BY CHASE KLEBER// Pigeons Playing Ping Pong are a funk jam band from Baltimore, Maryland started in 2009. While initially started as a dorm-room jam project at the University of Maryland, they gigged relentlessly in the DMV, releasing their first album “Funk E P” in 2010. By the time they released their second album “Psychology” in 2014, the band members had quit their jobs and taken up touring full time.
Over the last few years, due to relentless touring, online buzz, and notable performances at jam festivals such as Peach Fest, they have become one of the scenes hottest touring acts. Their music, which combines dance rhythms, song mash-ups, odd lyrics, blistering guitar solos, funk basslines, and diverse setlists means every show is uniquely weird. They play their first arena show at the U.S. Cellular center in Asheville, NC on 12/31. This is a monumental feat for a jam band, as they join the likes of the Grateful Dead and Phish to be some of the only jam bands to break into arena touring. Their new album is expected to be released in 2020.
I first heard Pigeons about 3 years ago, right around the time I started listening to improvised “jam” music. As a huge Dead Head, I was at first apprehensive. The songs were fast, more electronic, and the lyrics were bizarre, much more so than the laid back and more country and folk inspired music of the Grateful Dead. However, I quickly began to realize why they were creating so much buzz within the jam scene. I began to become enthralled by the precision of the jams they created. The creative way the band worked together as a unit, building off of and weaving through each others melodies and rhythms to create incredibly danceable but at the same time diverse music was very exciting. Now that they are here at The Anthem, I can experience them in their element at one of DC’s best venues. Time to dance.