Particle Teams With Rob Wasserman & John Popper For Halloween 2004 In Boston
Here’s an article from the JamBase archives we ran in 2004.
Words by: Richard Falco
Images by: Robert Chapman
Particle :: 10.31.04 :: The Roxy :: Boston, MA
Particle is moving on up like the Jeffersons’. The band recently stopped in downtown Boston to play at The Roxy after previously packing the Paradise for their last couple of shows in Beantown, also home to bassist Eric Gould. The venue was decorated in traditional Halloween style with the addition of two giant TV screens on each side of the stage. The band came out and attempted to immediately win over the Boston crowd with replica Red Sox uniforms, which spawned a number of “Lets Go Red Sox” chants throughout the night. The opening act was the team of John Popper and Rob Wasserman performing under the name Trick or Treat.
As opposed to last year’s Halloween show in New York where Particle morphed an even amount of their own bouncing beats with incredibly funky covers to go with their Studio 54 theme; this year they really took a risk and put themselves out there by playing mostly new interpretations of television theme songs spanning the decades. As much as their original material could have kept us moving all night, it was great to see a young band really do something risky and go this far out on the ledge and pull it off successfully.
One of the band members must have wanted to be a private investigator or cop as a kid, because the P-Team chose some of the best crime fighting shows of all time early and often in the song selection for the evening. The night opened up with keyboardist Steve Molitzrepeating “I want my P-TV” into the microphone during their “Money For Nothing” intro. All of a sudden the bass from “Mission Impossible” caused our collective blood to boil and the night was off and away. At this time, as in most Particle People gatherings, The Roxy proceeded to leave Boylston Street and fly off to the center of our galaxy where their pulsing sound originated. As usual the takeoff was incredibly smooth and set the tone for our trip that night. As wet set forth on our journey the big TV screens on both sides of the stage showed clips from the TV shows they were covering. Following takeoff, “Magnum P.I.,” “Inspector Gadget” and the “A-Team” were called in for duty. Being a huge fan of organic electronica and reggae, the “Inspector Gadget” was up there as one of my favorite song performances of the year by any band. My fake dreadlocks bounced in time with the music as the first clouds of smoke could be seen puffing on the ship that evening. Rob Wassermann hit the landscape and got the show bumping as part of the twin towers of bass for both the “Magnum P.I.” and “Inspector Gadget” interpretations. Just as the “A-Team” ended and most of us were anxious with glee to see what else the band could possibly have in store; they found the perfect time to bust out some of their own material as they flew into “Launchpad.”
Costume Contest at Particle :: 10.31.04
After returning from “Launchpad,” this year’s costume contest (which had some amazing homemade costumes) was featured. My favorite of the night was a costume of Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s ankle but this did not make the cut [pun intended]. The clear crowd favorite was “Bong Man,” a beautiful seven foot, full body costume with fluorescent tube, bowl, lighter and a tasty little nugget. It clearly edged out great costumes like the beautiful Wonder Woman and her red boots (who could be seen dancing on stage at each of the last couple particle Halloween shows), and a great Tree Beard costume of middle earth’s most famous entity. John Popper emceed the contest and stayed on stage for a very special treat. Particle dropped into a very jazzy jam unlike anything I’ve heard them do before. You could see a lack of conformity early on caused by the complexity of the jam. It was a very rewarding piece for diehard fans of the band as it showed possible new directions the band might venture towards in the future. The first set was finished off with “King of the Hill,” the first animated theme song of the night.
As everyone flocked to the streets and the garage to get fresh air, call a friend or get high, the boys regrouped and came out with an amazing second set. Steve, the bands leader and keyboardist, opened the set using his organ to fittingly try and scare the hell out of us with haunting sounds from some dark region of the galaxy and rapping something about Philly B’s archives. It showed the band was ready to keep pushing the envelope and was going to stray even further from their usual material. Straight from the haunting sounds of Mr. Molitz, the rest of the band unleashed into “Knight Rider” which reminded us all right where we were. The unrelenting funktronic beats radiating from “Knight Rider” was genuine Particle and seemed to be the majority favorite of the night. Whereas I usually feel Charlie Hitchcock‘s guitar is the most dominant ingredient in the Particle recipe, I’d say Halloween belonged to bassist Eric Gould.
Perhaps he was spotlighted because of the song selection, or maybe fired up for his hometown Red Sox, either way Eric’s smile and his bass were bigger and more abusive than ever. As usual, Darren Pujalet (drums) fed off this and the two really had an amazing Particle-esque funktronic connection laying the groundwork for the whole night. After “Knight Rider” Particle jumped into their second and last original of the night with “The Elevator.” After the space bumping that began the second set, the band changed it up at the perfect time having John Popper take the stage to feed us some vocals to go with our favorite futuristic ear grub. TV’s most popular family showed up with him as the theme song from “The Sopranos” started to pour out of the speakers. “That 70’s Show” followed and the band seemed to be a bit off during the vocals part, possibly due to the confusion of actually having a vocalist on stage, but the song then transformed into what was probably the best improv-based jam of the night. Particle then catered to the Boston crowd where everyone knows their name, and sang along to their rendition of the “Cheers” theme song. John Popper left the stage and the second set was finished with “Loose Caboose” and “Miami Vice.”
For the encore the audience was treated to an intimate and pleasing “Peanuts” (Charlie Brown) theme as Molitz took the stage solo. While he played his keys Molitz culled memories of holidays past and the season ahead. The band then followed Steve on stage and ended the night with “Shoe Goo” leaving us all exhausted and thoroughly pleased. After the show, the band hung around and chatted on stage and at the merchandise table where they signed copies of their retro P-TV show posters until the last of their people left the terminal.
Stream audio captured by Jason Adler featuring most of Particle’s Halloween 2004 show:
Setlist (Note: TV Show Themes Mentioned, Not Names Of Actual Songs)
Set One: Money For Nothing Intro, Mission: Impossible, Magnum PI*, Inspector Gadget*, The A-Team, Launchpad, John Popper Improv Jam**, King Of The Hill**
Set Two: Spooky Organ Intro, Knight Rider, The Elevator, The Sopranos**, That ’70s Show**, Cheers**, Loose Caboose, Miami Vice, Peanuts Theme, Shoe Goo
* – w/ Rob Wasserman, ** – w/ John Popper