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Posted Jul 22nd, 2010 (3:49 pm) by Joe D. Michon-Huneau

After a long, cold night of staring at my tent walls, I made peace with the fact that I would not be getting any sleep, and as the sun started to bake the earth once more, I crawled out to recover in whatever breeze might be a-blowin’ my way. The last day of a festival is always an endurance test; by this point, the body and mind are in the midst of a total conflict. While on one hand, you can’t wait to go out and absorb more amazing live music, on the other hand, the undeniably real aches and fatigue from two days of experiencing a music festival to its fullest are starting to take their toll.

Making my way once more to the Dance Tent, I noticed that the previous night’s fiesta had destroyed the festival grounds—plastic cups and bottles were strewn everywhere, crumpled paper towels and empty molly bags shuffled around in the dry wind, and rogue personal belongings mixed with the dirt that was being kicked up into the air and into our lungs. The road crew did what they could to dampen the pathways leading from the campsites to the festival grounds, but the heat of the day quickly soaked up the water trails leaving the dirt at the mercy of thousands of tromping feet. Cars and tents were coated in a thin layer of filth and all in attendance were badly in need of a proper shower.

C-mon & Kypski, a super high-energy dance-rock act that featured, of all things, a double necked bass/guitar, were the first act to hit the Dance Tent. Although I certainly enjoyed their set, I couldn’t help but think that this band would have benefited from playing at 12:30 a.m. rather than 12:30 p.m. This was most clearly represented by the 20 or 30 people dancing / hula-hooping along to C-mon & Kypski’s jams at the front of the tent, while at least five times that amount sat and watched the performance from the back.

Opting to rest through the next few sets of the day, I eventually caught Mimosa, who had stirred a fairly large audience into a dancing frenzy, despite the positively sweltering heat of the late afternoon. Mimosa seamlessly mixed pop songs such as Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” into chilled out Mouse-On-Mars-esque beats to achieve an effect that was, at the very least, unique amongst performances at Camp Bisco. Due to my rapt interest in Mimosa’s incredible set, I was only able to catch the last couple synth-driven, fairly generic tracks by Telepath on the 2nd Stage. In retrospect, I’m glad that I opted not to leave the Dance Tent early, as the most intriguing thing about Telepath’s set didn’t even have to do with the band: throughout the performance, a pair of seemingly-disinterested ladies concentrated their efforts on breathing life into a colorful, abstract painting. The duo made appearances throughout the day, continuing their masterpiece on the ground in front of the Dance Tent stage during Felix Cartal’s set in the late afternoon (how the painting didn’t get knocked over was a wonder to me), and then again on stage during Rusko’s performance some hours later.

Break Science (featuring Talib Kweli and David Murphy of STS9) were scheduled to go on the Main Stage at 4 pm, but presumably, the decades-old stigma—that rappers just love to be notoriously late for their performances—had reared its head once more. So, while Kweli did whatever he wanted to do to put off his performance, Soja took the place of Break Science & Co. on the Main Stage to throw down their white boy reggae sound—a derivative and bland, albeit danceable, performance—without explanation of the set/time switch.

After Soja had finished up their extended set, the core of Break Science (namely Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee) began their set alone, ripping through two impressive drum and bass tracks—much to the dismay of those only waiting for their special guests—before announcing David Murphy’s presence. He coolly walked on stage to cheers of a few thousand Sound Tribe fans and took his place behind the keys, slinging a bass over his shoulder in due time. Talib Kweli needed no announcement and he strutted on stage with all the swagger his ego would allow. Unfortunately, that Kanye-esque ego proved to be the cause of Camp Bisco’s biggest disappointment. After making sure that his audience “really listen[ed] to music” instead of just letting sounds hit their ears, he flew through a few raps without issue, including “In this World” off the new Reflection Eternal album Revolutions Per Minute.

The performance (if you want to call it that) went downhill from there, as Kweli decided that the stage’s sound system “needed more vocals.” Over the course of no more than five minutes, Kweli called for more vocals, raising them to the point where I began to hear a distinct ringing in my ears from my spot 150 feet away from stage. This all culminated in cutting off Break Science midway through “The Ballad of the Black Gold” to call out the sound team on their faults. Kweli was rude and unprofessional, botching his own lyrics in a number of songs; Break Science and David Murphy were noticeably annoyed when Kweli cut them off a second time to perform a cappella. After an anti-climactic last song, the rapper stormed offstage in a huff without warning, no doubt throwing a hissyfit backstage to alleviate his wounded ego.

The clouds that had formed in the sky by this point were getting to be rather threatening, and after postponing performances due to lightning, Kill the Noise went on. With an entourage of t-shirt tossers, Kill the Noise threw down such a high energy set that when management, yet again due to lightning, cut his performance short—only about 25 minutes into it—the audience went nuts. One audience member kept screaming “FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!” at the unfortunate soul responsible for preventing mass electrocution. From my vantage point behind the stage, it seemed as if the crowd would jump the barriers to take out security and somehow force KTN to continue the set. Luckily for everyone behind the gate, this did not happen, and the crowd abated after a few more minutes of protest.

No sooner than security had herded everyone out of the Dance Tent it began pouring. Lightening spiderwebbed across the sky, splitting and forking down in every which way, all of which I watched from the safety of a minivan’s open hatchback in awe.

After an hour or so of some of the most intense thunderstorms that I had ever witnessed, we finally headed down to check out The Disco Biscuits who, well, played like we expected them to play. The mastermind behind their incredible laser show deserves a big high five though; when it started to rain again (no lightning this time), the droplets that fell through the green, red, yellow and purple beams looked like sparkling glitter falling from the heavens.

After a fairly decent set by the Biscuits, a megaphone-toting man in a golf cart announced that Girl Talk would be performing in the Dance Tent instead of on the 2nd Stage as was originally planned. Without a doubt, this switch allowed for Gregg Gillis to put on one of his most impressive shows we had ever seen him play. Pulling clips from various songs on Night Ripper and Feed the Animals, he mixed them together with at least a dozen unrecorded tracks, before finally ending his set with John Lennon’s “Imagine” layered on top of a quiet backbeat. The entire audience sang along as one gigantic, multi-headed organism, while Gillis crouched over his laptop, finally bringing his set to a gorgeous conclusion that was met by raucous applause.

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