A "Day In Time" At Pigeons Playing Ping Pong's Domefest: Party In The Pods
This weekend it was “Time To Ride” with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong for a “Day In Time” at Thornville, OH’s Legend Valley. After a year full of ongoing bad news when it came to nearly everything, including the mass cancellations of live music, it felt refreshing and step foot on my old stomping grounds that hold so many memories of some of my first live music experiences.
Celebrating their 11th annual Domefest, fans flocked from around the country to see the psychedelic funk band play for us after having to skip 2020’s in-person celebration. Usually held at Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, WV, the band’s beloved festival was full of love and long-awaited live renditions of old and new tunes after a skipped year without much music.
Rebranded as Domefest: Party In The Pods, fans were gathered in flocks of “pods” to maintain social distancing. While used for their intended purpose, the pods actually turned out to be very comfortable personal dance spaces for friends, avoiding the overly sweaty or tall fan that may get in your way at a usual concert or festival setting.
Domefest is always an annual celebration and never fails to bring in some special surprises and musical guests. The weekend saw jam-heavy sets from Domefest alumni Broccoli Samurai, Conscious Pilot, and Mungion. Continuing the tradition from its debut in 2019, the festival included a special Domefest All-Stars set to close out Saturday night, including members of Broccoli Samurai, Mungion, Aqueous, and Litz.
Friday night was a whirlwind with three jam-packed live sets. After rotating through classic songs off their Psychology and Pleasure albums, the band upheld the Domefest tradition, debuting a new song “Day In Time,” a sure treat for the Flock.
Following a brief set break that none of us were prepared for after a year without practice, we saw the “Fox And Toad” “Offshoot” with Broccoli Samurai’s Ryan Hodson to leave their nine to five in “Ocean Flow(s).” Gears switched up onstage and a super heavy “Sunny Day” arose from the depths but then we all had to “Take A Picture” thanks to Filter’s 1999 hit that had us “Feelin’ Fine.” Set two wouldn’t be complete without a frenzied send off of celebrating the people we love in “Horizon” which left our hearts full of gratitude and love.
A short break full of catching our breath wasn’t enough before a band that I didn’t quite recognize walked onstage. They kind of sounded just like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong but I don’t know, they were kind of weird looking. Either way they sounded superb, and I found myself in an undercover world. The “Eye Of The Moonwalk” was seen “Around The World” before The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” appeared onstage for a funky mean game of pinball...or was it ping pong? The music venue quickly turned into a “Funky House” but we all got the rundown in the "Changes" and "Big Poppa" finally came out "In The End" for a “Big In The Changes” mashup to finish off “Mission KillPossiBill” strong. A roaring cheer brought the band back out for a surreal encore of “Zydeko” to rage with band, topped off with an awe-inspiring “Sir Real” to send us off with images of flashing lights and psychedelic sounds in our heads.
Setlist: Domefest: Party In The Pods | Legend Valley | Thornville, OH | 05/21/2021
I: In The Bubble, Whoopie, Time To Ride > Penguins > Time To Ride, Bad For You, Day In Time*, King Kong
II: Fox And Toad > Offshoot%, Overtired > Ocean Flows, Sunny Day > Take A Picture^ > Sunny Day, Feelin’ Fine, Horizon
III: Mission KillPossiBill  > Around The World > Kashmir > Eye Of the Moonwalk  > Bailamos^ > All Along The Evil Woman  > Shaft  > Vibrations  > Pinball Wizard > Praise You  > Picture In Picture > Praise You > Funky House  > Big In The Changes  > Mission KillPossiBill
E: Zydeko > Sir Real > Zydeko
“Under Cover” 3rd set
* Original debut
% w/ Ryan Hodson (Broccoli Samurai) on keys
^ First time played
 Mission Impossible / Battle Without Honor or Humanity (Kill Bill) mash-up
 Eye Of The Tiger / Moonwalk mash-up
 All Along The Watchtower / Evil Woman mash-up
 w/ "Chef" lyrics
 Last time played 1/30/2016 (BIG Something)
 Last time played 10/31/2016
 Funky Town / Brick House / Play That Funky Music mash-up
 Changes (feat. Dr. Evil) / Big Poppa / In The End mash-up; last time played 4/12/2018
After taking three flights from Hawaii to Ohio, you best bet that the majority of the day on Saturday was spent sleeping, trying to catch up on the 10 hours I lost through the three time zones I zipped through. While I was somewhat sad that I wasn't camping, I was grateful to have a bed.
