Camp Bisco 2012 Recap

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Camp Bisco 2012 Recap

Camp Bisco 2012 Recap

Despite its impressive artist lineup, multiple stages, and skimpy-dressed fans, Camp Bisco 2012 did not feel like a typical festival.  Maybe it was the isolated feel of the Indian Lookout Country Club, or the unusual friendliness of the campers, but the camp more felt like a surreal safe haven for music fans along the east coast. 

Camp Bisco fanFocusing mostly on electronic acts, Camp Bisco showcased many different artists to encompass the diversity of the genre.  To fit this year’s huge lineup the camp grounds had two main stages, two dance tents (B.I.G. and Label), a showcase stage, and a silent disco that gave restless festivalgoers a place to rave till morning. 

Keep Calm & Hit a BongFor nearly five days the young fans were secluded in the Mariaville Indian Camp in upstate New York.  Thanks to shuttle busses and thousands of carpoolers, transportation was not as big of a problem as expected.  The weather was hot, the ground was dusty, and the flash storm predicted for Saturday meant a lot of flooded tents and wet blankets-but really, it would take a lot more than rain to ruin this festival.

 

Camp Bisco

 

Thursday, July 12th

Rubblebucket

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AnnaKalmia TraverBrooklyn-based Rubblebucket kicked off the afternoon with their quirky, soulful indie-dance tunes, drawing an unusually large crowd for a daytime set.  Flashing their shiny brass instruments and neon ribbons, the band blew through songs from “Silly Fathers” to “November” with high energy.  Lead singer AnnaKalmia Traver’s stage presence one of the best of the festival.  With no DJ sets to hold her back, Traver took control of the entire stage, even jumping off to face-paint those lucky enough to be standing in the front row. 

Rubblebucket

 

Crystal Castles

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Even before making a sound, Alice Glass of Crystal Castles stunned fans by flaunting her bright cotton-candy-purple hair instead of her usual black bob.  As if a switch went on, Glass burst into movement when the raucous beats began.  Like in many of her previous shows, she ran right up to the barricade, teetering on the slim bar while screamed into her mic as if she was going to devour it.  In contrast, bandmate Ethan Kath didn’t really leave his station behind the synth board, bobbing occasionally while twisting out the clever transitions and incessant beats.  With their performance coinciding with the sunset, the hour long show seemed like one continuous blur that only intensified as the night fell. 

Crystal Castles

 

Skrillex

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There were a lot of disclaimers overheard throughout the crowd before Skrillex came on in the Main Stage:

“Ugh do we HAVE to listen to Skrillex?”

“I ONLY listen to Skrillex live.”

“Skrillex is the worst, but nothing else is going on so I might as well…”

lighters upDespite these mixed feelings, his set drew an enormous crowd that swarmed a major portion of the festival grounds.  His set was paired with fire, smoke, and ‘never before seen’ visuals including (but not limited to): Scenes of himself DJ-ing, spazzing forests, the Bangarang album cover, a pop-tart cat skidding across a rainbow (a.k.a. Nan-Cat).  The violent noises stopped for a brief moment during his remix of “Cinema”, when he commanded everyone to raise their lighters.  Instantly the sky was filled with flickering lights that stretched as far back as the Ferris wheel.  This ironically calm scene lasted only a fraction of a second as Skrillex resumed to conclude his set with “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”.

lighters up

 

Camp Bisco

 

Friday, July 13th

The Knocks

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The Knocks started off early noon with the few attendees that have recovered from the previous night.  The duo spun several new tracks as well as a series of remixes that ranged from Alphabeat’s “Something I Can Dance to” to M83’s “Midnight City “.  By time the finished with “Dancing With the DJ”, the crowd tripled in both size and energy.

