Pigeons Playing Ping Pongpigeons 3

The Acoustic Cafe Bridgport, CT


by Miles Hurley

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Whether it comes as warning or intrigue, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong are extremely high energy–so much that to be a patron of their no-holding-back show will warrent full surrender of your body to infectious dance and your mind to colorful and intricate jam-rock, disco-funk music. I’d say with no doubt that to experience a set is to be shaken up and floored completely every time. I sure was when I caught them again this past Wednesday at tbe Acoustic Cafe in Bridgeport, CT.

Jumping right into the action, they were tight and determined from note one with “Porcupine,” a tune with funky guitar work and some interesting vocals. Next up came the first super segue of the night. Starting with “Burnin’ Up My Time,” the jam got really strong for a bit, and I liked here the snappy interplay between bass and drums. Ebb and flow magic first pulled the groove back into a more serene “Moonwalk” and then revved it up into a heavy and powerful return into “Burnin’ Up,” where the two guiatrists shredded together. The band then cruised to end it into the full-on danceable “Upfunk.”

Check out the review of the Werks from their Ohio show earlier in June.pigeons 4

The Pigeons are a band that moves around and between the different moments of their music incredibly smoothly, such that the result, especially as on this night, is a wonderful ebb and flow of both intensity and color–laid back and hoppy sounding grooves subtly melt into and out of moments of either edgier get-down funk or climb upward into beautiful, shining jams. The other reulst is an ecstatic crowd of individuals swinging and swaying puppet-like to

After an second extended jam there was an unbelieveable example of this. “Sunny Day,” started with a cool combination of a reagge dub beat and psychadelic melody–laid back but still all too tempting to move to. Increasing in speed, it moved, pristinely-smooth, through the “The Hop” and right into arguably their signiture get-down song, “F.U.” This song is always garaunteed listening pleasure, but its live performance as the usual final peak of frenetic, surging energy, buzzing at the edges with a hard rock kick, is slightly epic.

Much of their music is at times bright and feel-good., such as “Fox and Toad,” a brand new song with an island feel, and “Horizon,” which is a great choice as a set ender. This last one was as bouncy as all the other stuff, but had some really pretty, bright melody work at the core. And again, also, there was that total control ebb and flow as the music coursed first through its disco-rock type groove and then steadily into mini peaks of both slight pop and acid rock power, and then finally into a definitely transcendant jam. This blew their set over the top, but they even came for an encore of “Landing,” which was a quick final heavy serving of straight funk-rock.

High energy, high sensation–Pigeons Playing Ping Pong will work you over to you’re ready to drop, but body and mind are both better off for it afterwards.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong- Under Cover- Domefest2015

Q&A with Jeremy Schon:

How do you feel tonight, are you ready for the show?

Oh yeah, absoultely. I’m excited to be back out, and on the road.

Have you played The Acoustic before?

We did. It was two or three years ago, so it’s changed quite a bit since then. They obviously renovated the place pretty heavily, and it really, really looks great now. Totally different room, I’m excited.

So, Psychology was released just last year. How has the transition been between playing these songs live and in the studio for the album?

Well, most of those songs started off as live staples of our show–the last album we recored before that was in 2010, Funk EP–so we had already gotten an idea kind of what those songs sound like live. Although, even since the album they;ve changed a ton. All of our songs continue to evolve over time.pigeons

So how was it bringing them onto the album?

It’s definitely different bringing a song into the studio, because we don’t have fifteen minute songs on our album. It just doesn’t lend itself well to a studio album. So what we is we fine tune the songs for the studio and kind of trim the fat, in a way. Just make them more studio-accessible songs.

So how has the tour been this year?

The tour’s been really good. This year’s been really huge for us, we’ve pretty much covered the entire country–we went up to Colorado and then up North and South. Just this past week has been really good. In the South-East we played Riverbend festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee which was really awesome, and then two great shows in North Carolina.

How about your festival, Domefest? How was that this year?

Oh yeah, it went really well. This was the sixth year we’ve thrown it, and it was the biggest year yet. Everyone had a fantastic time. All the artists that we had there went home smiling, and we could tell everyone was glowing from the experience.

And you had some sit-ins this year?

Yeah. Well, we didn’t have too many sit-ins for Domefest this year. We had the hornets play on a bunch of tracks, and they’re an awesome horn duo.

So is there any new music youre working on? Any future album plans?

Oh yeah. We always have new stuff we’re working on, and we’ve a got a ton of new songs that are in the works. We actually just debuted one of them last week. We just kind of gradually crank ’em out as they’re ready to go. And we’ll be announcing something about a new album shortly.

Awesome. Just a last question, can you tell me a little bit about how the band started out, how you guys came together?

Sure, yeah. It actually started with me and Greg, in college together. We started playing as an acoustic duo, and we had a lot of fun doing that. It was a fun side-gig to being a college student. We eventually, our Sophmore year, decided to add a rhythm section, to add drums and bass to our band, and see what our songs would sound like in a full band setting. And we loved it, it was super cool seeing our songs evolve from these acoustic duo songs into these full band songs. And we’ve, of course, changed our style since then a lot. And our song writing songs have gotten significantly better–I hope. So it evolved from that, something we did at open mic nights, to playing bars with the full band, and then to touring full time and making it our lives.