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  • Writer's pictureMikala Lugen

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Sell Out DisNYE Show Run

After roasting their tail feathers for the holidays in Baltimore, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong took the chilly adventure up to Cleveland for their sold-out, two-night run at the Beachland Ballroom on Friday, December 29 and Saturday, December 30.

Jones for Revival

Good friends of the Pigeons boys, Youngstown band Jones for Revival got things off to a hip start on Friday night starting off with their bluesy-rock “West Side Willie,” before DeCapua started into the foot-tappin’ “Birthday Suit” and setting off on an easy-breezy vibe for the night. Continuing the energy with their beachy-jam, “Bottle of Booze,” the guys closed off their set with jam-heavy “Pocket Full of Change,” leaving us with some soulful key synths and funky strums from DeCapua.

A quarter-past 10 p.m., Greg, Alex, Ben and Jeremy strode onstage ready to rock our little frozen feet. After sharing their experience with some water bottles exploding in their van on their way up here, the guys fluffed our chilly feathers starting into the playful “Penguins > Funkijam,” already knocking the ball out of the park with Jeremy’s hearty guitar solo and Ben’s deep-rooted bass that was extra edgy thanks to a new amp. We were in for a real treat.

The guys slid into their reggae-jam “Live Life,” putting the crowd into a steady dancing sway as Ormont’s voice took us away to a warmer place before busting into the edgy extended jam “Bad for You.”

The first set was closed with an epic sequence of the classic “On The Rise,” a track from their 2010 EP, Funk. They brought their holiday spirit up to the stage and slid into “Peanuts” before going back into “On The Rise” and closing off with a fiery psychedelic series of “Spacejam > The Hop > F.U.”

Crowd shot

Ormont lead the crowd into a harmonious “Happy Birthday” to sound technician Erich Miller to start off the second set and jumped right into the melodic “Havana.” They eased into the crowd-pleasing “Somethin’ For Ya” giving us a dose of Motown-funk as the easy-going “Cliffs” appeared as the crowd followed suit and sparked up their winter greenery.

Ormont showed off his sweet and salty voice with a cover of Michael Jackson’s, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” before ending the night hard and heavy with “Avalanche,” taking the crowd on a crazy ride of deep guitar riffs and heavy head rolling.

Setlist: 12/29/17 @ Beachland Ballroom (Cleveland, OH)

Penguins > Funkijam > Funk E Zekiel > Cantina Song > Funk E Zekiel Live Life > The Liquid Bad For You On The Rise > Peanuts > On The Rise Spacejam > The Hop > F.U.

Happy Birthday Erich! > Havana > Somethin’ For Ya > Cliffs* > Lightning^ Whoopie Live It Up Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough > Avalanche

Encore: Ocean Flows

Notes: * first half of song ^ second half of song


After we satisfied our sweet tooth with a trip to Mason’s Creamery and got some scoops of Flocky Road, the second night’s adventure was ignited by progressive-funk band Earphorik, who really jolted our adrenaline during their 40-minute opening set. These Indiana guys rocked our souls with some of their originals off their first two albums while also adding some funky renditions of Justin Timberlake and Vulfpeck covers.

“Porcupine” was the spark of the first set before Ormont started into the lyrical “Fade Fast.” The crowd was stocked with ping-pong balls, and Ormont made us laugh when he caught the first of many thrown balls on stage during an incredible “Julia” sandwich with Disney-tease “Under The Sea” spread nice and smooth in the middle.

After a wild takeoff of “Pop Off,” the guys kept up the space theme with Star Wars’ “Imperial March” smashed together in-between their fries added to the side “Drunk People.” The first set closed with the sing-a-long Pizazz track “Doc” as the Energizer Bunny, green alien, orange dinosaur, green kitty and purple horse action figures that accompanied the stage between Ormont and Carrey took a set break.

Jumping back on stage just three-minutes before the last Saturday night of 2017 turned to Sunday, the four started into their older tune “Landing,” jamming it into an extended “Burning Up My Time.”

Greg Ormont on stage

Right after a playful “Sail On,” the crowd was given a triple-layer “Upfunk” cake, with added flavor thanks to Zelda’s “Hyrule Castle” and a powerful drum showcase brought out by Petropulos. A transition to “Su Casa” inside a pleasurable “Condenser” mashup allowed the crowd to catch their breath and time seemed to be wrapped around the band’s fingers.