The Knocks

 

Emancipator

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Domonic LalliAs if Emancipator‘s last-minute addition to Friday’s lineup wasn’t exciting enough, their performance was announced to be a special collaboration set with Bonobo, Domonic Lalli of Big Gigantic, and vocalist Molly Kummerle of Paper Tiger.  It started off simple, with Doug Appling and his violinist performing ‘trip-hop’ tracks like “Evergreen” under a gorgeous panel of atmospheric visuals and lights.  The music intensified as guest artists, along with several go-go dancers, piled on the stage.  Domonic Lalli’s saxophone accompaniment to the Big Gigantic remix of “Ares” was undoubtedly one of the best collaborations of the set.  With so many great artists and instruments coming together, it’s safe to say that Emancipator’s show was the most creative and dynamic set of this year’s festival.

Emancipator

 

Amon Tobin

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Everything about Amon Tomin ‘sISAM headlining performance was enormous.  From the massive Main Stage crowd to the thunderous, ground shaking bass, Tobin’s set certainly made its mark on Camp Bisco.  The only thing bigger than the two was the stage set up: the giant white cubes stacked on top of each other to create a 3-D screen for the projections that flashed on it.  The images transformed the cube into mechanical engines, spaceships, and galaxies while every movement synchronized with the pulse of the sound.  Given the size of everything else, many were expecting Tobin’s entrance to be just as grand.  But the occasional flashes from inside the cube revealed that Tobin was already there inside.  The graphics created an IMAX-like effect where the viewer was pulled further and further into what they saw and, more importantly, what they heard. 

Amon Tobin

 

Tycho

Tycho

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While a large portion of the camp crowded at the B.I.G. tent for MiM0SA‘s chaotic performance, many stayed behind at the Label tent for Tycho.  The first few songs of the set lacked visuals due to some technical mishaps, but soon enough the screen projected warm images designed by Scott Hanson himself.  Songs from the album Dive as well as a series of new material were played throughout the continuous set, ending with the rhythmic swelling of “Costal Brake”.  The tent was full but not packed, giving just enough room for listeners to nod, sway, and dance to the instrumental dream-pop that consumed the smoke filled tent.

Tycho

 

Camp Bisco

 

Saturday, July 14th

YACHT

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Claire L. EvansThere were no flashing lights or breathtaking graphics for YACHT‘s performance on Saturday, but the band’s fierce charm gave them more than enough momentum to spark the growing Main Stage crowd.  Vocalist Claire Evans’s sharp movements accented each song from “Psychic City” to “I Walked Alone”.  The band did their usual Q&A session with the crowd, where they answered every question from, “What’s your favorite book?” (Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) to “Can you guys play forever?” (“We’ll play forever in your hearts!”).

YACHT

 

Big Gigantic

Big Gigantic

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Nearly all of Camp Bisco gathered around the Main Stages to see the headliners Big Gigantic and Bassnectar.  Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic combined the use of live instruments (saxophone and drums) with electronic buildups in songs like “Uprising” to fuel the restless crowd. 

Big Gigantic

 

Bassnectar

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Bassnectar‘s performance began with a promising start, but not long after he began set the music froze three times.  For a moment, it felt like the he was doing it on purpose – maybe he was playing a dirty trick, pausing before drops to get the crowd screaming for more.  But the mop-haired DJ muttered a couple of apologies, blaming the over-heated set and his “shitty” turntable.  Thankfully the Bisco crowd was too high (in spirit…) to care, and all was forgiven.  Soon enough the massive crowd was pulsing, banners were waving, and totems were jerking while Bassnectar’s hair flung side to side to the beat.  Hits like “Va Va Voom”, “Ping Pong”, and “Timestretch” seemed to be the biggest crowd pleasers.  But the DJ did not play the one song everyone was waiting for: “Basshead”.  The three-time set freeze was excusable, but this was not.  Nearly everyone walked out a confused and a bit letdown. 

no 'Basshead'?!?

 

Disco Biscuits

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Disco Biscuits played their last and longest set on Saturday night.  This timeless jam band played a total of six major sets throughout the three days of Camp Bisco – after all, the festival was originally created for them.  The varying styles and rhythmic beats of the Disco Biscuits were so easy to get lost into without ever being bored.  Their concluding show in Camp Bisco was an unforgettable three-hour trance of lights and rolling beats that seemed to go by just as quickly as the three-day festival itself. 

Disco Biscuits

 

-words & photos: Gloria Lee

 

Camp Bisco

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