March 3

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, TAUK and BIG Something Create The Ultimate Triple-Billing

first_imgPigeons Playing Ping Pong, TAUK and BIG Something joined forces for a fantastic night of music at the Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore, MD. Walking in to the venue, the first thing I saw was a huge cutout pigeon, swinging gently above the disco ball – the first good omen, portending a night of boogie bliss.North Carolina’s BIG Something are a powerhouse. The band opens up musical space with sweeping choruses and massive hooks, giving each other the perfect amount of time for hot solos. “UFOs Are Real” is a barnburner, built on an irresistible beat and huge melodies and filled out by guitarist Jesse Hensley, who is a true virtuoso. They also gave plenty of room to Casey Crawford, woodwind guru, alternating between saxophone and EWI multiple times within even a single song and delivering rapid-fire licks without fail.After including crowd favorite “Pinky’s Ride” along with cuts off their new album Megalodon, they ended their formidable set with a cover of Lettuce’s “Blast Off,” getting such strong approval from the crowd that it matched the volume of their final ringing riffs.Next up was TAUK. They’ve come as close to mastering their material as anyone can come to master any piece of written music. They aren’t just playing for us – they’re having fun, toying with time signatures and interweaving harmonies on top of already-intricate riffs, grinning widely the entire time.The four members also proved themselves well in tune with one another, communicating wordlessly, giving each other space and time to step up and take control in a seamless montage of groupthink musicianship. It was impossible not to watch drummer Isaac Teel absolutely destroy the entire venue with his ferocious and seemingly effortless playing. In short, TAUK is unstoppable. If you haven’t see them, dear God, go.Pigeons finally took the stage to crazy applause, eliciting huge smiles well before they played a single note. Faced with the task of reigniting the energy of a crowd that had just danced through three hours of funk, they went the only way they could – up – and they delivered hard. They brought a two-hour set of unrelenting funk, built as much on fan favorites like “Melting Lights” and “Funk E Zekiel” as on irresistible covers like “Psycho Killer.”The beautiful thing about Pigeons is that they draw their energy from the crowd. They were clearly happy to be home, playing to friendly faces old and new. After bringing on brass extraordinaires Danny Davis and Mario D’Ambrosio (of Yellow Dubmarine), they sliced and diced through an epic building jam until they broke through with “F.U.,” garnering a huge reaction and group singing from the audience. Not ones to miss an opportunity to nod to their roots, Pigeons also brought on guest guitarist Cris Jacobs, a longtime Maryland friend and jam partner, for the epic slow-burner “Poseidon.” We also got the addition of TAUK keyboardist A.C. Carter on “Bad For You,” adding another layer of depth to an already-impeccably groovy song.People kept grooving hard all the way til 1:30am, when Pigeons came back out after the crowd demanded an encore. Cutting right into the less played and particularly danceable “E-G Chord,” they were gearing up for the last song to go the hardest when they realized they had to cut off their set because they had run out of time. They graciously winked and thanked the crowd, roaring their approval at a band that had filled their night with nearly six hours of music.“We’ll be back soon!” they promised, and after a show like that, there was no way not to believe them, and no way not to be excited.last_img read more