MusicMarauders Presents: Particle & The Recovery Act 10.31.12

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words By Brad Yeakel
Photos By Carly Marthis
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)

With Quixote's move from Lawrence street so near, I decided that I would try to be there for as much of the good times that were left to be had as possible. Halloween seemed like it might be a good time, after all, my friend, the lovely and talented Lindsay French's band, The Recovery Act was opening, so I committed... I went and stayed until last call despite the alarm which was set for 5:30 am to get to work.

The Recovery Act is a very new band on Denver's scene and with only three shows under their belt, they are already commanding rooms like Quixote's. I have been to all 3 shows and this band is heading in the right direction. At their first show I was amazed at how good they were. They were tight, funky, and had an incredible vocalist... Lindsay French. Her versions of songs like "Son of a Preacherman" were soulful and strong. In the more recent shows, the band behind her is beginning to emerge as a funk driven improv quartet with great chops and excellent timing.

The Recovery Act Live at Quixote's True Blue on October 31, 2012.

The Halloween show was a distinct step forward for them. They played on the main stage, they opened for Particle, they had Pete Wall and Steve Molitz sit in and most importantly... They began to gel. The Recovery Act began to define themselves beyond a strict soul funk band. The repertoire is growing, the trust is forming, the confidence is building, and the skills are starting to manifest in the form of inspired improv, tighter changes, and a seasoned stage presence that is astounding for a band in it's 3rd live show.

Their set opened with "Take Me To The River," which
I noted improved vocal harmonies, clean voices, and an edge to the guitar tone that almost surprised me. They followed the Talking Heads tune up with "Bound for Glory" by Tedeschi/Trucks. The organ-heavy tune began and Lindsay sounded confident, poised, and professional. Guitarist, Dan Howsen, ripped a solo that turned my head, and I began to notice that something was clicking. This solo had edge, overdrive, and some distortion, but not too much to conflict with the soul-blues of the song. Next was "Loose," a song about getting relaxed and losing inhibitions. This song has a sound that triggered memories of Galactic shows. While Lindsay hails from Arkansas, you'd swear she was born in N'Awlins from the way they bring the delta funk to this groove. The band slowed the pace of the show down next with a cover of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind." I noticed that the entire band laid back and took it's time with this tune. The drums don't increase in tempo and when playing a song this slow, the tendency is to speed up. It sounded like something simple, but consistent time is an incredible skill, and it's even harder when the tempo is slow. Lindsay's vocals were predictably solid and my only criticism of her singing is that she occasionally goes for some of the growling notes with a little too much grit, but during the song I noticed that it's because of the passion she transmits. I honestly found myself starting to appreciate it in a Janis Joplin sort of way as the song went on. I didn't catch the title of the following song, but it was a swinging funk song with a progressive bridge that occasionally popped up, giving the funk rhythms of the evening a small break. What I do remember is that next they played Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" before transitioning skillfully into "West LA Fadeaway." The moments the band made moves to change the songs seemed inspired, creative, and seamless.

Pete Wall also sat in for this series of tunes. Pete is a phenomenal sax player in the Denver area. He played tasty lines and kicked the party into high gear. Dan Howsen's guitar weaved through Adam Williamson's organ with incredible synchronization. The next song was an original, "Super F." This was the highlight of the show. The song is super funk at its finest and this particular version featured both Wall on sax and Steve Molitz on keys. This song was high flying and Molitz seemed to be concentrated, dialed in, and enjoying himself. Wall jumped on a soprano sax and continued to do what he does... Kill it. When Molitz gets his chance, he adds a Particle flavor to the funk with his synthesizers, sound effects, and general electronic vibe. Williamson's organ lines worked with Molitz's synthesizers to create a rich and deep space funk. The rhythm was impeccable. Well over 100 people were boogying and Ms. French was all smiles. The jam made Super F into Monster F, and this band was blazing funk trails. Lindsay thanked the guests before a Williamson/ Molitz dual, and I can officially say there is a new funk band in town. Go see them. The band hit "Don't Want You Anymore> My Cross to Bear" and Dylan's "Tonight, I'll Be Staying Here" rounded out their set. With the performance complete, I had a few minutes to speak with Lindsay French. On forming The Recovery Act, she explained that, "I sat in with a local Denver band called Frogs Gone Fishing, and they had a fill in drummer and the drummer and I met after the show and talked and he asked if I was in a band. I said no, and he asked if I wanted to be in one. I said yes, of course...he knew the guitar player, Dan, and Dan knew our bass player Tyler had been in a band with our keyboard player before, with Pete Kartsounes, and some other great guys back in the day and the bass player and key player were interested in starting something new. So we got together and had a practice... and it worked. It's silly." I also asked about the significance of playing at Quixote's, and she told me that it was her favorite place that she's played, stating, "Quixote's is super special to me, it lead me. When I got out here, this was one of the first places I went and I've met so many good friends here. It's just good to be in a place that amidst all of the Dead paraphernalia and to know that Jerry Garcia Band was on the same stage 3 weeks ago and Sam Bush will be on that stage this's surreal. To look out and see all of the history and to look out and feel all the energy and history of who's played here, you can just feel it."

