Review: Bisco Inferno Burns Up Colorado

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The encore saw the end of Morph, led by a beautiful solo by Guitarist Jon Gutwillig before Keyboardist Aron Magner took over the ending. Everyone at the venue was headed to Red Rocks for the next day’s festivities. There was a heady vibe as the Ogden emptied out, everybody seemed to want more.

Saturday was cloudy but the rain held off as Red Rocks slowly filled throughout the day. Despite the lack of sun, there were still patches of blue sky, and Red Rocks was every bit as beautiful as can be imagined. The schedule was arranged to alternate between bands and DJs, leaving acts like the New Deal and Lotus with shorter day sets. Despite short sets, both bands absolutely killed, leaving much more to be desired. The DJs simply served as transition music, with only small percentages of the crowd getting down to them. RJD2 spun a very familiar set, which was fun but very predicable. Z-Trip was fun when he wasn’t taking the time to inform everyone that he still uses turntables, that he is the number four ranked DJ nationally, or that he is just generally awesome. Orchard Lounge was by far the most exciting of the DJ acts, unfortunately most of the people were on the way into the venue when they performed.

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The Disco Biscuits came on at 9:00 to a packed house, and did not by any means disappoint. They opened up with a monster Rock Candy that segued into Strobelights and Martinis sandwiching the beginning of I-Man. This high energy segment was one of the highlights of the night. Hearing Magner take over at the beginning of Strobelights was such a treat, it is a song he truly dominates and this time was no exception. Jon “the Barber” Gutwillig howled on his guitars the entire night.

The 28 minute inverted Crickets’ peak was a true testament to his raw talent. The jam that ensued featured absolutely on-fire drumming by Allen Aucoin, and it had the whole place going crazy. People went insane during Sound One, it was an old-school treat to hear, a rarity in the Biscuits’ vast song catalog. Uber Glue, a newer track debuted in the previous months, marked the first appearance of interpretive dancers dressed in elaborate glow-in-the-dark outfits. The dancer filled a void left by the lack of lighting. The wind at Red Rocks makes it hard for a continuous haze for the lights to be displayed in full force.

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A flawless rendition of Sabre Dance followed to end the set, a rock rendition of a classical ballet they haven’t played in six years. Sabre Dance is a movement from the final act of Aram Khachaturian’s ballet Gayane, made famous by countless appearances in cartoons and movies. The entire venue was going absolutely nuts as the first set ended.

The time in between Bisco sets was occupied by a set by DJ Paul Oakenfold. It was hard to see Oakenfold as much more than a marketing ploy to bring in a thousand or so fans, and it certainly worked. Oakenfold was the only artist to be making a return visit to Red Rocks, a venue which he has previously sold out. His set had most people in the crowd bored, partly because they were eight hours into a very long day of music, but mostly because his set was just pretty boring. You could feel peaks in his music coming from a mile away, and even people who were barely on planet Earth found themselves sitting for the majority of his set.

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Once he left the stage, there was a clearly visible exodus. The aforementioned crowd he brought in mostly left as the Biscuits came back on. Those who did leave missed one hell of a party during the second set of the Biscuits. The second part of I-man into Orch Theme featured Gutwilling dancing all over the stage while Marc Brownstein was laying down an incredible, driving, bass line.

The encore featured a first time rendition of White Chicks With Gang Signs, before playing City and Svenghali. The encore did not have as much energy as the rest of the night, but after 10 hours of non-stop music it wasnt really needed. Most of the crowd was beat at this point, and it was nice to sit down and relax to a few more tunes before hiking down to the parking lots and heading home after an incredible night.

Hearing the lyrics “Sitting on a mountain top, 15 miles above the city” while you are literally doing just that is quite surreal. The Band’s first show at Red Rocks will hopefully lead to many more nights there. Brownstein mentioned a return appearance next year and you could clearly tell in his voice all night how happy he was to play Red Rocks, fulfilling a life-long dream.

Here’s more tremendous photographs by Jason Woodside…

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