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Saturday, February 8

Review and Photos: Particle - Higher Ground - South Burlington, VT - 2/6/2014

The cold, crisp, Vermont air snuck its way into the venue as the nearly empty Higher Ground Lounge  started to fill up before the storied and heavily toured act Particle, came on. The opening band, Jon Wayne and The Pain performed a great reggae style jam-dub opening set and got the crowd dancing and feeling light on their feet. The band of three have an enveloping, impressive sound for only a bassist, drummer and guitarist. Their music fills the room with the force of a five piece band. 
Particle took the stage with the friendly but aggressive presence that makes their band so dynamic. To start off the night, a new instrumental song was debuted, that is yet to be named. It consists of deep organ chords and heavy bass lines. The band asked the crowd after the song, for suggestions on names for the new song. The consensus seemed to be "Probation".. The show then took off even deeper into jam-tronica space territory. The deep funk ripped through "London Forces"> "Red Orchestra" and the crowd never stopped dancing for second. One of my favorite moments of the night transpired next. The band covered the song "E-Pro" by Beck. The cover was dark and grungy but with funk overtones, Particle delivered and great homage to this classic jam. 

After the dark grungy funk cover, the band shifted paces into "Triple Threat", a bouncing funk riddled jam song that leaves plenty of room for improvisation. "Triple Threat" lead to some guest action; Particle called for Jon Wayne, the lead singer/ guitarist for Jon Wayne and The Pain to join them onstage. Jon Wayne busted out some Sublime reminiscent rhymes over an instrumental jam that Particle laid down. The reggae feel was a good fit with the light funk style of Particle.
Nearing the end of the show, the dancing got even heavier as the band got deeper into jam space than I had ever expected. The "DC">"Metropolis"> "National Anthem" and closing out the first set with a version of "Elevator" that made the biggest argument that they are one of the dominant bands in the live-tronic genre today.  The "Metropolis" jam consisted of choppy guitar mutes to create an plucky beat over the heavy keyboards resulting in a thick groove. The energy in the Higher Ground venue was amazing. In a matter of half an hour the venue went from empty to nearly full of enthusiastic dancers. 
Particle threw down an electric show with energy levels that felt on par to an elevated  Umphrey's show.  They bid their fans good night with an encore of "I'm Awake", "Silver Lining". The song was a light jam, more vocal than the average Particle song, and it was a great way to end an amazing night. Particle noted how they haven’t come to Vermont often enough lately, so I hope this is the first of more shows to come from this awesome band Particle in Burlington, VT. 
All words and photos: Joe Schlee
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