Saturday, April 22, 2006
Particle @ Bowery Ballroom
Probably the two most significant jam-bands to come along in the last few years are Chicago's Umphrey's McGee and LA's Particle. Both played Green Apple Fest shows last night. I'd seen Umphrey's recently at the Nokia Theater, so I attended the Particle show instead. I've liked Particle from the minute I heard them four years ago. Originally a 4-piece, they're now a quintet with 2 new lead guitarists. Particle are part Phish, part Disco Biscuits. Largely an instrumental unit, they rely on the strength of their jams to tell stories without words to help you figure them out. Particle have more of an electronica sound, speedily cruising along the crescendo superhighway. But, mostly, what I hear is a disco influence that reminds me of one of my favorite late-'70s units, Machine ("There But for the Grace of God Go I").
Mad Professor was scheduled to open last night's concert, but he never showed up (he was at sound check but didn't return), so it turned out to be a complete evening of Particle music, which was fine with the band's fans who sold out the house. For nearly two and a half hours Particle held court, alternating between originals ("The Elevator," "Walking By," "Eye of the Storm") and covers (Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," Spiritualized's "Smile" and Beck's "E-Pro" from Guero for the encore). Early in the first set, drum maestro Mickey Hart joined Particle on the Hydra tune, "Wavemaker." Hart, who's been a true Green Apple ambassador this week, played the African thumb-drum, the kalimba, and interacted with each band member during their respective solos.
Particle's revamped linuep includes original members Steve Molitz (keyboards), Eric Gould (bass) and Darren Pujalet (drums), and recently-added guitarists Scott Metzger (formerly with Rana) and Ben Combe (Bad Shoe). When the band decided to part ways with original guitarist Charlie Hitchcock late last year, they auditioned many players. Metzger and Combe were so good that they hired them both. In additon to his guitar-playing, Combe provides the band's relatively rare lead vocals; he did a pretty good Prince imitation on "Let's Go Crazy."
For more on Particle: CLICK HERE
OFFICIAL PARTICLE SET LIST
Bowery Ballroom, NY
Let's Go Crazy
Mind Over Matter
Eye of the Storm
I Think I'm in Love
*Hydra song w/ Mickey Hart on kalimba
Thanks to Chris McCleary and Erik Koral for providing the set list, and to Particle manager Jonathan Shank for being such a cool guy.