Tommy Hamilton’s Beard and Straight Unexpected Fire – Electron @ Toad’s Place 5/11/13

Words by Pete DeStefano / Photos by Dorothy Paige

The night of May 11th found a near capacity crowd at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT for jamtronica super-group Electron. Comprised of Marc Brownstein and Aaron Magner of The Disco Biscuits & Conspirator, Tom Hamilton of Brothers Past, and new addition Mike Greenfield of Lotus, Electron is, well, jaw-droppingly freaking incredible.

Of course Toad’s Place is always a party and the 11th was no different. However the infamous courtyard space behind the club was uncharacteristically empty save a few fools taking public tequila shots, properly I might add, with lime and salt. What’s that really mean? Next to no one was willing to miss a even minute of the show.

What could possibly keep hundreds of heads inside on such a beautiful spring night? In my opinion it was the most creative of any TDB type lineup and a full set of Brownie’s rock opera, “Chemical Warfare Brigade.” While you may be lucky enough to catch one or two CWB songs here or there with the Biscuits, the entire piece hasn’t been played since 2009 (Biscuits @ Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, RI) which means if you missed Saturday’s show, it may be another four years until it’s played all the way through again.

The ‘Confrontation’jam that ended the first set was definitely the biggest highlight of the night. After which and unpredictably scarf-free Hamilton stuck around on stage for a moment to jive with the fans up front who promptly fondled his beard with oxytocin wonderment. If T-Ham didn’t steal the show, his facial regalia certainly did for those two.

The second set boasted some Biscuits favorites, but not exactly how you would expect to hear them played. The response to ‘Grass is Green’ was especially vibrant, when next to everybody seemed to look to the sky exclaiming “I just can’t believe this is happening!” At one point even a wide-eyed Hamilton mouthed to Brownie, “Wow!”

To round out the night, Electron stuck with their recent encore theme of Pink Floyd sounding off a fantastic cover of ‘Brain Damage/Eclipse’ to which everyone, and I mean everyone sang along.

The physics of Electron’s current lineup is undeniable. There’s always been Brownstein, Magner, and Hamilton. But now sporting the funky fresh breakbeat soul power of Lotus’ Mike Greenfield, Electron has never sounded more unique. One exuberant fan in particular, going by the name Jack, described the experience as… “Straight unexpected fire! My boys threw down. It’s always a pleasure to rage with such good people,” and another fan put it best, “A fresh take on Biscuits songs.”

You can find a pretty decent fan video of the first set’s kickoff ‘Triumph/Home Again’ below as well as the official (yep official from the band) setlist.

Electron — 5/11/2013– Toad’s Place, New Haven, CT

Set 1: Plan B>Chemical Warfare Brigade#, Little Lai>And the Ladies Were The Rest of the Night*>Floodlights>Little Lai, Shelby Rose, Chemical Warfare Brigade>Plan B, Three Wishes, Confrontation

Set 2: Triumph>Home Again&>Triumph>Grass Is Green, Kamaole Sands, Simple Gift of Man%>Floodlights

Encore: Brain Damage/Eclipse

#Dyslexic
* Inverted
& ending only
% unfinished