Summer shows yield impressive lineups for CNY

With a wide variety of New York music festivals in full swing, Camp Bisco X gives us many reasons to go.

With Bonnaroo 2011 now a thing of the past, Lollapalooza 2011 on the way, Coachella 2012 announced (as two identical weekends, no less), Central New York music junkies should probably turn their ears toward Mariaville, N.Y., and Camp Bisco X.

The Disco Biscuits’ festival returns July 7 for a 10th birthday after years of operating at a full clip, showcasing well-known acts like LCD Soundsystem, Major Lazer and Ween. NewsHouse was there last summer and had a great time. We're here to give you some highlights.

Illustration: Caitlin O'Donnell

Summer Music Fest Calendar

SuperBall IX
July 1-3 at Watkins Glen

American Roots Festival
July 2 at Caramoor Center in Katonah

Camp Bisco X
July 7- 9 at Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville

Gathering of the Vibes
July 21-24 at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Conn.

Escape 2 New York
August 5-7 at Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton.

Freedom of Expression
August 12-14 at Kittatinny Campground in Barryville

Bisco’s just the one we’ve got our eye on now, and this summer’s jam-packed with more festivals than you could ever possibly roadtrip to. If you dig Bisco, you might also enjoy shows like Phish Super Ball IX, the American Roots and Freedom of Expression Music Festivals, and Gathering of the Vibes and Escape to New York if you want to really hit the road. Summertime tends to be a fruitful season for touring and exposure for musicians, especially when playing festivals.

"At the festivals you're definitely the main event. You've gotta give people a reason to stick around," said Jesse F. Keeler of electronic duo MSTRKRFT.

Keeler contrasted playing at festivals with playing at nightclubs, his usual scene with MSTRKRFT. When the act last played Bisco, he played a set in the rain without his musical partner Al-P, who was sick. This year the two are returning among a growing roster of dozens of other artists.

"It's like everything is at 11," Keeler said. "You can't ever let things get boring."

From what we can tell, Camp Bisco will be everything but boring this year. Check out the full lineup here and our picks of what to see and hear:

What bands can't I miss?

Death From Above 1979: Recently reunited noise-rocking riot-starters Sebastien Granger and Jesse F. Keeler serve up a one-two punch of sonic brain-blasting and do it with just drums, a bass and some synths between them.

Black Moth Super Rainbow: Between members going by names like Seven Fields of Aphelion and a frontman who hides in the back of the stage with his face buried in a vocoder, BMSR intentionally shroud themselves in synth-saturated electronic mystery. Performance art more than music, the last time I saw them they had a man in an animal suit throw tortilla chips at the audience. It was awesome.

What acts should I skip?

Wiz Khalifa: Wiz sucked the last time he rolled through Syracuse. Posturing on stage behind an ineffective posse and a haze of marijuana-obsessed pseudo-lyricism didn't do it for me then and isn't likely to do it for me this time around in an open-air festival setting: there are simply better acts to see:

Bands you should know not to miss:

  • Death From Above 1979
    • The Disco Biscuits
    • DFA Disco Tent featuring James Murphy and Pat Mahoney
    • Ratatat
    • Cut Copy
    • Yeasayer
    • Bassnectar
    • Break Science w/RJD2
    • Pretty Lights

Bands we are telling you not to miss:

  • Black Moth Super Rainbow (Note: enigmatic frontman Tobacco is also playing a set)
    • Damon Dash's DD172 Stage
    • Four Tet
    • Shpongle Live
    • Das Racist
    • Skrillex
    • SBTRKT
    • The Hood Internet
    • Keys N Krates
    • Sonic Spank

If none of those tickle your fancy (let’s be real, Sonic Spank is on there because of its awesome name), there are plenty of other options to explore. Phish's Super Ball IX is the storied jam band’s ninth annually curated music festival, and will feature the band playing over three days. Freedom of Expression is set to be the Delaware River’s coolest and most innovative new music festival, with cheap tickets for a solid gaggle of electronic artists led by Rochester natives Roots Collider. You even get a free river rafting ride. The American Roots Festival will showcase legends like James Maddock, Ollabelle and the David Grisman Jazz-Folk Trio among others for a day-long celebration in Katonah, N.Y.

If you want to travel a little farther, Gathering of the Vibes Festival in Connecticut will feature more popular acts like Jane’s Addiction and Elvis Costello, while Patti Smith and Of Montreal will headline Eastern Long Island’s Escape to New York Festival.

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