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      Pigeons Playing Ping Pong in New Haven

      • Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Photo #1
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      November 2, 2019

      Saturday   8:00 PM

      238 College Street
      New Haven, Connecticut 06510

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      Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

      with Goose
      We pour every ounce of ourselves into every note when we perform live, says Pigeons Playing Ping Pong singer/guitarist Greg Ormont. When were recording in the studio, we try to maintain that euphoria while finding a way to pack it into a tight, focused vessel. Each song becomes like a spring-loaded can of worms: theres all this energy boxed up in a neat little package, and then when you come see us live, the cap comes off and the contents fly out in every direction like fireworks.Its a whimsically apt metaphor for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, a band whose very existence is rooted in the unyielding quest for joy and positive energy. Blending infectious funk grooves, psychedelic jams, and experimental electronics, the Baltimore four-pieces new album, Pizazz, is a buoyant, blissful reminder of just how much fun music can be. Eschewing the traditional funk band lineup that typically includes keyboards, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong constructs effervescent soundscapes with just two guitars, bass, and drums, crafting their music with a sophisticated ear for both open space and dense layering.While Pizazz is, in many ways, a familiar continuation of the journey thats earned the band its rapidly expanding and rabidly devoted following (known as The Flock), it also marks the beginning of a new chapter for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. The albums eleven tracks are the groups first recorded with new drummer Alex Petropulos, whose airtight grooves and explosive power push the bands sound to new heights. Weve had some of these songs in our live catalog for a while, says Ormont, but playing them with Alex has breathed new life into everything. His style and energy have revealed nooks and crannies that we didnt even realize existed in the tracks. All music boils down to having a good drummer, especially in our dance-oriented jam world, and weve got the best drummer Ive ever heard right now.Its a bold claim, but Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has the live show to back it up. Glide Magazine called them a band that melts faces and pulls no punches, while C-Ville Weekly praised the growing cult around [their] high-energy music, goofy stage antics, and all around good vibes, and JamBase raved that guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Schon is destined to become one of our generations finest guitarists. Since the groups inception nearly a decade ago at the University of Maryland (where the bands name came to Ormont and Schon during a moment of transcendence in Psych 100), theyve built up a reputation as one of the most engaging and life-affirming acts on the road, maintaining a relentless tour schedule that has them performing up to 200 shows a year and hitting festivals from coast to coast. The band even founded their own gathering, Domefest, which recently celebrated its eighth year and attracted nearly 2,000 members of The Flock for an immersive weekend of love, music, and community. Its really important that our live show puts out as much energy as possible and promotes lightheartedness and positivity, says Schon. All that matters in the moment at a concert is whats going on onstage and in the room around you, and we try to put on a show where people can really lose themselves in those moments and use our music as an outlet to feel good.The band chased those same ideals when they headed into producer Steve Wrights WrightWay Studios in Baltimore to record Pizazz, the follow-up to their 2016 fan-favorite Pleasure. Tracking live on the floor, the foursome channeled all the rapture of their live shows into tight, crisp packages. Songs that may unfold onstage over the course of 20 minutes were reimagined for the studio, where theyd need to reach the same frenzied, emotional heights, in less than half that time.I think this album really shows attention to detail when it comes to choosing our moments and the way weve been able to make parts more concise without losing their natural feel, says Ormont. Having a strong drummer is a big part of that. Alex is able to convey so much feeling and bring us to those peaks and valleys really quickly and efficiently when we need him to.Pizazz opens up with the bouncing, carefree Fun In Funk, which finds the band proclaiming, We put the fun in funk over wah-wah guitars and an infectious rhythm section driven both by Petropuloss drums and Ben Carreys fat, slinky bass lines. Funk is very fun, upbeat, happy music to begin with, says Ormont. Its our mission to put that fun into everything we do." Its a mission that Pigeons Playing Ping Pong was born for. The visceral sense of joy in their music acts as a sort of glue here, binding the bands wildly versatile sounds into a cohesive and distinctive whole on the album. On Somethin For Ya, they channel 70s disco and pair it with a wicked prog-rock solo, while tracks like Offshoot and Too Long embrace the groups darker, more bass-and-electronics-influenced dance side. Poseidon and frequent show-closer Ocean Flows, on the other hand, showcase Pigeons bright, sparkling, melodic soul, as Pizazz rises and falls with the same inimitable mix of precision and frenzy that defines the bands one-of-a-kind live show.Each Pigeon is a virtuosic musician and improviser in his own right, and the bands songs are frequently born out of impromptu grooves and riffs. The swirling, trippy Porcupine, which clocks in at nearly eight minutes in all its jamming glory, taps into the uninhibited, open-ended nature of the bands rehearsal sessions, while the driving Henrietta grew out of one of Schons soundcheck guitar loops. The island vibes of Fox and Toad are pure stream of consciousness written in the car after band practice, and Doc is a gritty, horn-fueled sing-along inspired by a Baltimore legend.Theres a homeless man named Doc who would always spend his time outside of the 8x10 club in Federal Hill, where we learned to push our limits as a band, says Ormont. Doc always supported us. Even though he was sleeping under a bridge, hed always ask you how you were doing. We really wanted to commemorate his toughness and positivity. Its difficult to think of a more fitting match for a band like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, who radiate positivity wherever they go. Whether its Doc or The Flock, the band wants to elevate each and every member of their audience to the kind of blissful place that only the most ecstatic live music can take you. Its a place filled with beauty and light, joy and power, love and community, all delivered with a heaping dose of pizazz.

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