"Since the infantile stages of our careers, we have always branded special shows as events," says Philly native and keyboardist Magner. The band members think beyond the usual play-and-run mechanics of the concert stage, creating instead a welcoming party for their fans.
"We have thrown Camp Bisco for the past 11 years," Magner says, "and watched it grow from 800 people to 25,000."
Where the Biscuits haven't watched it grow, though, is in their very own hometown. Biscuit minister of information Drew Granchelli points to several reasons Camp Bisco has not come to our fair town. "Those have had various summer-camp activities, and the music goes all night until the next morning," he says, "something we can't necessarily do in Philly."
So the band created City Bisco, a more urbane version of Camp Bisco, with many of the acts - Diplo, Brothers Past, RJD2, and the Biscuits - hailing from Philly. "Plus, it also marks the first time we have ever performed at the Mann," Magner says, "which is particularly special to me, growing up on the Main Line and seeing so many shows there in high school."
Although the two-day City Bisco Mann festival was designed around the Biscuits, the appeal reaches out to fans of the DJ-centric EDM movement who might not always get the band's electro-jam vibe. They will, however, if Magner and Company have their way.
All 11 Bisco festivals have juxtaposed DJs and bands. So, too, have other Biscuits-based festivals, such as Caribbean Holidaze (which went on in Jamaica) and Mayan Holidaze (now in Mexico). It makes sense production-wise to Magner: If the Biscuits have DJs in between their sets, the music will remain seamless from band to band. More important, these events let the Biscuits remain close to their devoted fans as well as to one another.
"We haven't toured the past two years the way we used to, so each show we do now is particularly special and unique," says Magner. That's because Gutwillig now lives in New York City, while Magner and Brownstein live in Wynnewood. Still, Magner insists: "No matter where we go, we always identify as a Philly band. Being apart makes me appreciate our massive catalog in a different way than when we were playing shows every night. I'm not sure yet what the sets will look like exactly, but, as always, we aim to crush."
City Bisco, Friday and Saturday, Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. $47.50 per day in advance, $50 day of show; two-day passes $75.
Friday (doors open at 3 p.m.; show starts at 4): Disco Biscuits, Diplo, RJD2, Aeroplane, Cinnamon Chasers, the Manhattan Project, and Wyllys.
Saturday (doors open at 2 p.m.; show starts at 3): Disco Biscuits, A-Trak, Paper Diamond, Papadosio, Tipper, Ott & the All Seeing I (Live Band), Tiger & Woods, Brothers Past, Nadis Warrior, and Alpha Data.
Information: 215-893-1999, www.MannCenter.org.