Particle w/Michael Kang | 10.09 | CO

Words & Images by: Jesse Borrell

Particle :: 10.09.08 :: Fox Theatre :: Boulder, CO

Particle w/ Kang :: 10.09 :: Boulder, CO
Let me just put something out there. To all those listeners who may have lost faith along the way (including me at times), Particle still rocks. Hard. As I journeyed towards Boulder's Fox Theatre, passing by the hippie vendors and odd tour head, I wondered how the core spirit of the band held throughout the past couple years with the revolving cast of guitarists and keyboardist Steve Molitz's high-profile gig with Phil Lesh & Friends. Any doubts were quickly washed away with the help of Colorado's own Michael Kang, who helped Particle throw down for their Boulder brethren with the same spirit they possessed as up-and-coming L.A. electronica rockers eight years ago.

To start off the night, U-Melt took the stage and was a perfect introduction into what understandably turned into an electronica-heavy evening. "Elysian Fields," led by George Miller's intense drumming, marked the band's first foray into long, triumphant experimentation and featured Billy Joel's classic "Pressure" sandwiched inside. Performing second, The Breakfast started their set off brooding with the heavy guitar licks and deep drumming of "Wake Up In A Coma." A combination of slow, purposeful drum and bass hooks showed composure to a song that could have easily gotten ahead of itself or add too many layers too fast. Seeing an opportunity, guitarist Tim Palmieri patiently advanced higher up his Fender's fretboard as a hint of dub reggae crashed into psychedelic blues.

Heading outside to get some cool mountain air, a whole other world was moving about as the late night crew was just arriving. Rumors of sighting "this artist" or "that artist" floated about, but to many "the man with the electric mandolin" sufficed. There was no doubt that tonight's show would be great with the addition of The String Cheese Incident's Kang, but I wondered who would take his place further down life's line. In a post show interview, Steve Molitz discussed for all of the Particle People just how these transitions have shaped Particle's core trio.

Kang & Gould :: 10.09 :: Boulder, CO
"I think what's gotten the three of us through all the transitions is the fact that we've always approached the music - and the process of the music - with a lot of passion, dedication, and excitement," said Molitz. "Particle started with just me, Eric [Gould, bass] and Darren [Pujalet, drums] jamming and writing songs together in 2000, and we're still just as thrilled today as we were back then to be playing this music."

Piling back indoors, the air instantly heated and condensed as the simple spirit of music took hold of those willing to embrace it. The boys of Particle plus Kang began their set by pulling the crowd closer with a swirl of textural overtones natural to any Particle introduction. As the familiar licks of "Launchpad" began, it became immediately apparent that these guys love what they do, often seen in the characteristic up and down head nod by Gould or a persistent, wondrous stare from Molitz. It was this consistent level of enthusiasm that got me into the band in the first place, and from the look of those around me it was infectious to all once again.

Particle has always been really good at adapting their style to any type of music. "W" journeyed from full-fledged electronic rock to Floyd-esque space and then towards Parliament funk at the drop of a dime. Exploring the open thematic structure, it was Molitz's keys that transitioned the group deep into a funk-trance version of the Dead's "Shakedown Street" to the surprise of the crowd, who cheerfully sang the familiar lyrics along with Kang.

Michael Kang (with Particle) :: 10.09 :: Boulder, CO
There is something about Particle's unbound song structure that produces amazing rock music. Pujalet's relentless drumming during "Triple Threat" and "7th Gear" demonstrated this relationship perfectly as he led the band's pace towards one of Particle's many effortless peaks. Featuring a playful back and forth between Pujalet's drum hits and Molitz synth-tabla-effected keyboard strokes, all four musicians soared in styles reminiscent of Hydra (Particle's collaboration with Mickey Hart) and of Kang's own String Cheese Incident.

The beginning theme for "The Elevator" is hinged upon a repetitive series of guitar notes - in this case transposed to an electric mandolin. Going through the motions with sitar-like effects, Kang exemplified the definition of a quick read by more than adequately filling in the void where various guitarists have been before. Molitz and Kang musically danced around each other's notes, teasing in and out of themes that sent the song well past thirteen-minutes as their set came towards an end.

Playing over 1,000 shows over the course of eight years says a lot for the level of Particle's commitment to both their music and their fans. With the help of supporting acts The Breakfast and U-Melt, bands that have also experienced lineup changes over the years, Particle celebrated their eighth year as a band proven ever determined to evolve, even during the most transitory of times.

"It seems that change is our only constant. I'll tell you this, whether it's in Particle or another project, I would gladly play with Charlie [Hitchcock], Ben [Combe] and Scott [Metzger] again at some point in the future," said Molitz. "They're all great guys, and great players. In the meantime, Eric, Darren and I are all really excited by the idea that Particle's future is such a wide open canvas."

U-Melt setlist
Escape, Elysian Fields > Pressure > Elysian Fields > Clear Light

The Breakfast setlist
Wake Up In A Coma > Over Exposure, Buquebus, Metropolis (w/ Molitz)

Particle setlist
Launchpad, Silver Lining, W > Shakedown Street* > Triple Threat > 7th Gear, The Elevator
Encore: Truth Don Die > Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger^

* First Time Played (Grateful Dead)
^ First Time Played (Daft Punk)

U-Melt The Fox Theatre- Boulder, CO 10/9/2008 Elysian Fields>Pressure from Coloartist on Vimeo

The Breakfast, The Fox Theatre 10-09-2008 "Metropolis" from Coloartist on Vimeo

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gmoo Thu 10/30/2008 09:58AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I've been seeing Particle since '04 and they need to do something different. The band died when Hitchcock left and hasn't been the same since. I'm really surprised U-Melt and The Breakfast opened seeing that they could both blow Particle off the stage on any given night.

colbsalot2 Thu 10/30/2008 10:08AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

instead of going the particle route, why not have a hydra reunion or something? luminiferous ether is still one of my favorite songs.

