As I turned the corner of 9th Avenue and 36th Street I saw the marquee of Hammerstein Ballroom‚ NYC. I thought back to my first concert experience‚ with NYC natives Sonic Youth‚ at this same venue as a naïve‚ wide-eyed‚ 12-year-old. My parents dropped my best buddy and me off right in front and we were set loose. Once inside‚ I saw what all the talk was about. I stepped into a place where the rules of the outside world did not apply‚ a place closer to freedom and natural anarchy. Jam-band-patriarchs the Disco Biscuits create an atmosphere that personifies this otherworldly aspect‚ and tonight it was in full effect.
Venues in New York City have a feeling of freedom to them; they are often large with room to roam around‚ inviting and unpretentious. This can be said for New York City nightlife in general. The Disco Biscuit's crew had covered the inside of the venue with hypnotic blacklight decorations‚ emulating the feeling of artistic immersion experienced at a psytrance event. The Biscuits' invented genre of "transfusion" has done a good job of bridging these two freedom-loving musical genres.

Once the Biscuits got started‚ the obvious story appeared to be on the newest member of the band‚ drummer Allen Aucoin. He is beginning to really gel with the rest of the members‚ and after having to learn every song in the Biscuits' massive catalog inside and out‚ what's really standing out is how the chemistry has developed. It was clear that Allen's power and direction progressed fluently as the night went on. Set one included "Little Lai" and "Caterpillar" with guest Tom Hamilton of Brothers Past contributing on guitar. The two songs were tied together with an extended jam‚ which then moved into an interesting cover of "Where the Streets Have No Name‚" with Tom also adding vocals. The hypnotic‚ often ambient style of U2 fits well with the electronic jamming of the Disco Biscuits. From there‚ "Caterpillar" went into "Alter Ego‚" one of the highlights of the newer songs in the catalogue.
Set two was one of the segue-fest‚ freeform jams that define the Disco Biscuits‚ beginning with "Helicopters" followed by "Boom Shanker" and the ending portion of "Basis for a Day." The jam then went into "Bernstein and Chasnoff" on into a section of "Voices Insane‚" followed by a complete "Orch Theme"- the whole time teasing different songs into each other‚ bouncing back and forth‚ intermixing tunes. The set closed by tying itself back together when the band fell back into "Bernstein and Chasnoff." The evening ended with a "Mastermind" encore. It was the weaving improvisation in and out of songs that kept this show fresh‚ and ultimately what keeps the Biscuits' large and loyal following satisfied.

The most refreshing aspect about this Biscuits experience was that it felt like the first time that Allen was leading the jams‚ something appropriate for music that is influenced heavily by drum and bass improvisation. The trance/jam genre the Biscuits helped pioneer relies heavily on virtuoso drumming; it's the backbone needed to be able to keep up with the complex‚ high speed rhythms of electronic dance music. And at the same time‚ it's the crucial foundation that allows and dictates how Magner's keys and Barber's guitar will either soar or add texture to the music. When it works‚ this is what gives the Biscuits' music its own unique voice‚ and when it really works‚ that's when you hear the Biscuits' magic.
This show felt like part of an exciting turning point in the Biscuits career: one in which the new lineup has mastered the old material together and are now playing‚ expanding and delivering on the first batch of original songs since the Allen Aucoin joined the group. You could sense that Biscuit fans are anxiously awaiting a new album with fresh material‚ one created in conjunction with the new link in the chain.