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Published: 2001/10/17
by Seth Eisenstein

Particle- Club Fais Do Do, Los Angeles, CA- 10/13

For Particle, and their devoted Los Angeles following, it feels like they have been around for much longer then one year. In the past 6 months alone, the funk/techno phenoms have moved from playing near empty rooms in the wee hours of the morning to this past Saturday's much-anticipated, packed headlining gig at Club Fais-Do-Do in the heart of Los Angeles. It was at this very same club about 11 months ago that I was first introduced to the Space Porn Funk sound, when Particle played a short but memorable set opening up for Sound Tribe Sector 9. That show left an impact on myself and many others at the time.

Since then, the band has lost their original guitarist, brought in another to work through a challenging transition, then completely found their groove. They have toured all over CA, the Pacific Northwest, and Colorado, along with prominent slots at the Colorado Salmonfest and the Rolling Summer Music Fest. In the past month, all four have absolutely been on fire. And on Saturday, in front of a large Los Angeles crowd, they succeeded in playing at a ferocious level AND surprising the heck out of us all night long.

The show opened at 10:45 for a patient, yet excited crowd that had been in front of the stage for nearly half an hour. Many others watched from above on the balcony that provided a dynamite view of the action. Darren Pujalet provided a drumroll that lead into the first note of the anthemic funk/trance classic "The Golden Gator". This has been one of Particle’s most consistent songs night in and night out and this version was no exception. Molitz added some surprising vocal/voice box effects on his new Korg keyboard, resulting in a Peter Frampton-like sound. This device was utilized heavily by Steve all night long and I can only hope it becomes a permanent fixture in the Particle arsenal. As a typically intense Gator wore down they wasted no time in ripping through a solid Kneeknocker. This is the song that seems to incorporate everything this band is all about, and tonight guitarist Charlie Hitchcock absolutely shredded it up during his spotlight jam, where he managed to break his second guitar string in two songs. Next up was the new, highly danceable Launchpad, which has evolved out of some of the improv jams the band had been working on in the past two months. This is quickly becoming a crowd favorite, especially with its buildup and rocked out ending riff.

After a fun Windjammer, complete with two tantalizing go-go dancers stage left next to Molitz and a great bass breakdown from groovemaestro Eric Gould, the band gave the crowd their first big surprise. Saying they wanted to pay tribute to the city where it all began, Hitchcock launched into the first chords of the Guns N Roses classic "Paradise City". This all-instrumental version got the whole place rocking as everyone in the house sang, "Oh won’t you please take me home!!". Although Particle has been on the road steadily for the past few months, they left no doubt where their true home was with this unthinkable bust out. Finally this long, impressive set ended with the Golden Gator Reprise, once again sending the energy though the roof and leaving everyone with smiles, ready to return for set two.

Ed and Molly was a nice choice to start things off, and this was a well-played and extended version, surpassing the 20 minute mark. After that, Particle spent the rest of the show vaulting the crowd into insanity with one guest after another. The first, and most prominent guest of the evening, was none other then singer/keyboardist Lonnie Jordan from War. A few months ago I had seen Lonnie perform his “Low Rider” with Widespread Panic not too far away at the Wiltern Theater. I can safely say that I enjoyed this version even more, being just a few feet away from The Man this time as he belted out the classic song. Jordan had been enjoying the Space Porn sounds all evening and ended up being a terrific guest, sitting in for the majority of the second set after Low Rider and adding his jazz/funk keyboard playing to Molitz’s effects laden style. This set, which was beginning to get out of hand, continued in that direction as Eric Gould asked for “Doctor Inconceivable” to join them onstage. The band ripped into a furious Ghost Highway as the two lovely go-go dancers got down with the Doctor (who in reality was Whitney, the under-appreciated merchandise man for the band).

Particle had been on fire all night, and the choice of Roads a Breeze (at 3 AM) assured that the level of playing would not decrease one bit. Steve turned full keyboard duties over to Lonnie at one point and broke into a full-fledged “happy dance” out in front, next to Hitchcock. After that, it was time for even more guests, as a rehearsed, mellow groove paved the way for rapper Rob Wright and DJ Example (who had been spinning between sets) to add some of their hip-hop flavor into the show.

The final tune of the set was a new, heavier song currently titled Seven Minutes to Radio Darkness. This song is a vast departure from the trance/funk feel of much of Particle’s earlier material, and seems custom made for a hard-rocking guitarist like Hitchcock. I think in order for future Particle shows to become even more diverse and unique, they need to continue composing new songs like this one, because it absolutely kicked ass. Finally, as it neared 2 AM the guys came back to the funk with an outrageous Maya’s Waltz, a song written by deceased former guitarist Dave Simmons. Lonnie Jordan and Steve went to town here, absolutely going crazy on the keys. I think this was Jordan’s favorite moment of the evening, as he threw in some incredible fills. Steve gave us some freestyle rhymes and Darren Pujalet also let loose with a big time solo (the band has been humoring Darren lately, letting him take his solo more often at the END of the show). Although the lights came on at two, the Fais-Do-Do staff let Particle play on an extra seven or eight minutes, to our delight.

In terms of both execution and spectacle, I could not ask for any more from the group then what was delivered on Saturday. Particle pulled out every trick in the book, threw in wonderful guests and surprise covers, and showed their love to the city that appreciates them so much. Audiences across the country will soon find out what makes their sound so unique and intense as Particle prepares to take the Space Porn mothership to new, exciting places.

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