The earlier this month, I experienced a band for the first time. It was a band with a quirky name and an even quirkier onstage personality. They play a pretty intense version of electro-funk, mixed with a psychedelic-esque groove undertone that is unmistakable to their particular genre of music. All four of the band members are incredibly skilled musicians and had quite a way of influencing the way the crowd reacted. The same way that a man can use positive reinforcement to teach a pigeon to peck at a ping pong ball, a good band can discover a way to use those similar techniques and get an audience movin’, groovin’ and dancin’ in the palm of their hands. That is exactly how Pigeons Playing Ping Pong operated on November 5th at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO.
The evening got weird, in the best way possible.
Things got rolling with Denver-born soul, funk and electronica-focused four-piece Magic Beans. Promoting their newest album, Slice of Life (released back in April of 2021), these musical masterminds executed their role as opening act splendidly. They had the already mostly packed Pageant crowd jamming and super stoked to be out and about on a pretty decent Friday night.
Then came time for the main melodious exploration everyone was waiting for: Baltimore’s own Pigeons Playing Ping Pong took flight and wasted no time forging ahead with their own trailblazing brand of rock blended with funk and soul. The faces and expressions and overall performance that lead singer Greg Ormont puts on is, in and of itself, worth the price of admission. It helps that after you get a load of him, you then get epically immersed in the power of his band. Jeremy Schon absolutely crushes it on the guitar. Ben Carrey keeps things flowing with his bass and even joins in on vocals from time to time and, finally, it’s all backed up by Electro-Swag pioneer, Alex Petropulos, embracing the magic that is the drum kit. These touring veterans have been to and seen it all, and it shows in their performance. They know how to put on a show and share their own unparalleled live energy with whoever happens to be in front of them that night. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong lives by the idea of bringing people together through music and, by the way they spread fun, energy and overall good vibes at their shows, I’d say they’re doing a pretty good job of it!
Be sure to catch Pigeons Playing Ping Pong in a city near you soon! And, don’t skimp out on their newest album Presto, available everywhere now.
Photography by Thomas Semonco