Review Summary: The Disco Biscuits are one of the few bands who can play for over two and half hours and the audience still screams for more. This performance was chosen to be made an album for a reason.
Jam bands have always been known for their live performances. The Grateful Dead, father of all jam bands, was on tour for pretty much the entire duration of their musical career. Deadheads followed them around America, yearning for more concerts. When the Dead broke up, Phish damn near replaced them, using a great deal of their time to tour and making a substantial amount of music. When Phish ended their musical journey, which jam band was to replace them? Hundreds of local bands across the country had potential to be the next prominent American jam band. However, only one band is utilizing their potential in such a way that they may very well be the best modern day jam band. This band, of course, is the Disco Biscuits.
Of course, Deadheads around the globe would be disagreeing like there is no tomorrow. They sound different, they play different kinds of music, and, worst of all, they tend to get a little silly from time to time (a name like The Disco Biscuits doesn’t exactly help.) But, they have something that the Grateful Dead never had. And that is the ability to play for two and a half hours, still keep the crowd begging for more, and still having the ability to shred wicked-fast solos on any instrument. Not to mention they blend countless genres into their music. The Wind at Four to Fly contains only twelve songs; eight tracks on the first disc and only four on the second. Twelve songs in two and a half hours, that’s it? Many of the songs aren’t even well-known Disco Biscuits songs! What’s the catch? The catch is that these songs are straight-up musical adventures. It is very possible to lose yourself inside of this plethora of instruments. And losing yourself is probably exactly what the Biscuits are hoping for. Of course, the downside of a concert album is that you’re only getting one aspect of the concert: the music. Disco Biscuits shows are filled with breath-taking light shows, chanting and ranting crowds, and, needless to say, insane amounts of drug use. Even without all of these three essential pieces of the concert, The Wind at Four to Fly still makes an intense live album.
Now, when the average length of a song is over 10 minutes in length, it’s rather hard to describe each and every aspect of every track. In fact, at times songs can seem almost never-ending, as they do meld into one another from time to time. However, the real beauty is in the perfectionist style in which the songs are played. The drums never miss a beat and the keyboard-guitar relationship is exceptional. They play off each other with a style unheard of. The mere speed and intensity with which the songs are driven is amazing. The Biscuits are relentlessly pounding two and a half hours of music into our eyes, and they do it flawlessly, without missing a note. Although the instrumentation is at its peak during this concert, the vocals are a bit shaky at times. The lead singer does not an amazing Jeff Buckley voice, but thankfully he doesn’t have an annoying Tom Delonge voice either. His voice is sort of, just, there.
Alone his voice is bare and mediocre, but the harmonies reached with multiple bandmembers are very pleasant, though only a few are used throughout the show.
Let’s end that vocal rant and talk about the standout tracks. The song for which the entire album is named is Morph Dusseldorph. Though the name is a bit peculiar, the song is a beauty and stands alone as one of the highlights of the show. The intro is instantly recognized by the fans and they proceed to scream through the entire song. Such is the case with the opener The World is Spinning as well. With a name like that, one can only guess what the song is about. Not to mention the opener includes one of the few amazing vocal harmonies I’ve spoken so highly of (no pun intended.) Caterpillar really stood out to me because of its eerie guitar and keyboard line-up overpowered by massive drum beats. The song, like many, performs an interesting transformation midway through, yet still the Biscuits manage to keep it recognizable as the same song. I’m not sure how they do this, but it proves to be yet another reason they are the greatest present day jam band. Basis for a Day is one of the many old-favorite Disco Biscuits tracks brought back and replenished with a new feel. I love when bands take their old tracks and change the style of them for live shows, it’s really an amazing ability. The final song of the night, Pat and Dex, ends the show with a bang. Here, the band actually uses their silly lyrics as a strong point, when, near the end of the song, all the instruments cut out and the band performs a strange vocal harmony of such lyrics as “ Sherr wants her lolly lolly, Sherr wants her lollypop”
Weird, I know, but it sounds great nonetheless. Though I’m sure I’ve missed some great moments of the show, I won’t go back to describe them because you’ve got two and half hours of music to pile through. Have fun in the abyss!
The World is Spinning
Basis for a Day
Pat and Dex