Part and Particle: Being at the show makes it better

Particle and Rock Star Showdown
at Starr Hill
August 22 and 23


Friday night's plan to check out Particle at Starr Hill came to a halt when my two-year-old daughter kept waking up with an upset stomach. I'd heard mixed reviews about the group and wanted to judge for myself, but I wasn't about to leave my daughter with a sitter in her condition. So much for Particle.

The next night I planned to check out the "Rock Star Showdown" at Starr Hill. Before going, I stopped off at a friend's house to get a review of the previous night's event. Come to find out, he had videotaped the entire show. Instead of living vicariously through him, we just watched the tape of the show.

Particle reminds me of Disco Biscuits with less trance and more... how do you say... noodling. I can say that it was hard to follow their spastic style. One minute they sat comfortably in a dance groove that had the crowd in a frenzy, only to follow it up with a song so disjointed that I could have sworn they were having practice on stage.

The intense intelligent lighting system they brought with them did a good job distracting from the looser points of the performance. Maybe a more altered state of consciousness would have put me in a better mood for their style.

Or possibly I may have not gotten quite so annoyed listening to four plus minutes of the guitarist scratching his strings completely off beat. People seemed to be having a good time on the tape. I guess you had to be there.

After about a 45 minutes of Particle, I headed over to the Rock Star Showdown. I really didn't know what to expect, so when I got to Starr Hill to find an almost sold-out venue, I was pleasantly surprised.

Unfortunately, I missed the first half of the eight performing bands. Truth be told, the Showdown was awesome. The bands weren't the best in the world, but you don't expect that from a group of people thrown together and given a month to learn a few tunes.

The energy in the room told the whole story. Here are various musicians who love what they do, but for one reason or another haven't made it to the big stage. When given the opportunity, they put their all into it and sincerely put on a show for everyone in the room.

Kudos go to the rock stars of Charlottesville. Great show.