behind us this time. I leaned over to him, as his eyes were rolling into the back of his head and tried to get information out of him, “Dude, what did you take?” but he simply couldn’t get the words out of his mouth. Soon there’s security and girls leaning over him, and he is being escorted out. CRSN is super confused, yet not shocked that someone could lose their shit within 5 minutes of a Primus show, “Dude, that kid lost his Epcot Center. Didn’t even make it through two songs. His face melted. Right in front of me. Melty face Epcot Center melt-down, fell down on hisself.” CRSN then bumps my arm – “Dude, look at that 3D shit. This is like some 3D windows 95 shit…I’m not sure what I think of this 3D stuff. Looks like the screen saver on my computer, but what Claypool is doing on the bass is REDIC!!” A few songs later, Claypool begins playing the stand-up electric bass. CRSN is immediately upset…”Is he not putting on the pig mask? That’s unfortunate…” I’m not sure if I can handle the pig mask however. Claypool puts on that Pigmask, I think to myself, and I’ll start thinking about that kid who lost his Epcot Center. He might be getting his kidney removed right now in a back alley by these bouncers or getting raped by some of the scary hobos wandering around in this formerly nice, not-so-currently nice neighborhood…who knows if those bouncers called him an ambulance and sent him to the UPenn Emergency room like they needed to…but then Claypool disappears for a second and comes back…and there is the Pig Mask…oh shit…I just lost my Epcot Center and my face melted again and I thought about that shit twice now…thank God Les Claypool insists on playing old black and white Popeye cartoons during the half time show (set break) – those Popeye cartoons bring me back home, remind me of a simpler time when I could watch cartoons all day. Those Popeye cartoons with questionable depictions of Native Americans and other ethnicities chill me right out with their familiarity, so I can get my shit back together before I lose it again from all this freaky 3D Atari Windows 95 shit.