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Posted Jul 21st, 2010 (12:06 am) by Joe D. Michon-Huneau

The crowd at the first show of the day was pretty thin, with most people in recovery mode from the night before spent passed out under cars, umbrellas, or anywhere else some kind of shelter could be found. Walking up to the 2nd Stage as Constellations were kicking out a surprisingly accurate version of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” I noticed how relatively clean the festival grounds were compared to the night before. The volunteer crew was out and about, doing their part to keep the ground plastic free. Constellations played their excited but wholly uninteresting radio hit “Felicia” before breaking out the cowbell for an offensively rock ‘n’ roll rendition of Tom Waits’ “Step Right Up,” their tank tops darkening with sweat as the heat of high noon beat down.

Beats Antique came on the Main Stage after that, accompanied by a tattooed belly dancer named Zoe Jakes, her silver dollar sized hoop earrings swinging as she wriggled her hips to the Middle Eastern beats behind her, which included the strange sounds of what looked like an electric banjo played with a slide.

Woodhands’ set at the Dance Tent was impressive as ever. It was still a bit early in the afternoon for dancing, but they played harder with each straggler that strolled into the shade of the tent as one audience member helped the boost festive atmosphere by blowing up a pocketful of white and yellow balloons to smack around. Songs from their new album Remorsecapade such as “I Should Have Gone with My Friends” came off especially well, and the ever-increasing crowd was torn between pushing up close at singer/keytarist Dan Werb’s request and dancing in the cool sunny shower that began sprinkling outside during their last three songs.

Heading back to the campsite for a refueling of key nutrients (see: alcohol, caffeine, etc.), I ended up missing Earl Greyhound and RAQ, but all of the attendees I spoke with had nothing but good things to say about their performances. Big Gigantic was next on the 2nd Stage and though I admittedly am not a huge fan of the saxophone in general, they blew me away with their dramatic jazz/electro combination. Preferring improvised mixing to playing full songs, saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli threw Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” into one song as he mouthed the lyrics and nodded along. Audience members then quickly moved over to the Main Stage to claim their standing ground for Wu Massacre, featuring Method Man, Ghostface, and Raekwon, but their effort was in vain as rappers are notoriously late to come on stage.

When Wu Massacre finally did waltz out half an hour later, blunts in tow, the overexcited fans held up their hands in the shape of a ‘W’ and cheered as Method Man blew out a huge puff of smoke. Wu Massacre were lively as hell, jumping all around the stage and pumping up the crowd better than most other performers managed over the whole weekend, proving that they were and still are the reigning kings of hip-hop. They had a ton of energy, a great hold on their audience, and all in attendance were taken on an excursion back to the golden days of rap.

Heading over to the Dance Tent again, I walked into the tail end of Eskmo’s set. He had his keyboard and pads curiously angled toward the crowd, hovering over his equipment so everyone could see exactly what his fingers were doing. Eskmo’s music was intriguing, but I was compelled to leave after just two songs to bounce back over to the 2nd Stage to check out The Album Leaf. Unfortunately for them, their incredibly mellow and chillingly beautiful songs were only heard by a smattering of Bisco attendees. There were small groups lounging on blankets and hula hoopers scattered across the lawn, but there couldn’t have been more than 200 people standing up in front of the stage to get a full view.

Needing to refuel once more, I headed back to camp, skipping Dieselboy, Thievery Corporation, and Jeff Bujak, the latter of whom I’ve seen before and recommend to anyone who hasn’t. The rest proved as timely as it was necessary because Major Lazer took the stage next in what was a major highlight of the day. Arriving en masse to the 2nd Stage, we witnessed and took part in some of the heaviest dancing of the weekend. Diplo performed sans Switch, but that didn’t stop him from dropping some of his hottest dancehall beats upon the baffled but eagerly moving audience. He unexpectedly mixed in Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants” while two unidentified emcees were pumping up the eager crowd and dry humping across the stage. It was strange to see Major Lazer while it was still light out, but the sun was setting behind the stage and it was dark by the end of the vigorous performance. By this point it was obvious that the party was in full swing.

Bassnectar was another highlight. I’ve seen his show before and nothing he’s done previously could compare to this level of personal excellence. Even Gregg Gillis was reportedly seen in the audience raging along with the rest of us. Lorin Ashton directed the crowd wonderfully and was beaming back the positive energy he was getting from the heaving crowd. His improvisational mixing skills were on display as the lights flashed across a sea of hands pumping with the beat. “I get cut off in ten minutes,” Ashton lamented, “and I have so much music to play for you!”

Heading back to camp once more, we bedazzled ourselves with glowsticks, glitter, and vice and scampered over to the Dance Tent for Diplo’s solo late night set. This is a man deserving of praise—he is a machine, so completely involved with his performance that not even silly taunts from the audience could slow him down. One audience member yelled at the beginning of his set “Be more British” in response to his dapper attire, and Diplo laughed along with the crowd and proceeded to blast out a very different set than he usually plays. The crowd couldn’t get enough of him: beach balls were flying around, bodies were dancing like never before, and we were all gleefully taken aback with admiration.

The New Deal also played a very different set than usual and we danced until we could dance no longer, too spun out to keep focus on the torrent of movers and shakers wiggling around us. Halfway through their swirling set, I made my way back to my tent to settle into a long night of forced, unsuccessful attempts at getting a little shuteye.

Photography by Derek Duoba

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