Although my body didn’t know if it was 4 p.m. or 10 a.m., Conscious Pilot put a little pep to my step with their Saturday kickoff set. After a funky rundown with Mungion, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong wasted no time getting the Saturday shenanigans going.
A prick of our fingers in “Porcupine” “Totally” wasn’t cool but we all just decided we had to “Live Life” and not worry about it too much. Mungion’s Joe Re and Aqueous’ Mike Gantzer came onstage to add some key & kickflip spice to “Lightning” making us all “Move Like That.” An unfinished space expedition in “Skipjack” led the band to a second original song debut of the weekend titled, “Donkey Hotel.” Honestly and truly, not a huge fan. It sounds like one of Phish’s weird songs. Maybe I should just listen to it more. But it just shows how much the band has put into songwriting over the past year to come out swinging with some new material.
Ahead of the much anticipated Domefest All-Stars set, the remainder of the night saw a grand “Poseidon” jam with the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” spread nice and thick in the middle, NSYNC's “Bye Bye Bye,” The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” and a happy-go-lucky “Couldn’t We All” hip-hop jam that still led us all to yell “F.U.” for a dose of funk.
Although the encore was magical with a hard and heavy “Avalanche” mashup with “Hedwig’s Theme,” nothing could have compared to what was to come with the Domefest All-Stars set. Domefest alumni played off each other throughout the set, playing through Talking Heads, Nirvana, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Phish, and David Bowie staple jams. The highlight of the night was the “party in the pods” improv jam that saw rotating solos from the all-star cast. We even heard Jeremy sing "Sand" after all these years! Hopefully this tradition is upheld for all future Domefests.
All-in-all, Domefest: Party In The Pods was everything the Flock needed to revive our souls. Happy tears were shed, groovy dance moves broke out, and old friends caught up while new friends were made. Although the past year included a lot of heartbreak for people, including myself, it showed that a restorative break was had by many. People were able to take a breath and come back more energized. Pajama pants became a thing of the past to wear onstage. While live performances were on hold, we all realized that music might just be the core of all living life on this planet, keeping the rhythm and beat to all living, conscious creatures sane and stable in this crazy world. Thank you Greg, Jeremy, Ben, Alex, Manny, and the whole PPPP crew. Long live rock…and the Flock!
You can check out a photo gallery of the weekend courtesy of photographer Kendall McCargo. Head to the band's Facebook page tonight to watch a multi-cam video of the first two sets of Domefest: Party In The Pods at 8 p.m. ET.
Setlist: Domefest: Party In The Pods | Legend Valley | Thornville, OH | 05/22/2021
I: Porcupine, Totally, The Liquid > Live Life > The Liquid, Lightning%, Move Like That > Skipjack^ > Donkey Hotel*, Poseidon > Where Is My Mind > Poseidon
II: Fall In Place, Somethin’ For Ya > Pop Off, Couldn’t We All > Bye Bye Bye > Blinding Lights > Couldn’t We All, Dawn A New Day, Dome People > F.U.
E: Avalanche > Hedwig’s Theme > Avalanche
Setlist: Domefest: Party In The Pods | Domefest All-Stars | Legend Valley | Thornville, OH | 05/22/2021
Crosseyed And Painless , All Apologies , Boogie On Reggae Woman , Come Together  > Sand , Improv jam , Fame 
* Original debut
 Mike Gantzer, Justin Reckamp (Mungion - vocals, guitar), Jeremy Schon, Joe Re, Grant Martin (Mungion - bass), Alex Petropulos
 Justin Reckamp, Greg Ormont, Jeremy Schon, Austin Litz, Ben Carrey, Nick Van Leer (Mungion - drums)
 Mike Gantzer, Greg Ormont, Jeremy Schon, Austin Litz, Ben Carrey, Chris Walker (Broccoli Samurai - drums)
 Jeremy Schon, Greg Ormont, Mike Gantzer, Joe Re, Ben Carrey, Chris Walker
 Greg Ormont, Jeremy Schon, Justin Reckamp, Austin Litz, Ryan Hodson (Broccoli Samurai - keys), Grant Martin, Alex Petropulos
 Mike Gantzer, Greg Ormont, Jeremy Schon, Justin Reckamp, Austin Litz, Ryan Hodson, Ben Carrey, Josh Sebo, Alex Petropulo