By: George McCabe
Particle’s return to the Fox in Boulder, CO created a lofty expectation, one that comes with much anticipation and pressure. Being the Eve of Halloween, an appropriately dark show was in order. What better way to fulfill this unwritten expectation than by playing an entire set of songs by the legendary Pink Floyd? The band played the songs with an apparent practiced confidence with help from two female vocalists and a saxophonist. They set the pace for the entire set when they began the second set with a high-energy rendition of "Run Like Hell" with an extended electronic jam similar to the Disco Biscuits' frequently covered rendition but with their own Particle touch.
There are many bands that attempt to recreate the Pink Floyd live experience. Boulder itself is home to four such bands, each trying to replicate what is ultimately one of the biggest and most expansive rock and roll shows in history. The Pink Floyd stage show is not just about the music—although the tunes themselves are each so ingrained in fans’ heads that mere imitation can seem like mockery. Each song Particle played blasted off into a funky, dark, danceable excursion to give the audience more than an effort to replicate another band's material robotically.
Charlie Hitchcock did a great job filling David Gilmour's role, replicating his signature tone and soaring guitar solos. A few times he bent a high note and gradually unbent the note while rhythmically pulsing with the whammy bar, which combined with a lot of delay created an impressive psychedelic effect. Hitchcock, of course, was under a lot of pressure, as he is the long-lost missing piece of the original Particle sound.
After the band had achieved great success in a short time, playing hundreds of shows and putting out the critically acclaimed Launchpad album, he was let go from the band in 2005. Minus Hitchcock, the band toured with a rotating cast of guitartists, none able to truly fill his shoes. His presence in the band certainly fuels the rock fire, playing moody and twisting grooves or simply shredding.
The saxophonist belted out powerful solos throughout the show, often holding out a single note for an extended period of time strategically placed in the middle of his runs up and down the scale. Keyboardist Steve Molitz created the dark ambiance that is expected at a Pink Floyd concert and helped the grooves go beyond the composed sections to more exploratory places.
Taking on the songs of arguably the biggest rock act of the past half-century is dangerous, and on Halloween, doubly so, as big things are expected. To do it with a band member that has been gone for half a decade is even riskier. There are still doubts whether a full tour will be announced. That said, having witnessed an incarnation of the band that was polished, yet loose, let’s tentatively say they’re back.
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