An added dash of funk topped off the night with “Fun In Funk” as the the warm and fuzzy “Kiwi” prevailed as the encore to close out the last night in Cleveland and the guys bowed to the Land.

Setlist: 12/30/17 @ Beachland Ballroom (Cleveland, OH)

Porcupine Fade Fast Whirled Julia > Under The Sea > Julia Pop Off Henrietta > Drunk People > Imperial March > Drunk People Doc

Landing > Jam > Burning Up My Time > Offshoot Sail On Upfunk > Hyrule Castle > Upfunk > Drums > Upfunk Condenser > Su Casa > Condenser Fun In Funk

Encore: Kiwi

The last day of 2017 saw some sick beats from electronic producer Flamingosis as Covington, KY read a temperature of a solid 18 degrees. Ready to end 2017 best dressed, the last day of the year was nothing short of magical as Greg, Ben, Jeremy and Alex strode onstage in matching Mickey Mouse outfits, looking sharp as cheddar cheese in red suspenders and black mouse ears.

The DISNYE theme was prevalent from the start and the entirety of the show referenced the band’s love for the 1994 classic, The Lion King. An enlightening opening of “Circle of Life” clicked play for the night and soon after a “20th Century Fox” intro slipped into the popular “Melting Lights” jam. The guys continued their love for the wild with a “Walk Outside” mashup with the doo-wop jungle jam “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Pigeons on NYE

The recent 2016 film Moana saw its live debut onstage with a rendition of “Shiny,” a song originally influenced by David Bowie that Ormont’s vocals covered impeccably strong. The happy-go-lucky “Hakuna Matata” appeared towards the end of the first set well joined together with one of the band’s craziest songs “Time to Ride.”

The band dressed in Mickey Mouse attire

The mighty second set jump-started with “Too Long” from the band’s most recent album Pizazz as the clock was just minutes away from striking midnight. They slipped into the deep-end with “Poseidon” as Ormont counted down from ten, and as time leaped to 2018, the guys started into “Magic Carpet Ride” to transcend the light-hearted feeling on the crowd.

The original 1967 Jungle Book’s “I Wanna Be Like You” and the “Bare Necessities” were positioned together to create a jazzy double-decker with a toasted “Horizon” to mark it complete. One of the band’s newest songs, “Dawn A New Day” gained its first appearance for 2018 before the heavy “Schwanthem” stood as the holder of Pochahontos’“Colors of the Wind.” The outrageous “The Liquid” was deemed the New Year’s Eve closer that tied the whole band together as one and characterized their best show energy onstage.

Covington’s encore was brought out by “Couldn’t We All” tied with the “Mickey Mouse Club” theme song, matching their outfits. A final night’s closer was topped off with a sentimental performance of Beauty and the Beast’s “Tale As Old As Time” fit in the middle of a generous double scoop of the band’s “Zydeko.”

You can listen and download the whole DISNYE 2017 live set on Bandcamp!

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong have seen their fan-base grow and had one, if not the best year musically together as a band. Taking this next month to catch their breath after sailing on ocean waters at Jam Cruise, the guys will embark on their winter tour starting with a three-night run in Morgantown, West Virginia on Feb. 1. The new year of 2018 shows an even sharper peak for these guys to continue knocking our little bobbling pigeon heads and soaring their fan-base across the country.

Setlist: 12/31/2017 @ Madison Theatre (Covington, KY)

Circle of Life Intro* > 21st Century Fox > Melting Lights Walk Outside > The Lion Sleeps Tonight > Walk Outside King Kong > Shiny* > King Kong Sunny Day Hakuna Matata* > Time To Ride Somethin’ For Ya > I Just Can’t Wait To Be King*

Too Long Poseidon% > Auld Lang Syne^ > A Whole New World*^ > Magic Carpet Ride # > Poseidon Horizon > I Wanna Be Like You* > Bare Necessities* > I Wanna Be Like You > Horizon > When You Wish Upon A Star*^ Dawn A New Day Skipjack > Can You Feel The Love Tonight* Schwanthem > Colors of The Wind* > Schwanthem > The Liquid

Encore: Couldn’t We All > M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E* Zydeko > Tale As Old As Time*^ > Zydeko

Notes: * First time played ^ Instrumental % w/ NYE countdown # w/ “Arabian Nights” and “How Far I’ll Go” teases

*Photos by Keith A Griner (Phierce Photo) and Carly Bronikowski

PPPP's show schedule

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