Electron Puts on a Sold Out Show at The Note
On may 10th 2013 the most recent incarnation of Marc Brownstein’s side project Electron, performed two amazing sold out sets at The Note in West Chester, PA. Brownstein formed Electron during his brief time apart from the Biscuits in 2000. The Band’s previous lineup featured Joe Russo on drums however on this tour, Lotus’s drummer and Philadelphia native Mike Greenfield held down the kit. Electron’s current lineup consists of Aaron Magner and Marc Brownstein from The Disco Biscuits, Tom Hamilton from Brother’s Past, and the new addition Mike
Greenfield of Lotus on drums. Electron seldom tours and this specific tour was extremely short but packed with amazing dance-infused jams. Electron plays Brothers Past and Disco Biscuit songs and over the course of their existence they have been known to cover a variety of bands including Pink Floyd and Radiohead. During this tour most of the songs played were Disco Biscuit tunes.
West Chester opened up with a smooth version of “Confrontation” which then segued into a tranquil “Humuhumunukunukuapua’a.” I was really hoping to hear this song, however they had just played it the night before at SOB’s in NYC so I did not expect to hear it. After a nice “Humu” jam the band then segued into “Portal to an Empty Head.” This was a good jam which started off a bit sketchy timing wise. This was the first time Electron performed “Portal” this tour. Once the jam started, the band completely locked in more so than during the first two songs and this certainly set the tone for the rest of the evening. “Portal” segued into a “Home Again” flawlessly. Everyone got down furiously to the infectious dance beats. “Home Again” certainly sounded a bit different than usual. In fact Tommy Hamilton was jamming out the portal riff during “Home Again” prior to the end of the song. “Home Again” then segued back into “Portal.” Following the “Portal” was an uplifting “Kamaole Sands” that got every one in the sold out venue stomping and singing in unison with huge grins on their faces. The first set came full circle and ended when “Kamaole” segued back into “Confrontation.”
Before the second set started, right when the band took the stage, T-Ham teased “China Cat Sunflower.” The set then officially opened with “Chemical Warfare Brigade.” Everyone sang along to the song like an anthem and it was during the jam of “CWB” that I noticed Tom Hamilton really start to shred. Personally I was so satisfied with the flow of the setlist and it’s structure that I could not imagine a more perfect show. The second set was certainly filled with more energy and that was easy to see once the band started jamming out “CWB.” Throughout the first set, it seemed as though the band was pacing themselves for the second set. By the middle of “CWB,” Tommy really began to take heavy lead and everyone in the audience knew they were in for a serious set of jams.
“Chemical Warfare Brigade” was a stand alone and followed by “Three Wishes” as another stand alone. The Biscuits rarely perform “Three Wishes” and a lot of newer tDB fans are not familiar with the song. Right before going into “Three Wishes” Brownie explained some of the origins of this older song. Marc explained how when the song was written 13 years ago, Hamilton claimed it was one of the harder songs he learned to play with Marc. They executed “Wishes” perfectly and the band was locked in for what was going to be a jam-packed rest of the show.
“And The Ladies Were The Rest of The Night” kicked off a series of jams after “Three Wishes” that left the balcony of the sold out venue shaking. The song was incredibly funky and jammy as it always is but something about Greenfield’s drumming really allowed for the rest of the band to do so much more during the jams. His subtlety and range of styles makes him so versatile and applicable to a band of this genre. During the first “Ladies” jam Tom Hamilton teased “Lets Start A Gang” by his band Brothers Past which got me really excited and also made me really want to hear at least one Brothers Past song. Tom Hamilton really took charge of this jam and things really started to heat up. “Ladies” then segued into “Rock Candy.” This may have been the highlight of the evening: the jam was straight fire and had everyone moving. Both “Ladies” and “Rock Candy” had a serious climax and the segue between songs was very well done. “Rock Candy” then segued into “Grass Is Green” however during the segue between “Rock Candy” and “Grass is Green” the band faked the ending of “Humu” which brought back fond memories of the more mellow first set. Everyone sang along for “Grass Is Green” and the smiles around the venue were infectious. During the jam to “Grass Is Green,” Aaron Magner tastefully teased “Cross Eyed and Painless” by the Talking Heads. “Grass Is Green” segued back into the ending of “Ladies” for a nice little sandwich of a second set. My favorite part of the show was most definitely Ladies>Rock Candy>Grass Is Green> Ladies; this segment of the show was a straight dance party and really demonstrated how well this group of extremely talented musicians can flow together. The Second set ended with “Kamaole Sands” which was also played during the first set.
Electron had been playing a lot of Pink Floyd covers for the encore’s this run and The Note was no exception. “Have a Cigar” by Pink Floyd was their first encore and it certainly hit the spot and for a double whammy they closed out the show with “Fearless” also by Pink Floyd.
The energy of the show was different from that of a typical Disco Biscuit show. It was refreshing to hear these songs so well executed. I personally felt that the overall sound of the band was better than the way the Biscuits currently sound playing these songs. A huge reason for this is because of Greenfield’s drumming. Allen is an exceptional drummer but sometimes less is more. There is something to be said about the element of patience and flow that Greenfield contributes to these songs. After Friday’s show at The Note Marc Brownstein posted a status on Facebook about Greenfield’s drumming:
I believe Mikes drumming contributed to the patient brand of jams that Electron provided. Similarly, Tom Hamilton’s guitar playing was perfect and as the show progressed you could really here Tom branching out and jamming harder. By the second set, the entire band was in a solid groove and was sufficiently locked in for an immaculate set.
I was blown away by this performance. Electron really gives the Disco Biscuits a run for their money. Tommy Hamilton’s jazzy guitar styles and signature rhythms really paved way for some expansive jams, especially in the second set. It seemed as though Tommy was getting warmed up during the first set for some of the insane climaxes he offered during the second set, specifically during “CWB” and “Ladies.” None of the memorable jams from this show would have been remotely possible if it wasn’t for Greenfield’s delicate and patient drumming style. Mike Greenfield really knows how to elevate everyone elses play and he truly completes the band. Electron at The Note was a phenomenal show and I can only hope to hear more from this super group in the future.
Chemical Warfare Brigade
Grass Is Green>
E. Have a Cigar