Exactly five years after they appeared in the Gazette and almost two decades after they began performing together, the Disco Biscuits are still making music. The Penn-grown jam band has now released nine albums — four of them in the last three years — and has played its unique “trance-fusion” aka “electronica-jam” aka “Bisco” at venues near and far, from Mexico to Atlanta, Los Angeles to Louisville, Baltimore to Miami.
All that traveling seems to make a hometown gig all the sweeter. Still based in Philadelphia, the band recently announced its upcoming City Bisco festival, which it will both headline and curate Oct. 5 and 6 at the Mann Center. In writing about the two-day, multi-stage festival, the Biscuits’ excitement was obvious:
“Hometown rage! Two nights at the beautiful Mann Center, in the largest urban park in the world! What could be better? Actually we’ll tell you what could make it even better. This lineup! We’re so stoked to bring all these acts to join us for our homecoming weekend.”
Apparently Philadelphia is stoked, too. When tickets went on sale last month, the Biscuits reported that all 2,000 pre-sale passes had sold “instantly.” (But not to worry if you missed it, the group added, since the Mann can accommodate up to 14,000 fans.) In addition to the Biscuits, the festival will also feature Diplo, A-Trak, RJD2, Paper Diamond, Papadosio, Aeroplane, Tipper, Cinnamon Chasers, Ott and the All Seeing (Live Band), Tiger and Woods, Brothers Past and other groups, too.
Originally made up of Jon Gutwillig EAS’99, Sam Altman C’96 and former Penn students Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner, the group now includes Allen Aucoin, a non-alumnus drummer who replaced Altman when he left for med school in 2005. In his 2007 Gazette article, Nate Chinen C’98 charts the group’s rise from campus-party entertainers to celebrated headliners. He writes:
The band’s fan base is better suited now to cavernous arenas than low-ceilinged clubs. The Highline, with its standing capacity of 700, doesn’t begin to meet the demand, even with sold-out shows on two consecutive nights. Essentially the Biscuits are playing there as a favor to the owner, Brownstein later explains. They’re part of an inaugural spate of bookings that also includes singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke, rapper-turned-actor Mos Def, British soul-siren Amy Winehouse, and underground-rock legend Lou Reed.
Here’s a preview of their 2010 DVD to get you started: