F.U....N.K. But seriously, funk. It was the theme of late night at The Fox Theatre, Monday, March 17th. Coming all the way from Baltimore, Maryland, we had the honor of spending a night with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong on their twenty-five day tour, one of the funkiest, psychedelic, up and coming jam bands coming through this town.
When the four musicians arrived in front of the crowd on St Patrick's Day, a strong presence filled the room. No doubt their contagious smiles had something to do with the ripple of excited energy through the crowd, but their costumes definitely helped. Frontman, Greg Ormont appeared wearing a Buzz Lightyear onesy and giant goggles—somehow, even while the room grew hotter, he continued to rock the suit. Guitarist, Jeremy Schon wore big bright pants and something that resembled a bright green hawaiian shirt. Bassist, Ben Carrey sported a funky vest and a ridiculously awesome hat. Then, drummer, Dan Schwartz kept the rhythm going with an all silver metallic outfit—with of course some sexy shades. Just looking at the stage you knew it was time to get your party on.
The moment they touched their instruments, they jumped into Time to Ride, a jammy, marching groove that showed off just the tip of their talents. From there, they moved into a supremely funky base line that got the crowd throwing themselves around, giggling giddily and bursting at the seams with happiness. Throughout rest of the night the band kept a solid funk tempo, occasionally slipping in and out of super psychedelic jams, keeping an instrumental tightness between one another, yet leaving enough space to allow for anything to happen in their music.
Of the many things I love about this band, their song choices may be my favorite. First, what's most impressive is the amount of original material they have in their catalogue. If these guys chose to never play a cover, they would have no issue filling a couple hours with their own music. On top of that, their originals are fun and catchy. Over the night I heard songs I was excited for, like F.U., Julia and Melting Lights, but now I have another five songs I'm stoked for when they come around next time. Hell yeah, PPPP, I definitely can't say that about every up and coming band that comes through.
Second, when it came to the covers, they didn't go the typical route. Nope, the boys took the Big Bad Wolf trail, and they came out winners on the other side. Remember that tune from Eiffel 65? “I'm blue, da ba dee, da ba dai,” or some may say: “if I was green I would die.” Yeah, they did that, but they made it St. Patrick's day friendly. “I'm green, if I was blue I would die, if I was blue I would die.” This definitely got the crowd smiling and shaking their booties. Then, from nowhere, the Pigeons threw Hava Nagila into their mix. There were definitely a few people in the Fox working on their Jewish folk dancing for a moment.
Needless to say, this night rocked. The boys in PPPP were on point, the morale in the venue was as high as it could be, and we even got to see Wilson Harwood (Rocktin Grove) jump in on the encore. I see good things happening to this band. Look for them in the upcoming months in festival line ups, venues across the country, and definitely check them out at their upcoming festival, Domefest, May 30-31st in Terra Alta, West Virginia. You'll get two sets of Pigeons and lots of other bands such as: The Mantras, Twiddle, Turkuaz (performing Stop Making Sense AND an original set), the Yellow Dubmarine and a whole lot more.
Also, for information on Domefest check out: www.domefestival.com