Particle rocks like science

By Patrick Stutz, ArtsEtc. Writer

Physicists believe that pure energy is released when antimatter particles collide with matter, but the people of Milwaukee will argue that when the L.A. based band Particle stepped on stage at The Rave Wednesday night there was also a release of pure energy.

In nearly four years Particle has become famous for their high energy dance grooves and extensive sets that stretch into the late hours of the night. With bassist Eric Gould, guitarist Charlie Hitchcock, Steve Molitz on keyboards and Darren Pujalet on drums, the band’s combination of funktronic rock and disco-styled jams have led to a strong following of devoted listeners dubbed “Particle People.” Being embraced by the jam band community, Particle brings an alternative sound to the traditionally bluegrass and bluesy scene by providing elements of electronica, creating what Gould calls “a sonic voyage.”

The band continued to gain loyal listeners by appearing as a post-show act; giving concert goers who were not ready to go home the opportunity to continue dancing. Rather than struggle to bring new fans to shows, this provided Particle with the opportunity to share the fans that were already present.

This formula has paid off for the band, having played over 500 shows since the birth of Particle and having shared the stage with such musicians as Robbie Krieger from The Doors and Page McConnell of Phish. Particle also performed for over five hours during a 4 a.m. set at the 2003 Bonnaroo Music Festival in front of a crowd of 20,000 people.

Particle is currently touring this spring to promote the release of their first album, “Launchpad.” The collection of tracks captures the energy of the band’s live performances, but with a more crisp engineered sound than Particle’s demos and traded bootlegs.

The members of Particle recently took time out of their touring schedule to talk to the Badger Herald about the new album and how this tour differs from so many of others.

“With an album it changes a lot,” Gould said. “It creates a whole new spark to the tour to have something that we are really proud of that people can take home. It’s amazing that we have gone three and a half years without a proper album. Once you have one out you realize you can’t even imagine life without it.”

Particle tried on many occasions to get into the studios, but touring was always a larger priority. Having completed their first album the experience was more enjoyable than expected and the band is already thinking about the groundwork for a second.

“I think the studio is fantastic,” Pujalet said. “You can never replace what you do live on a disc and when you play live the audience kind of wears you and the energy cycles back and forth. When you are in a studio you are presenting something with one-way communication and for us we wanted to give people a different side of what we are about and eventually we will have a live album out.”

For now Particle plans to concentrate on their current tour and enjoy the good vibes that their new album is bringing them.

Particle is performing at Luther’s Blues tonight and anticipates a high energy dance experience that will have the audience moving.

“If we really embrace the audience’s energy,” Gould said. “It can raise the quality of the show and that’s cool because it’s a symbiotic relationship.”