“I can envisage a new world in which society has a way for there to be music, whose function is to get you high, that's the sort of thing we're hammering at.
To get really high is to forget yourself and to forget yourself is to see everything else; and to see everything else is to become an understanding molecule in evolution, a conscious tool of the universe. That's why I think it's important to get high.” -- Jerry Garcia
As I was walking to the light rail last night before the show, I was thinking about this Jerry Garcia quote. He mentioned molecules, but particles seem likewise appropriate. To be high is to be out of duality and to understand the flow of energy in the universe.
I have found Particle's music to be music that gets me high, and to see the faces and bodies of others dancing wildly to their music is just further evidence that I am not alone in this search.
I had a pass for the show because of promoting their show with handbills and posters. I got to the doors shortly after opening, and I met another individual who was also there because of his promotion. He was setting up his taper gear for the show.
I found it interesting to be in the room, which was nearly empty with a couple of dozen people, workers included, at the beginning of the night. I met a group of people who drove up from La Crosse who are also catching the show tonight in Milwaukee. Theirs was a spur of the moment decision, and I am glad that they made it for their mini-tour. (That reminded me of my youth when I got to see a couple Dead shows at a time).
I talked for a couple of minutes to the guy mixing Particle's sound. He found it both challenging and enjoyable. I bet!
After a while I didn't talk too much, but I just enjoyed seeing the flow of people into the club. There was a mass of people arriving at the announced show time of 9:45, and I was quickly losing good dancing space. Steve Molitz walks in a few minutes before 10, and people cheered his arrival. He smiled and waved briefly, then disappeared.
The level of anticipation was rising in the room. Particle fans are intense fans, much like the STS9 fans that I met in mid-September. They are here to dance and groove. I have to admit that my bones are not quite as limber as most of theirs, but I too had single-minded purpose to have a good time.
Finally the guys take the stage. Within a minute they start playing and the first song is vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place it until they began singing Radiohead's “National Anthem”.
After two or three songs, I was in a throng of people and I moved to a less crowded spot in the bar. I enjoyed the rest of the first set, and during it I ran into an acquaintance. Although it was a cold night, I went to the smoke area and chatted with him while he enjoyed his cigarette. (It felt good to be in the cold air, despite my sore throat today).
It was energizing to be outside, but it was time to come back in. I commented right as they were preparing to start again that the first set was just a warm-up set, incredible as it was. The band and fans were incredible, seeming to pull off just as good or even better set than the first.
I ran out of juice three-quarters of the way through the second set and I sat for a few minutes of rest and a Red Bull to relax my arm and leg muscles which were very sore by this point. I perked up for the crescendo-building second set finale of “Sun Mar 11.”
Keeping an eye on the clock (not wanting to miss the light rail), I got my coat and bought the last Particle work shirt. I said goodbye to a couple of people, but stayed as long as I could during the encore, “Double Helix” and “Axel F” before I got my behind out the door and onto the train. I walked home in the cold evening air smiling from the good night.
I was so excited to see these guys again. I try to listen to the music as a whole, but I am entranced by Darren's polyrhythmic drumming and Steve's amazing keyboards and apparent conducting. I enjoy the music because it is complex, organic, and very danceable. Even the songs that seem to have a bit more rock influence, though not received as well as the cosmic pieces, are great pieces of music.
I've had a few conversations with people who have not enjoyed that direction, as in the years before I saw them, 2000-2004, they were known for playing shows of great length and almost totally spaced-out jams. And although there was definitely a certain different quality in sound between the two shows I saw in 2005 versus the two I have seen this year, I recognize that this is a band that is challenging themselves to evolve. That course may not be what everyone enjoys as much as the older days, but as a fan of music who tries his best to listen for new sounds, I am enjoying Particle's journey in the short time I have been seeing them. A few hundred dancing, smiling, sweating people each night will agree!
I am thankful they played The Cabooze again, and I am certain they will be back a couple times next year.