Particle emits energy

Friday, October 24, 2003

To some people, the keyboard and synthesizer may seem like things of the past, but to the jam band Particle, these instruments are essential to its music.

Fusing major elements of several genres, the four-man act Particle offered patrons at The Bottleneck an electrifying live experience on Wednesday.

Steve Molitz's hypnotic keyboard playing separated the music from similar acts whose unfocused guitar odysseys often dominate their lack of songwriting. Not only did Molitz use the instrument to supplement the staccato guitar of Charlie Hitchcock, his electronic influence set the tone for the band's unique retro sounds. Molitz took center stage on several numbers incorporating shades of techno and electronica to the jazz and funk tone set by the group.

Another musical standout was bassist Eric Gould. Throughout the duration of the evening, Gould provided heart-pounding, ground-shaking bass lines. Despite the many tempo and style changes, his skills never faltered, especially when the synths and guitar backed off and he embarked on an amazing solo session.

Perhaps the quartet's most impressive skill was its command of making transitions between diverse styles. These weren't just from verse to chorus; rather within the same measure they would explore various spectrums of sound.

The group performed lengthy compositions from its full-length debut, "Launchpad." The members came together in the Bay Area scene three years ago, and have toured several times through the Midwest.

Playing to a large crowd of followers familiar with the ensemble as a result of its collaborations with bands like Phish, the musicians left little time for words and performed with no vocals. Instead, Particle let the pulsating jams and synthesized beats do the talking.