Particle's 80s Flashback 1.17.13

The Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

My general aversion to electronic music is well known. Although I have enjoyed a few forays into the genre my general reaction is not positive. However, I’ve seen some electronic groups play organically, as a unit, and the music is more textural than dubstep. These are the types of electronic artists I’m drawn to. Particle is one such band. Up first was New Orleans natives, EarPhunk. These guys are the next generation behind the Galactics and the Dumpstphunks of The Big Easy. They fluidly blend jam and funk in a balanced way that makes it fun for the audience. They did get riff-y at times, but that’s to be expected from a younger band still developing their sound. They started their set to a sparsely filled room, which would eventually get about a third full. Overall their brand of funk influenced jam won me over and will give me plenty of reason to give them another listen.

Having seen Particle for the first time around 2001 in a tiny bar in Iowa, I’ve watched this band grow and evolve over the years. The recent inclusion of former full-time guitarist, Ben Combe into the mix certainly seems to have reinvigorated Particle. Their show at the Aggie was both hilarious and technically stunning. Let’s start with the hilarious.

Setlist: Sledgehammer, Funkytown, Let’s Go Crazy, Electric Avenue, Once In A Lifetime, Pump Up The Volume > Rockit > Material Girl > Pump Up The Jam, The Final Countdown > Money For Nothing, Safety Dance > Launchpad Outro, It Takes Two >
Wild Thing > It’s Tricky > Bust A Move, Don’t Forget About Me, You Can Call Me Al, Sweet Dreams

Encore: Paradise City, Eye Of The Tiger > Sun Mar 11 Outro

From the opening guitar line of “Sledgehammer” I was grinning from ear to ear. Particle has their specific smooth style of electronica, but their take on the music of the 1980’s was fairly straightforward and strangely accurate. The setlist screams of lightheartedness, but don’t be fooled they absolutely shredded these classics. None more so the massive “Pump Up The Volume’ lead run that featured an enormous version of “Pump Up The Jam.” It was like a big musical sandwich with wheat bread on the bottom and rye on top. Particle never shied away from intricately composed pieces such as “The Final Countdown.” Perhaps the silliest moment of the night came in the form of “Safety Dance.” They ended the set with their version of the Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams.” The massive encore included a nod to both Guns N’ Roses as well as Survivor. It was an amusing and entertaining show all around. Combe killed the guitar adding an interesting layer to their sound overall. Steve Molitz continues to be the musical focal point with the lockstep rhythm section of Eric Gould and Darren Pujalet holding it all in check. Particle back to their old tricks, firing on all cylinders, and truly gelling on stage. I would definitely do it all again.

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