:: Boulder Theater :: January 24 ::
By Timothy Dwenger
As winter really sets in, the snow starts to fall and temperatures drop into the single digits and below, whose mind doesn’t drift off to thoughts of relaxing with friends or family on a warm beach somewhere? Natives of Philadelphia, where winters are notoriously grey and cold, The Disco Biscuits have figured out a way to spend a week on the beaches of Mexico each winter and actually have it qualify as “work.” Three years ago, The Disco Biscuits partnered with their friends in Umphrey’s McGee and STS9 and launched the Mayan Holidaze Festival, that allows them to hightail it out of the Northeast in favor of sun and sand for a few days in December. When The Marquee caught up with Biscuits keyboard player Aron Magner, he was in the midst of the Mayan madness. He sounded relaxed and excited as he explained that he had literally just returned from a five hour, two-tank, dive excursion and was slated to play a set from midnight to three in the morning that night. It may not sound like work, but for The Disco Biscuits, it is.
Not to shatter the idyllic image of late night parties on the beach and days spent lounging by the pool, but this year it sounds like things at Holidaze have changed a bit due to the arrival of another generation. “What is interesting about this year, especially compared to all the previous years, is that I brought my family down,” Magner said. “I’ve got one-year old twin boys and so many other band members and crew members also now have kids. So there are dozens and dozens of kids, all under two years old, that are down here. So now all the band members are not up until six a.m. partying. We are getting up at six a.m. with our kids. At the pool, where everybody used to be drinking margaritas and mojitos, now we are putting floaties on our children. I guess we’ve traded martini glasses for sippy cups.”
There’s no doubt that some of their fans have done the same, and the Biscuits have figured out a way to cater to fans who want to see the band several nights in a row but might not be able to jump in a car and hop from city to city for a week. They have set up multiple, multi-night, festival-like experiences around the country, and even internationally.
In addition to Mayan Holidaze in Mexico, the band runs their own major festival in upstate New York called Camp Bisco, and they recently threw the first City Bisco festival at The Mann Music Center in Philadelphia. With its thirteenth year coming up in July, Camp Bisco has sold out to 25,000 eager fans each of the last two years and featured acts like LCD Soundsystem, Yeasayer, Bassnectar, Skrillex, Ween, Thievery Corporation, and many more. It’s a calculated move by the band to create events that their fans can’t pass up. “One of the most fun parts about this band are the destination shows and we brand them that way,” Magner said. “We make it an event not to be missed. Rather than just saying ‘Hey, we are coming to your town,’ we create an experience that screams, ‘Wherever you are, you need to fly out and join us.’ Whether we are putting together a bill of multiple bands or not, these events are not-to-be-missed spectacles!”
Building on that theme, after taking a year off from the event in 2012, Bisco Inferno will be returning to Colorado in 2013, only this year it will be a “Winter Edition” of the hugely successful event. In the past, Bisco Inferno has culminated with a massive party at Red Rocks, but this year it will move from the Boulder Theater to the Ogden Theatre and finally, invade the 1st Bank Center for a one-night-only blowout there that will feature GRiZ and Michael Menert, in addition the event’s namesake. “When we were playing the Fox Theatre a decade ago, Red Rocks was always in our sights, and then that became a reality, and since the 1st Bank Center opened up it’s been a place we wanted to play,” Magner said, before going on to rave about Colorado’s passionate music fans. “Colorado is a special place for us. We have a ton of fans out there and the scene is incredibly vibrant out in Colorado. It’s one of our favorite places to go. The fans are incredibly accepting of so many different aspects of music, and while Biscuits fans in general are rabid, voracious and loyal, I feel like Colorado fans are like that with music as a whole. They are passionate about music and how it makes them feel. Colorado is kind of our home away from home.”
It may not be sunny and warm in Colorado in January (at least it’s not supposed to be), but there are definitely other reasons to make the trek out here from the East Coast. “Normally, the impetus behind getting out to Colorado in the wintertime is get some time to snowboard before or after the shows,” Magner said. So, some sun and beach time in December and a few days on the slopes in January, all in the name of work? Not a bad gig if you can get it!
Along the same lines of wanting to make as many of their shows as possible less of a single concert and more of a multi-level experience, the band has been continually growing its production systems and will be bringing some of that with them to the 1st Bank Center. “We’ve been travelling with some pretty crazy production recently. We’ve been adding more lasers into the mix and over the last year we started experimenting more with video walls,” Magner said. “We are always trying to step it up and I think if we are going to be playing bigger and better venues like the 1st Bank, we can’t just walk in there with a dozen lights. We need to bring our ‘A-game.’ Everybody in this world is really pushing themselves and other people to step up their production and the technology is starting to become available where it is feasible to do some crazy eye candy stuff.”
In terms of music, Magner admitted that while there isn’t much new material swirling around at the moment, they are delving into the archives and resurrecting some older gems that haven’t seen the light of day for quite some time. “There isn’t much new music in the fold right now, but what comes with that is the opportunity to dig into the back catalog and rework some of the older stuff that hasn’t been brought out in as long as a decade,” Magner said. “That’s really fun because we have such a large arsenal of songs and for whatever reason, some of those songs got left by the wayside. Now we go back through the catalog and start picking up some of the older material. That said, I’m not gonna tell you what we are going to bust out in Colorado.”
:: The Disco Biscuits ::
:: Boulder Theater :: January 24 ::
:: Ogden Theatre :: January 25 ::
:: 1st Bank Center :: January 26 ::
Recommended if you Like:
• Umphrey’s McGee