Camp Bisco Day 2: Disillusioned and dirty

The downsides to summer music festivals become more apparent at the electronic/jam band event.

While Camp Bisco X's first day presented unmatched excitement and the thrill of attending a three-day summer concert, Day Two disillusioned us. The sets we saw still drove through jamming and electronic sweetness, but overpriced food, sound issues, high-anticipation and muddy conditions put a damper on the day.

With that in mind, here are two complaints from Camp Bisco Day Two:

Dirty Bisco: The showers stopped working in the Berlin campsite. The Porta-Potties are no longer reasonable alternatives to discreet clumps of trees. And there's mud everywhere from the rain: slippery, sloshy, toe-sucking mud. Welcome to the latest summer music festival.

Disorganized Bisco: During Conspirator's set the sound from half the musicians cut out. During the opening minutes of MSTRKRFT's set, an irritated, swearing Jesse Keeler expressed his frustration over his silent equipment: "I'm not hooked up!" And the late-night DFA Records DJ tent set, featuring a much-touted appearance by James Murphy, was just flat-out boring, and the crowd knew it.

That said, it didn't all suck, far from it.

Day Two's five best artists include:

Tobacco, who's set hugely improved upon a lackluster Black Moth Super Rainbow set. Taking his drummer and synth-girl with him for a darker, dryer set in the dance tent, the BMSR frontman slew a crowd that genuinely wanted to see him over larger (and relatively mediocre) act Conspirator. Still enigmatically bent down over his electronic equipment, Tobacco nonetheless played closer to his target audience and pleased them more than he did with his main band. (Tragically no animal suits at BMSR this time.)

Easy Star All Stars took the prize for most laidback set of the day. Their dredlocked members interchanged vocals and covered "With a Little Help from My Friends," "Time," "Karma Police" and other tracks by the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Radiohead. They then played "First Light" from upcoming album of the same Female lead singer assured the crowd, "We wrote it for you."

Shpongle's Bisco set was the audio-visual act's first in the US, one beset with eagerness and encouragement from the crowd. They disappoint. In addition to a violinist, cellist, guitarist, drummer and an old man dressed in multi-colored robes occasionally playing a flute, Shpongle featured blue grass-skirted dancing girls, a contortionist wearing a black-and-yellow checkered body-suit and a girl undulating inside of a humanoid rainbow tube. Their pageantry was an audio-visual smorgasbord set to the occasional '80s guitar line.

Ratatat started off slowly on the main stage but picked up from the middle to the end. From when I watched them double-teaming a drum beat, to inciting audience hand-clapping, to dueling guitar and bass solos, to closing on the winding guitar solos of hit track "Desert Eagle," the two blue-light-tinged instrumental wizards moved and grooved a crowd not entirely there for them.

MSTRKRFT's post-1 a.m. set took the cake for pre-show anticipation. When Keeler and Al-P took the stage, the crowd in the dark, muddy Grooveshark tent exploded, chanting their names and banging their heads. And the duo did them proud once the music started. The only drawback: there was hardly any room in the tent for VIPs, let alone media. After 15 minutes, we had to leave — the best and most disappointing show of the day.

Honorable mentions:

Break Science (and RJD2): Bumping mid-afternoon set from young synth and live-drum masters.
Ghostland Observatory: The final main act of the night, and an epic laser show.
The Disco Biscuits: More of the same jamming goodness, three sets on the last day!

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