Originally published in Through the Lens Magazine on March 25, 2016
Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – A motley mixture of people from all walks of life flocked to Indianapolis on a chilly spring night carrying only a vapid desire for some high-energy psychedelic funk. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong would be the ones to satiate their yearning, and The Mousetrap was a fantastic setting for the task as long as it could hold all of the fans. The room filled up quickly with anticipation and people until both were almost spilling over the brim onto the stage, but soon the wait would be over. The band was about to begin, and would play two sets lasting until three o’clock in the morning.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong are originally from Baltimore, MD. They have an undeniable intensity at their live shows along with an infectious electro-funk groove, that have their rabid fan base “The Flock” growing more and more every day. The band is made up of Greg Ormont on vocals & guitar, Jeremy Schon on guitar & vocals, Ben Carrey on bass & vocals, and Alex Petropulos on drums. They have two previously released records, Funk EP released on February 10, 2010 and Psychology released on July 3, 2014. Their new release, Pleasure, is set to drop on April 1, 2016.
It is a common thing for a jam band to have the endurance to play a single song for twenty to thirty minutes, but what isn’t seen as often is the kind of unbridled energy that they brought with it. They played every song with a vengeance all while performing various musical shenanigans, and inspiring the same unhinged behavior from the crowd. The light show matched the guys’ moxie too as the illuminations leapt and danced with candy shoppe colors making the audience hungry for more. Throughout the first set the band fed the crowd favorites and new material like “Sunny Day” and “Live it Up“, the first single off of their upcoming album. The second set was a mixture of old and new melodies just like the first including the beautiful “Melting Lights” and “Henrietta“.
Throughout the show the virile vivaciousness demonstrated by each member of the band was intoxicating. Greg’s curls bounced up with his jumps and cascaded like a waterfall back down his face only to swim upstream again with the next beat. His smile was a force to be reckoned with, and seemed to radiate out to the congregation landing on the lips of every listener in the house. The Mousetrap’s intimate setting allowed the fans to be even more part of the show as well, and a little closer to Greg’s magic. It seemed each person was not just singularly enjoying the music, but dancing with the band all including some high-five action being doled out from the multi-tasking front man as he performed. Any fan that had not already been distractedly wooed by Greg’s fervent animations within the first song of their set surely soon became entranced by Jeremy’s exhilarating talents. He attacked his guitar like a mad-scientist finding that perfect combustible mixture and sending explosive riffs into the crowd. Alex displayed the same brilliant lunacy on his instruments as well. He sang and gyrated with each drum stroke hardly being contained by the kit meant to keep him in one place. Ben’s funkaliscious bass plunking added the perfect rails to the wild roller coaster of a show steering the train in the steady direction to the funky town created by these wonderful men.
The passion displayed by the men in Pigeons Playing Ping Pong is absolutely beyond words, and the end of the show came all too soon for the overly invigorated audience. The Mousetrap was definitely full of a multitude of die-hard fans in the house that night, but even the casual listener that stopped by for the show definitely left as a member of “The Flock”. The demise of The Grateful Dead seemingly showed signs of the end of an era for many, and there was little hope for a band that would come along to fill the great void left in the lives of the hordes of followers. For the first time in decades there is finally a band worthy of such devotion from its fans. Indianapolis was just the fourth stop on a long tour for this phenomenal band, but it seems their flock are in it for the long haul. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong is definitely a do not miss event no matter where they are at because soon the beautiful little intimate setting of The Mousetrap may not be enough to contain them. Soon this band may take over a legacy, and the dancing bears of the past will undoubtedly mingle with the whirling pigeons of the future.
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Photo and video footage shot for Photographic Melodie by Melodie Yvonne Ramey. Shot with Nikon D800E
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