disco biscuits spring 99 philly trocadero show 4-9-99

Published: April 9, 2007

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a Disco Biscuits kick lately. The band was featured in our latest podcast, they just announced a bunch of Spring/Summer tour dates, and today, they added a headlining slot at the Starscape Festival in Baltimore on June 9th. With all this new “Bisco” news on the mind, I’ve been re-visiting some of my old favorites from the archives.

And because it’s April 9th, I thought I’d honor the date of a concert that is consistently cited by fans as a key show in ‘Bisco’ History: 4/9/99 at the Trocadero in Philadelphia, PA (the band’s hometown). One particular segment from this show — “Above the Waves” which segues into the end of “Basis for a Day” — was one of the first that I heard by this band that really piqued my interest. I’d also put this show into the category of “tapes that got me hooked,” with the exception that it wasn’t a tape or a CD, but just some random Mp3s (a little more appropriate for the digital era).

The band’s sound has definitely come a long way since 1999, but this show continues to get a lot of play amongst its hardcore fans. There’s just something absolutely raw and mind-bending about this segment. It features some great interplay between Aaron Magner (on keys) and Jon Gutwillig (on guitar), and a rhythm section of Marc Brownstein (on bass) and Sam Altman (the band’s former drummer) that relentlessly propels the band forward. But Gutwillig is really the one who shines as he drops his final, blistering guitar solo as the band drops into the ending of “Basis for a Day.”

To the brand new listener and around the jamband scene, some may say the vocals can leave something to be desired, but that’s not what this segment is really all about…it is more about a young band creating raw, psychedelic sounds that can make a crowd dance like mad and go absolutely crazy. It also includes a signature Biscuits move that I have heard the band employ frequently over the years: just when you think they’re is going to drop into the chorus or into a new song, they will raise the level of energy just one final step, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

A good example is at about minute 2:00 of “Basis.”

It is high-energy live music at its finest.


UPDATE: the band has announced that this show has been officially re-mastered and will be released.