Live: Conspirator at Culture Room, October 8

Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
October 8, 2011

In spite of two straight days of dreary, rainy weather -- which surely would have made for a soggy Langerado -- spirits were high and bright in the Culture Room late Saturday night as Conspirator threw down a special, supercharged, post-Yom Kippur set that began just after midnight. The number of attendees did not pack the venue but filled it sufficiently while still leaving room for everyone to be comfortable as they danced and socialized until nearly 3 a.m. It was a good-energy scene.

The band was strong from start to finish -- its intensity never waned. There was lots of onstage interaction, exchanged smiles, nods, and laughs as the guys worked through a dynamic set of material that featured live renderings of several styles of electronic dance music -- from trance and house to drum 'n' bass. The low moments for this reviewer were the periods when they dropped into heavier, more rock-based sections. They seem to be at their best when they are holding tight, fast, electro grooves.

The guys showed excellent command in that area. The beats were infectious, the builds and peaks thrilling, and the turns from one section to the next were unpredictable and successful -- when they didn't go into a distortion-driven rock out. The highlight section was an extended period of spacious trance midset with Mike Greenfield drumming intricately and lightning fast; Marc Brownstein laying cool in the pocket, dropping big bass grooves; Aron Magner tweaking nobs and doing runs on the keyboards adding myriad sweeps, pops, and blips; and Chris Michetti playing minimal guitar, adding to the ambiance. In moments like this, no one was out front, and the group groove was big and tight.

Whatever negative attitudes held by some members of the Disco Biscuits fan community toward Conspirator were nowhere to be seen, heard, or felt at the show. In fact, every attendee solicited for feedback offered enthusiastic, positive remarks. Several even went so far as to say they prefer Conspirator to the Biscuits, with one fan calling the former "sexier" and another commenting that he doesn't like it "when they try to sound like the Biscuits."

Though those comments came from folks who said they have seen plenty of Biscuits shows, some more hard-core fans had a slightly different tone. There was a common sentiment that the Biscuits are a "whole 'nother level" and that there is "no comparison" but that Conspirator was exceeding expectations. Comments included "This shit is fire" and "fantastic!" Though the future of the Biscuits may be uncertain, it is clear that there is something enjoyable happening with Conspirator right now.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal bias: I may have been the only person in the room who has not seen a Disco Biscuits show. I'm really curious to now.

Random detail: The show reminded one older fan of "dancing in the discos way back in the day. The places didn't even open till 1 a.m."

By the way: Those who also may be curious to see the Disco Biscuits can check them out in Chicago and New York for their upcoming New Year's run. Details here.

Set list:

So Much More
Last Man Standing
Loco Street Devil
Commercial Amen
Hands Up
Hoodwinker Jam>
Countash Jam>
Seek Bromance
What They Want
Tamarin Alley
Park Ave.
Gypsey Lane>
Velvet Red
Feed the Wolf>
Velvet Red

Encore: Retrograde

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Travis Newbill