Radio Ryan starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/30/2008 10:13AM
+7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Radio Ryan

I first saw Particle at the Big Wu Family Reunion in 2001 I believe (same festival with YMSB, STS9, Umphrey's, The Slip, now tell me that wasn't an awesome time?!) and I immediately fell in love with their music and energy. Eric's head bobbing is perma-burned into my head. Plus, they had their projection guy with them, which was amazing. They did an encore and Steve called it "we're going to miss our plane, again" - they were supposed to fly out of Minneapolis but it didn't happen. Hitchcock was incredible and I miss his musicianship dearly. The core 3 are still heavy hitters, though.

Oh yeah, and U-Melt is today what Umphreys was then, just getting started and already amazing.

Marcsmall Thu 10/30/2008 10:16AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I went to the Fox show, not expecting much, because a friend had a free ticket, and I was pleasantly surprised....They sounded pretty damn good all night, and the Shakedown was surely my highlight of the evening........I'm not usually a big Kang or Particle fan, but they definitely sound better than they did a year or two ago.

vanilla Thu 10/30/2008 10:48AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I can't remember for sure, but I'm pretty sure U-Melt had set up a mini stage at Coventry and played. ha anyone else know anything about that?

JeLLyPhiSh823 Thu 10/30/2008 12:03PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Hey does anybody know where i can get a copy of this partical show with kang sounds dank

chidodger Thu 10/30/2008 01:10PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Anyone remember Particle from Bonnaroo 2003, playing from about 4:30 am till about 8 am. That was 1 of the best performaces i'v ever seen in my life.

if rhymes were valiums... starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/30/2008 01:48PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

if rhymes were valiums...

ethoms... i think it is only available on torrent sites

Lightenupyourload starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/30/2008 02:07PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Hearing Moltiz say he'd gladly play with Hitchcock again is music to my ears. They haven't been the same since they kicked him out of the band and I think they realize how much he brought to the table. Hydra was great but definitely does not match Particle at their peak. Their performance at Bonnaroo was definitely a highlight in the band's career. Let's hope we see them hit that high point again.

if rhymes were valiums... starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/30/2008 02:20PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

if rhymes were valiums...

also news to all.. kang is finishing out particle's tour for the rest of '08

check em out...

willydog Thu 10/30/2008 04:05PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Just got my ticks for the Great American Music Hall...Kang,EOTO, and Phil Lesh day after Xmas. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

deadhead1421 Thu 10/30/2008 06:41PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

sounds like a pretty sick show from start to finish...would like to get my hands on this one

johnnygoff Thu 10/30/2008 07:51PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



paulygparty Thu 10/30/2008 08:17PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Particle playing Daft Punk, hell yeah!!!

Hope they keep going through the New Year.

berneto Thu 10/30/2008 09:36PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

That Bonnaroo show was truly astounding. My friend woke me up at around 5:00 saying "come on man you gotta check this band out," I wanted to get a few hours of sleep before the ragin daytime temps, but he was persuasive and getting up was one of the best decisions I ever made. They used to hold it down with Hitchcock at Starr Hill in Cville back in the day...i thought the floor would cave in. I've seen them a few times since, but just haven't been as into it. My faith was renewed at allgood when Phil and Friends covered blew my mind...might have to check out that Great American Music Hall show.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} Fri 10/31/2008 04:43AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

ahh I was waiting for marc to tell it like it is :)

theguykeator Fri 10/31/2008 08:34AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


"Tim Palmieri patiently advanced higher up his Fender's fretboard as a hint of dub reggae crashed into psychedelic blues." Tim is Dank!!!

I agree with gmoo, two solid openers!!!

rulosa01 Sat 11/1/2008 04:52PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

vanilla Thu 10/30/2008 10:48AM

I can't remember for sure, but I'm pretty sure U-Melt had set up a mini stage at Coventry and played. ha anyone else know anything about that?

i remember that. i was up for 3 days and just as i got in bed those motherfuckers started playing about 50 yards away.

rulosa01 Sat 11/1/2008 04:53PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

also fyi the Breakfast recently picked up Todd Stoops of RAQ to play keyboards. dankness.

manjotar starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/3/2008 09:34AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


amen berneto, those sarr hill shows were ridiculous! i never saw that old wooden floor bounce like that before or since... too bad they shut the place down.

i would have loved to catch this show with kang, why no video of them??

manjotar Mon 11/3/2008 09:34AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


*starr hill

Skal Z starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/3/2008 01:12PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I really like those video clips, Coloartist. Hopefully Steve Molitz/The Breakfast will cross paths again sometime soon!

if rhymes were valiums... starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/3/2008 02:38PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

if rhymes were valiums...

manjotar... the video does exist, but i don't think they were allowed to go public considering it was kang's first show with the particle crew- damn copyright infringement. but immense integrity by coloartist for respecting their wishes right?