Words & Photos By J-man
Audio By Corey Sandoval
Much like New Years Eve, Halloween is one of those coveted nights in the jam band scene. Bands across the country play nearly sold out shows to venues packed with folks who, that in many cases, have scrambled and made extensive travel arrangements. The night had finally come, and we found ourselves at Quixote's True Blue in Denver. I have been seeing Particle for about ten years, and at one point, they were my favorite band. After undergoing several personnel changes, the band has had its ups and downs, leaving many like myself desiring the energy from the band that drew us in initially. That night in Denver brought a few surprises...
I arrived at Quixote's prior to soundcheck to sit down with keyboardist Steve Molitz for a conversation that would be featured on our new podcast, MusicMarauders Live! Our conversation, per usual, was enjoyable and Steve provided some interesting insight. Following my discussion with Steve, I stuck around for soundcheck. Not having seen Particle in about a year, I was looking forward to hearing their sound.
Particle was joined that evening by one of their former guitarists, Scott Metzger. As the soundcheck started, I could feel the energy oozing from the stage. I was instantly blown away and taken back to my feeling of undying love for Particle. It wasn't until Steve said, "I think that we need to slow it down..." that I had doubts. I replied with, "I like it fast...." Steve laughed and continued with the previous quick tempo. For not playing together much, Particle sounded great!
The evening began with Lula Granji. The band sounded good. Their music had a very ambient jamtronica sound. Though it didn't dig too deep instrumentally, I enjoyed what I heard. Outside, Paul was grilling up some amazing Jamaican jerked chicken. The deliciousness coupled with the affordability is incredible. The courtyard was mellow that evening as there was a chill to the air, keeping the music inside.
From the back room, I could hear Dead Phish Orchestra playing some familiar tunes. We poked our head in a couple of times, but were never drawn in. In the main room Surround Sound took the stage dressed in matching attire. They were bar none one of the worst bands that I have ever heard. Their "music" was not the least bit palatable. Inevitably, we chose the quiet solace of the courtyard.
Particle Live at Quixote's True Blue on October 31, 2011.
Particle appeared onstage shortly after 11:00 PM and the main room filled in. People were excited and sporting some extremely creative costumes. Within the first song of the set, I knew we were in for a treat. The depth of the music, tempo and peaks were fantastic. I feared for my life and wasn't sure if there would be any survivors following the slaying that would follow.
Darren Pujalet sounded great on the drums. His consistency is second to none when it comes to Jamtronica. He kept the count with club-like/danceable beats all night, building up tension and knocking the wall down with fury. On the bass was Eric Gould. Eric thumped away, again with consistency. His playing was less about range and more about grooves, definitely keeping the crowd on the get down.
Leading up to the show, I was really excited to see guitarist Scott Metzger. His short stint with the band had been played out nearly five years prior to that night in Denver. His return came with the impressive ability to fit right in and absolutely kill it. He dug into his part with ease, completely commanding his instrument. His return brought much welcomed energy to the band!
On the opposite side of the stage was Steve Molitz on keys. Steve has always been one of my favorite keyboardists, and on that night, I was reminded why. His playing has come a long way from the early years of his career. His tones and tendency towards space captivated me and took me to places that I rarely reach. His bending of the sounds and fluctuation of the volume was mind blowing, while his chops were precise and funky. The way that Scott and Steve played off of each other made my face hurt. There were points where I felt the devil gripping at my soul. With the addition of his "space-faces", I was 100% entertained.
The first set had the energy equivalent of any other band's second set. The highlight for me came in the form of "Launchpad". The second set started a little bit slower but picked up with the entrance of a 20-minute "Ed & Molly". The highlight of the second set came towards the end with a couple of transitional jams ending in a 25-minute encore.
When Darren is keeping the tempo up, Eric is attacking his bass, and Steve is on his game by pushing the progressions along, I'm not sure there is a better jamtronica act on the scene. With the addition of Scott Metzger, come on.... What can I say? I love Particle.
J-man's Photo Gallery
*Some time during the night Shakedown Street played Abby Road in the back room. Although I didn't personally experience this set, I am sure it was phenomenal.