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Story by and photos by Matt SchwenkeMainly known for their spaced-out brand of jam and electronica, Los Angeles-based Particle have set out on their winter tour with a strong gust of blues in their mix as Tea Leaf Green guitarist Josh Clark joins the band for a select number of shows. While the seemingly ad hoc group still sounded like the Particle fans have come to know on the summer music festival circuit, Clark's vocals and affinity for bluesy, rock hard riffs added considerable depth to the band's already expansive sound, which is usually sans vocals and electronica-heavy.
With a relatively young crowd amped up and eager to hit the dance floor, Particle did all they could to oblige early with the new "Mind Over Matter" getting the venue hoppin', but as the song neared its conclusion, Steve Molitz' keys completely dropped out of the mix as well as Clark and bassist Eric Gould's guitars (Uhm, Houston?). Smiling through the confusion, drummer Darren Pujalet seamlessly filled the void with an impromptu drum solo while the power problems were worked out. No worse for wear, Particle then went into the title track from their 2004 release Launchpad, but the power problem struck again (Houston, we, uhm, definitely have a problem) and Pujalet again had to come up with an improvised rhythmic interlude. Perhaps in response to the technical difficulties, the band pushed on with "Six Long Weeks," in which Clark commanded with screaming guitar licks over a comparably straight-up blues arrangement with growling vocals. With power problems seemingly in tow, the Pink Floyd classic "Young Lust" was morphed to included a little of the Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street" and, rather fittingly, a tease of The Doors' "When The Music's Over." Another early standout included the blues/rock explosion of the Tea Leaf Green-penned tune "Westbound."
Though many in the crowd cheered and continued dancing despite the hiccups from the power issue, the problem forced some noticeable uneasiness from band members as they tried to blend song into song, and the group, whose sound was once described as "space porn music," never seemed to get their rocket into full orbit. "Wet Spot" was the victim of another power outage, but as the band transcended into the cosmic "7 Minutes Till Radio Darkness Part 2," the problems were quickly forgotten. By the set-ending trance/breakbeat of "Sun Mar 11," a sweaty crowd cheered on for on an encore, to which Particle returned to offer the funky "Find A Way" and "Truth Don Die." As a credit to the band's professionalism in what ultimately could have been a disaster, Particle didn't let frustration with technology ruin their show and kept their crowd, for the most part, quite happy to be there.
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