- There is no shortage of facial hair in Particle.
When bassist Eric Gould talks about live performance as the essential experience for his band Particle, it should hardly come as a surprise.
This is a group, after all, that has been together five years, but has only managed to release one CD, 2004's Launchpad.
"We really put ourselves out for the live show," Gould says. "We put it all out on the table, for better or for worse. If we're having a great show, you're going to see it on our faces. If we're having a not-so-good show, you're probably going to see it."
Their live performances clearly have connected with music fans. With the jam-band scene providing an early fan base, Particle has generated a strong word-of-mouth buzz for their dance-inducing marathons. The band played a five-and-a-half hour set at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2003 that began at 3 a.m. Today, Particle typically headlines large clubs coast to coast.
"What we love to do in our show is, we love to make people dance," Gould says. "That's a reason why people really enjoy hearing us for an extended amount of time because we constantly have them moving and dancing and engaged."
Particle began in the fall of 2000, when Los Angeles-based musicians Gould, Steve Molitz (keyboards), Darren Pujalet (drums) and Dave Simmons (guitar) decided to form a group with a grooving electronic sound at its core.
Just a couple months into the band's tenure, Simmons died of complications from diabetes. But in that short time, he made an indelible impact on Particle, and Launchpad is dedicated to him.
"When he came in, he was the most experienced out of all of us," Gould says. "He kind of helped shape us up when we were putting out a whole bunch of ideas. And he definitely kept us on our toes in a lot of ways. He was just an amazing character."
Despite the loss, Gould, Molitz and Pujalet knew almost immediately that they were going to push forward as Particle.
Guitarist Charlie Hitchcock, who brought a more aggressive, rock-edged style of play to the band, soon was chosen as Simmons' replacement. Hitchcock, however, parted ways with the band at the end of 2005, and two new guitarists, Scott Metzger and Ben Combe, have stepped into the lineup.
Launchpad offers a good first sampling of the Hitchcock-era Particle sound. Tunes like "The Elevator" and "The Banker" blend driving dance beats with an array of synthesizer lines and some blistering electric guitar, creating an energetic, grooving sound.
"We really aren't like a typical electronic band," Gould says. "If you listen to a DJ Shadow album or something like that, we're not playing like that. We're fusing rock & roll into electronica."
Gould and his bandmates are eager to record a second CD, and to see how the band can use the studio to find new elements in its sound.
"Every once in a while, we're kicking ourselves, like "Why weren't we in the studio more?'" he says. "We were just road dogs. And we built a really nice grassroots following as a result of it.
"We finally buckled down and recorded our album, and we're happy about it. But we can't wait to get to the next one."
The Black Sheep,2106 E. Platte Ave.
Friday, April 7, 8 p.m.
$12; for more info, call 227-7625.