Disco Biscuits at the Ogden Theatre, 1/25/13

Categories: Concert Reviews

Eric Gruneisen
Disco Biscuits on stage at the Ogden Theatre in Denver.


Although the Disco Biscuits' show at the Ogden Theatre may have been only the second in the band's three Colorado stops for their Winter Inferno tour, the Philadephia quartet made it feel distinct, treating the show like its own musical statement. Both segments of the lengthy performance were largely instrumental and jam-based, but each had their own themes and structures. As much as the band reveled in lengthy solos and improvisation, each part of the set had an impressive amount of structure and planning behind it, and the band and the crowd seemed wholly focused on the moment for the entire night.

See also:
- Slide show: Bisco Inferno at the 1STBANK Center
- Disco Biscuits' Aron Magner on making every Bisco show special
- Jon Gutwillig of the Disco Biscuits on Red Rocks, the pop-up store and Bisco Inferno

Eric Gruneisen
Disco Biscuits on stage at the Ogden Theatre in Denver.

The band played two full sets, but the second half of the show was just as ambitious and complex as the first, and the music found a complement in the band's trademark array of lighting stunts and laser effects. Dazzling patterns of beams would shift and morph with a break in a solo or a shift of key. As ten- and fifteen-minute solos would come to an end without warning, bassist/vocalist Marc Brownstein, guitarist Jon Gutwillig and keyboardist Aron Magner would jump into a round of vocals.

Such spot-on transitions and sudden shifts gave some degree of method to the band's musical madness. But that effect only went so far. The group stayed true to their jam-based approach to live performance, a dynamic that incorporated elements of electronica and dance music. There were enough lengthy solos and long stretches of 4/4 beats to satisfy the mob of loyal fans packed onto the dance floor. Steady, driving beats from drummer Allen Aucoin helped keep even the most experimental moments of the show danceable, as did the synth effects provided by Magner combined with the eye candy coming from the lasers.

Eric Gruneisen
Disco Biscuits on stage at the Ogden Theatre in Denver.

But that was only one part of the Disco Biscuits' approach. The music also offered plenty of bluesy guitar solos, rock-based drum explorations and even a number in waltz time. The band took the stage at about 10:20 p.m., and it took several minutes of a slow, plodding drum intro and a mounting set of electronic effects before they found their more rapid, dance-based beats.

When the tempo finally sped up and the laser effects kicked off with full-force, the band made a reference to their rock and roll roots, breaking out into a surreal version of "Run Like Hell" from The Wall by Pink Floyd. That tune was the first vocal delivery of the evening by Brownstein and Gutwillig, and they traded off lines on different sides of the stage. The sound of the vocals was muddy, but no one seemed disappointed about the lack of lyrical clarity.

Eric Gruneisen
Disco Biscuits on stage at the Ogden Theatre in Denver.

Before they reached the second verse, however, the band broke into a complex series of solos, riffs and motifs. After nearly twenty instrumental minutes, the band jumped into a lengthy version of "Confrontation." Following the only song break of the first set, the quartet launched into a bluesy, guitar-based riff that set up another round of lengthy, solo-based instrumentals. Before wrapping up the first half of the show, the band returned to the cover of "Run Like Hell," with Gutwillig adding some flair on the main guitar riff.

Location Info


Ogden Theatre

935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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