I was pleased to see Denver's own, The Recovery Act playing two sets at Quixote's True Blue. While much of the crowd was there for Particle, almost every butt in the house was shaking to the funk-heavy jams of Lindsay French and company. As I stood on the back patio, many of the conversations were about her voice. "That girl has some pipes," was overheard among comparisons to Susan Tedeschi and Erykah Badu. For a band in it's infancy, they certainly made an impression on the crowd. Lindsay's vocals were strong, beautiful, and soulful, and her band provided solid, crisp, and driven rhythms that rode the pocket and engaged the crowd. Guitarist Dan Howson (who was celebrating his birthday) and key player Adam Williamson played roaring solos around the rhythmic funk of bassist Tyler Olmsted and drummer Adam Segalis as the Recovery Act played classic songs such as "Take Me to the River", "I Wish", "West L.A. Fadeaway", and "Dancing in the Streets."
In the other room, Earphunk brought the sounds of Bourbon Street alive. My first thought was that their bass player had a very round, deep, and full tone. He projected a dirty funk that shook the room and allowed the rest of the band to work off of his foundation. I love funk, and I always feel a solid, fat bass tone is the key to dropping the "dirty". Wet, fat, round, and thick. The lead guitar tone was also impressive as they shifted from super funk to textural atmospheres to breezy yacht rock. Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones came to mind as I heard the silky tone of their jazz-soul fusion. While I only got to see a portion of their set, I was impressed, and decided to keep an eye on them in the future.
That brought me to the main event, Particle. I remember the days of instrumental electronica Particle, and I have been particularly happy with the way they have developed over the years. What was once relatively one dimensional has gained depth and variety. I was very pleased to see Ben come back on full time, and look forward to seeing where the band go directionally. He seemed to have a positive effect in my opinion, and I'd love to see the way Particle could interject their signature dance parties into songs that are from differing genres. Adding vocals to a primarily instrumental band has proven disastrous for many bands, but Ben Combe provided stellar vocals to both "Have a Cigar" and " You Can Call Me Al." Pete Wall's saxophone was the necessary addition to pull it off, and Eric Gould absolutely nailed the bass breakdown. I was ecstatic to see Particle tackle the Paul Simon classic with such gusto and precision. Truly an excellent cover.
Having attended their Halloween show, I knew they were capable of stepping outside the realm of livetronica, but had not realized the extent to which this band was capable of defying my expectations. Steve Molitz was still a dominant force in the band, but the overall sound was more balanced than the synth based riffs of yesteryear. Steve's energy was still contagious as he seemed to emote the music with his body movement, as though the music were connected to his dancing rather than the other way around. Darren Pujalet consistently laid down beats that had the crowd moving and Gould's bass grooving all night long. I had more fun at this show than any other Particle show I've seen. When the show ended, I reminisced about shows past, and realized that while many of my favorite bands have become relatively complacent, Particle has gone the way of fine wine... developed new flavor, increased complexity, and generally improved with age. Uncork a new bottle of Particle today!