RIGHTEOUS: The Disco Biscuits at Jannus Live
Righteous. Legendary. You pick the superlative. The second set by The Disco Biscuits last night (Sunday, September 19) at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg was every bit of that and more. Following a solid first set, the boys took us into orbit, closing out the three-night, outdoors Florida abbreviation run (St. Augustine, Ft. Lauderdale, St. Petersburg).
We shall refer to “the boys” as Barber (Jon Gutwillig, guitars, vocals), Magner (Aron Magner, keyboards, vocals), Brownie (Marc Brownstein, bass, vocals), and Alan (Alan AuCoin, drums, percussion).
They opened with “Rivers,” a mid-tempo tune featuring Barber and Magner on vocals that kicked up in intensity toward the end. The paused as Brownie asked, “What’s up, guys? Good to be back.” The response from the crowd was weak at best. We will revisit this theme, because all too often fans don’t respond as enthusiastically as I believe they should, expecting to be entertained without working for it.
Brownie handled vocals on “Sister Judy’s Soul Shack,” with Magner and Barber backing. Magner makes use of his full array of keyboards and synths, and here his piano work was absolutely delightful. As they dug in, Barber’s brilliant guitar came to the fore.
There was another brief pause before they launched an incredible sequence with “Above the Waves,” and IT. WAS. ON. For the next hour, they mesmerized. Alan was a titan, and Magner’s synths swirled everywhere. Brownie had the fattest (phattest?) tone I can remember. The jam yielded to “Crickets (middle)”; it was just killer. Everybody was on fire, and they returned to “Above the Waves” to finish set one.
Jannus Live has a hard 11 p.m. curfew. The first set began at 7:36, ending at 9:01. Set two opened with a nasty “Funk Jam.” Eight minutes in, they shifted to “Munchkin Invasion (unfinished),” and the tension was palpable. the dove almost immediately into the jam, Brownie and Alan so very, very deep in the pocket. 23 minutes later, there was the slightest pause, and out rolled “Caterpillar,” with the vocals bouncing back and forth between Brownie and Barber. The jam took off again, and the crowd was bouncing! Magner danced all over his keyboards, with some great electric piano interspersed with Barber’s shredding as “Spacebirdmatingcall” emerged. It was HUGE!
There was another shift as Magner unleashed the clavinet, and the jam went sky-high for the ending of “Digital Buddha.” It was 10:43, and Brownie thanked us for coming. This was the greatest set I’ve heard from The Disco Biscuits, yet you could almost hear a pin drop; the response from the crowd was underwhelming.
Once again, we — the St. Pete crowd — did not deserve an encore. Fortunately for us all, the band had other ideas. Barber stepped to the mic, talking about having fun. Then he said, “We’re going to pick up where we left off.”
That would be a gross understatement. They absolutely torched “Digital Buddha,” blowing us all away. It was just so powerful. Finally, a minute or two after curfew, they returned to “Caterpillar” to close out a legendary set and night.
Feature image courtesy of Jeffrey Scott Meehan.
Pre-game photos by Silky Shots.
Live shots are screen grabs from video of “Rivers” and “Sister Judy’s Soul Shack.”