You sure can Lindsay. You sure can. And then it was time for the 80's dance party to commence...

Particle Live at Quixote's True Blue on October 31, 2012.

Set One: The Final Countdown > Electric Avenue, Let's Go Crazy, The Safety Dance, It Takes Two > Wild Thing > Me So Horny > It's Tricky > Bust A Move*, Let's Dance*

Set Two: Sledgehammer* > Funkytown* > Launchpad*, Pump Up The Volume > Rockit* > Material Girl > Pump Up The Jam > Money For Nothing, Paradise City

Encore: Once In A Lifetime, Eye Of The Tiger > Sun Mar 11

* = w/ Pete Wall on Sax

Particle is a band I haven't seen
in a long time. As I've mentioned before, electronica isn't my favorite music, and Particle had bored me in the past. I'm also not the biggest fan of '80s music. Don't get me wrong, there are some gems, but as a whole, not my favorite decade of music. So, my expectations for this show were not very high. I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. While I expected cheesy '80s, they went more for dance party '80s, and the song selection was stellar. I couldn't quite place the intro music they opened with, but I think it may have been the synthesizer riff from "The Final Countdown." This quickly yielded to "Electric Avenue" and the dancing was already wall to wall. Eric Gould's bass-lines were pumping and after a rocking guitar solo, Molitz busts out the talk-box and the '80s sounds filled the air. The song lead to a jam that seemed a bit more like Particle's own sound, and they had already established some credibility with me. The next song was Prince's "Lets Go Crazy." The bass tone was excellent and the crowd is going for it. A girl dressed as Edward Scissorhands was dancing, a Chinese takeout box was bobbing it's head, and Flo from Progressive Insurance commercials was smiling with a fresh drink. Ah, Halloween... "Where the hallucinations are real." "Safety Dance" followed and guitars mingled with synthesizers to create '80stronica... The fusion of today's digital sounds mixed with the old school synthesizer tone. This was a Halloween show and by this time, the clown was getting down. Seriously. Ben Combe's riffs lead to the first guitar driven peak of the show. The next run of songs were more of a medley with Particle interludes between "It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right" before touching on "Me So Horny" and resolving to "Tricky." If its tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that's right on time, then Molitz is one skilled guy because he raps with ease. "Bust A Move" followed with Pete Wall on sax. It was a full-on funk party. My favorite David Bowie tune, "Lets Dance" completed first set.

"Sledgehammer" opened the second set and was pretty much money. Pete Wall's saxophone was dead on and the band did a great job bringing this classic tune back. The dance party rolled on as the band launched into "Funkytown" which featured Wall and Molitz. The energy once again soared as Gould led the band headlong into a bass driven "Pump Up The Volume," which segued into"Axl F" from Beverly Hills Cop and Pete Wall returned to wail on sax. I'm starting to get the picture... Pete Wall is ridiculous. Particle took their funk pills and layer down some serious jams and variations of the movie theme before a "Material World" jam led them into "Pump Up the Jam." This tune went spacey and took on a much more jamband flavor than I normally expect from Molitz's electrofunk standards. This spacey composition had a Floyd-like feel until I realized we were heading into "Money for Nothing." The psychedelic jam that followed was heady, progressive, and sonic. The orchestration and execution were tight and persevered straight to the last beat. Next, I was amazed to hear the familiar guitar lick of Guns N Roses' "Paradise City." Combe definitely played the song note for note. His tone was not quite Slash's, but he played every note with skill. Instead of singing, Molitz synthesized the vocal line and the crowd sang along with a classic.

It was then that I sang the line, "Oh won't you please take me home" that I realized the night was getting late and with my 5:30 am alarm set, I checked my watch. As expected, it was around 1:20. I was torn, I really should get moving, but Molitz, drummer Darren Pujalet, Ben Combe, and Eric Gould were wrapping up the set, so I decided to stick it out and wait for the encore. I'm glad I did... No 80's party is complete without a Talking Heads cover and the familiar notes of "Once in a Lifetime" filled the air. Something about this reminded me that I would only be back to the current incarnation of Quixote's True Blue once more. I tried to imagine a Denver without this little corner of fun as "Eye of the Tiger" finished the night off. I was very happy to be a part of the celebration. Halloween at Quixote's may be the only place you find someone dressed as "the birth of a unicorn." Don't ask. As I left for the night, I looked forward to one last hurrah before the end of an era.

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