Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Brooklyn Bowl Philly | 12/15/2023

Article Contributed by Jamie Huenefeld | Published on Friday, December 22, 2023

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong returned to the Brooklyn Bowl Philadephia, PA with the flock on December 15, 2023. This bird band quartet played a pair of heaters in 2022 at this unique venue and raised the stakes. They delivered a raging night of funk-fueled originals, including a special collaboration with the Philadelphia-based soul and funk ensemble, Nik Greeley and the Operators.  Both Nik Greeley and the Operators and DJ Brownie, aka Marc Brownstein, provided support.

Frontman Nik Greeley | Nik Greeley and the Operators

The evening began with an opening set of house music care of Marc Brownstein, who is the bassist for the Disco Biscuits. His set included "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and "Ready or Not" by the Fugees.

DJ Brownie | Brooklyn Bowl Philly

Shortly afterward, frontman Nik Greeley and his band, the Operators, took the stage and launched the room into a dancing frenzy. Greeley has an incredible stage presence and voice. The Operators are a collective of musicians from Philadephia and includes a stellar horn section. Greenley belted out a soulful "Voodoo Chile" by Jimi Hendrix during this rocking set. The Operators ended their time on a high note with an electrified "Frankenstein" by the Edgar Winters Group.

Guitarist Greg Ormont leapt from the drum platform | Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

DJ Brownie returned for another short, but sweet set of jungle beats. This round included "Kiss" by Prince and "Groove is the Heart" by Deee-Lite.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Brooklyn Bowl Philly

The moment fans were waiting for finally arrived, as Pigeons Playing Ping Pong emerged from the green room. The room was packed with excited fans, and that only intensified as they played "Sail On." "Melting Lights," from the 2014 release Psychology, followed and flowed into "Offshoot" from 2017's Pizazz. The newer tune "Bloodshot Rose" hopped into the set list next.

Drummer Alex Petropulos | Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

The band slipped a tasty cover mashup into the set with "Big in the Changes," featuring Biggie Smalls, Tupac, and Linkin Park. This segued masterfully into the funkified "Calm Before the Storm," which was first played in 2022. The jam sandwich ended with a high-energy "Moonwalk."

Bassist Ben Carrey | Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

The set was not over quite yet. "Fortress" emerged as the penultimate first-set tune. As the song wrapped, Jason Mara (saxophone), Matt Salazar (trumpet) and Lom Lom Lom (trombone) from Nik Greeley and the Operators joined the band on stage for a horn-driven "F.U." The band then ended the set for a much-needed break.

A subset of the Operators joined Pigeons during the first set | Brooklyn Bowl Philly

Pigeons returned for another round, and kicked off the festivities with another Psychology tune, "Live Life." "Bad For You" proceeded, with Pizazz's "Ocean Flows" engulfing the souls of the fans, and they danced their hearts out.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Brooklyn Bowl Philly

"Su Casa," from the recent 2022 release Perspectives, transitioned nicely into the holiday-themed "Peanuts Theme Song," which included a mash-up from the popular children's movie, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." The band landed squarely back in "Su Casa" to close out this timely sequence.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Philadelphia, PA

The band welcomed a larger subset of Nik Greeley and the Operators for the next tune, "Hollywood Swinging" by Kool and the Gang. This included Nik Greeley on vocals, Snacktime on horns/vocals, and the Operators horn section. This classic cover was elevated to perfection as the horns filled out the sound with vigor.

Guitarist Jeremy Shon | Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

As the set waned, the band showed no signs of slowing down, moving into "Miyagi." The set closed on a high note with "Burning Up My Time" > "Water." The band stepped off stage, and returned to wild applause by the crowd. They played one final funky tune, "Skipjack," before sending fans off into the night with huge grins.

Nik Greeley and the Operators joined Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Brooklyn Bowl Philly

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong is up next at the House of Blues in Boston, Mass on December 30, 2023, for a sure-to-be epic pair of shows to end the year. Tickets are available for both Dec 30 and Dec 31. Fly on over to their tour page for more details about their winter tour.

Brooklyn Bowl Philly | Philadelphia, PA

Check out more photos from the show!

Set One: Sail On, Melting Lights > Offshoot, Bloodshot Rose, Big In the Changes > Calm Before the Storm > Moonwalk, Fortress, F.U.1
Set Two: Live Life, Bad For You, Ocean Flows, Su Casa,> Peanuts Theme Song > Su Casa, Hollywood Swinging2, Miyagi, Burning Up My Time > Water
Encore: Skipjack
1. w/ Jason Mara on saxophone, Matt Salazar on trumpet, & Lom Lom Lom on trombone (Nik Greely & the Operators)
2. w/ Snacktime on horns and vocals, Nik Greeley on vocals and The Operators horns

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Brooklyn Bowl Philly

Greg Ormont caught some serious air | Brooklyn Bowl Philly

Nik Greeley and the Operators | Brooklyn Bowl Philly

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Brooklyn Bowl Philly