By Matt Wickstrom
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong returned to Lexington for the first time since 2013 on Wednesday night, playing for fans at Cosmic Charlie’s with special guest SassafraZ.
SassafraZ kicked off a night of music that blended funk, soul, and hip-hop into a unique musical concoction.
Featuring a heavy dose of keyboards from Thane Evans and jaw-dropping guitar licks from Zach Pontzer, SassafraZ’s infectious beats radiated throughout the club, reaching a fever pitch as the band winded down their set with a cover of Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s hit “Taking Care of Business.”
The finale saw Evans take the lead on vocals while simultaneously jamming away on the keys.
As the song kicked into its chorus for the final time, the crowd took over, clapping and singing along until the music faded out.
After a short break, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong took the stage.
Led by guitarist Greg Ormont, the band performed several hits from 2014’s “Psychology” and 2010’s “Funk EP”.
Making an appearance early in the nearly two hour set was their hit “Melting Lights,” which featured an intense guitar solo by Jeremy Schon accompanied by the soulful vocals of Ormont.
A psychedelic, transient jam followed before Ormont threw the band into “Lightning.”
Midway through their set, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong paid homage to “The Talking Heads,” one of the bands that inspired their sound, by covering their 1977 hit “Psycho Killer.”
Pigeons later performed “Couldn’t We All,” a free-flowing song with strong hip-hop influences in its lyrics, beautifully mixing with the funk-driven guitar play of Schon.
As the show ended, Ormont thanked the large crowd who stayed at the show from beginning to end, arriving in droves early to see SassafraZ perform as well.
“The show was amazing,” said Tyler Worthington an anthropology senior. “The lead singer had a great stage presence.”
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong returns to Kentucky on Saturday, Nov. 21 for “Madison Live!” in Covington.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 the day of show and can be bought through CincyTicket.