Tractorbeam at the Mish
27 Oct 2010

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Most of my favorite bands have played epic shows at Mishawaka amphitheater- the soundboards are testimony to the energy of this historic venue in Colorado.  The Mish was built in 1916 by a lone homesteader, Walter S. Thompson, who followed his dream of opening a live music dance hall to that pristine site by the river.  Sadly, the amphitheater might be closed and demolished in the near future, so the fact that the Disco Biscuits decided to add a Tractorbeam set to the Conspirator show that was planned for September 18, 2010 made an incredible event that much more special.  [Tractorbeam is when tDB refrains from singing throughout the set, ensuring all creative energy is focused on jamtronic raging]  The lineup for the evening consisted of Tractorbeam, Conspirator, M-80 Dubstation, Ginger Kids, and Raw Russ.

We got a little lost going to the venue because we decided we wanted to take some back roads, but since it’s Colorado it turned out to be a wonderfully beautiful drive.  Once we finally made it we found a safe place to park in the less-than-ideal situation, downed our bottle of wine, and made the chilly hike down the road to the venue.  I definitely had not dressed appropriately for the evening but made it a habit to stay moving, dancing, raging.  After waiting in the longest line to exchange our print off tickets for wristbands (…um why?), we finally made it inside The Mish.  The whole venue sits in the bottom of Poudre Canyon, alongside a serene river, with massive mountains protecting it on all sides.  The soundboards of The Disco Biscuits show back in 2001 or the STS9 show in 2002 ran through my mind and I felt lucky that I was finally going to the Mish before it’s potential close.

Raw Russ opened up; nothing really stuck out to me in his set, but it was good music to get the night started.  We made it inside and posted up center with some friends, right in time for the beginning of Ginger Kids.  Pnuma Trio is one of my favorite bands so I figured that I would pleased with what Ben and Lane’s side project would produce.  Magner joined them for most of the set, just as I’d hoped.  Being a jazz aficionado myself, I was digging the smooth jazzy lines from Ben on the keys.  Lane, the drummer, seems to get better every time I see him, as he proved again later in the evening.  At the end of the set, Barber set his equipment up in time to have a segue between his and their set.  I am usually a hater on M-80 Dubstation, Jon’s dubstep side project, but I will say that this was probably the best set of music I have seen Barber play outside of the Biscuits.  During this set I met some newbies and got to explain how special it was that Tractorbeam was playing there.  I told them how Allen had to be flown in from a family reunion to play the show, and how it was literally announced two days before.  They could see I was excited, and seemed to feed off of my sparkle love.

I had seen Conspirator two nights before with Adam Deitch on drums, which turned out to be a more loose Conspirator than I expected.  This evening though, Lane joined them on drums, a combo I hadn’t seen since Trinumeral ‘09.  I love that this group always tends to experiment with their sound, and eventually you start to pick up on spontaneous snips of craziness.  They dropped Caves of the East, a dirty Biscuits songs that I hadn’t heard since April.  Ludacris samples were used, which are probably my favorite of the many samples typically used over Caves now.  Honestly, I miss the straight up instrumental Caves, but that’s just my opinion.  Murph of STS9 came out and played a few tunes before disappearing backstage with some girlies.  Uber Glue finished out the set, and THEN, it was time for the madness.

9/18/2010 Mishawaka Amphitheater, Bellvue, CO
Set I: Spraypaint > On Time (1) > Tricycle > Bombs > Portal To An Empty Head (2) > Papercut > Caterpillar > Sweating Bullets > Feeling Twisted > Cyclone > Spraypaint.
Encore: Neck Romancer

(1) Reprise

(2) Inverted

Barber was using a red Fender Telecaster for his axe of choice, a guitar I have never seen him play.  I figured since the Tractorbeam set was such short notice that he borrowed, or purchased this guitar to fulfill the evening’s chaos.  No lasers, no crazy special lights or any gadgets from tours past, just straight Biscuits.  Right into Spraypaint they went and it gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling about the night ahead.  Almost everyone around me was singing the lyrics and really loving every part of it.  Having the crowd focus on the lyrics while the Biscuits raged away was a new, exciting experience that I would love to be a part of more often (Hello, LASERWEEN).  The jams into On Time reprise and Tricycle were executed smoothly and the melodies started to really take off, Tractor style.  I really enjoyed the version of Bombs from Tractorbeam and I feel that they should consider playing it that way permanently.  I love Biscuits songs that evoke their name (i.e. Cyclone, Tempest, Stobelights & Martinis), and this one really had me ducking bombs falling, raging, exploding.  An inverted Portal was a low point for me, but that’s probably because I’ve exhausted my appreciation for that song.  I was very happy, though, to hear a Papercut come out of the Portal jam.  I rarely hear this song and really dig the middle composed part.  My friends favorite song is Caterpillar, so the drop right into it from Papercut was definitely the highlight of the night.  It was amazing to hear Caterpillar as an instrumental, and Barber really played it up by climbing onto the speaker to rip a solo.  Again the entire crowd was yelling the lyrics and you couldn’t help but smile.  Sweating Bullets made me happy because it’s another song I can truly get down to and it also fits its name perfectly.  Feeling Twisted, a new song, was awesome without lyrics (you can see a trend here).  Myself and everyone around me danced away, oblivious to the chilly night, receptive to the funky grooves.  To finish off the set the Biscuits treated us to a very intense Cyclone > Spraypaint jam.  As I said in my last article, Spraypaint is one of the best ways to end a set, period.  I was a little shocked when the set ended, but quickly reviewed over my set list and reminded myself of the incredible time I just had.  I made many new friends and got to experience a special part of Colorado, possibly for the last time.  We made our way out of the venue, ventured out of the canyon, and back home.  Yet another unforgettable evening with the Biscuits.

And if this article titillated your Biscuits love, make sure you’re at the Charlottesville Pavillion on Halloween and the Jefferson Theater for the Tractorbeam afterparty!  Guaranteed to be the THRILLINGEST Halloween show around…lets get weird.

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