Review & Photos | Consider The Source And Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Brooklyn

Words By: Chadbyrne Dickens
Images By: Karla Espino

Consider the Source & Pigeons Playing Ping Pong :: 1.30.14 :: Brooklyn Bowl :: Brooklyn, NY

Read Chad’s full review after the gallery…

January 30th was an ideal celebration for the future of jam music. With members of The Grateful Dead, Phish and Allman Brothers within or reaching Social Security, one must dig deep into the ranks for the next wave of passionate performances within the genre. One must look no farther than the quickly-ascending bands Consider the Source and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, who both delivered outstanding sets at Brooklyn Bowl on this memorable night, to feel at ease that the genre is in solid hands.

The old adage claims “birds of a feather flock together” and the band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has garnered an extensive fan base, or “flock,” in recent years through relentless touring across the nation. With origins dating back to 2006 when Jeremy Schon and Greg Ormont met in a dorm room at the University of Maryland, this Baltimore-based flock is a unique one, consisting of talented musicians, each possessing their own voice and style. Voice Pigeon, Ormont, who writes the majority of the vocals, wore a Pigeons t-shirt and his patented pajama pants which makes a fan feel comfortable as if at a private concert in their own living room. Guitar Pigeon and Phish fan, Schon, is a shredding virtuoso with stellar chops well beyond his years and is destined to become one of our generation’s finest guitarists. Bass Pigeon, Ben Carrey, is an eccentric soul adorning wild psychedelic outfits and an alluring, bombastic and frenzied style. Drum Pigeon, Dan Schwartz, provides nuanced and timely hitting behind the kit.

The band is adept at bringing organization through chaos via tight live shows and soon fans will be treated to a brand new album. With this information leaked to us here for the first time, the new album, Psychology, has been completed in the studio and is tagged for an anticipated late Spring ’14 release. It marks the group’s first album release since the 2010 Funk EP and will surely have the flock salivating in anticipation. Pigeons’s performance on this night was a balanced mixture of some new material amidst some of their tried and true ditties. The important moment was not lost on the perma-grinned Ormont who exclaimed, “We are at one of the best venues on the east coast, obviously!” before the band delved into a bevy of tight grooves that were even more spacey and exploratory than your average Pigeons show. They teased the audience through a deliberate, slow-burn build up and didn’t share any vocals for the first portion of the gig. One particular selection was clearly inspired by “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and the entire performance reeked of a trippy and trancy choose-your-own-adventure novel where there is something fresh and exciting at every turn. An avid music aficionado would note the nod to 1.0 Phish throughout the Pigeons style and approach to jamming.

Some highlights from the set included the reggae-tinged rhythms during the jammy opening number, where Carrey held down the beat with his bass thrusts as well as the rarely played “Condenser.” The guitar riff and piercing sustain during “Ghostbusters” supported an upbeat and fun sing along. Schon may be somewhat slight in physical stature, but on stage he takes on a monumental transformation like Charlize Theron turning into a powerhouse persona in Monster, he turns into a beast when an axe is in his hands. Ormont turned aside, “We’re doing an audible and playing something you haven’t heard” before unleashing a catchy and infectious new number, “Walk Outside.”

To close the set, the band parlayed all their innate energy to share their most popular and well-known songs. “FU-NK” is a tightly wound love fest proving yet again to be an impetus for a complete funk danceathon through its intense noodling and tractor beam like groove. With Ormont marching in place, as he always does during the lively tune, it evolved into an extended free-form spacey jam that inspired hordes of hula-hoopers to move up closer to the action. Ormont’s classy ode to a former relationship, “Julia,” was the ideal poppy and fun-loving closer to the exemplary action. Ormont’s intense changes to his countenance used to remind me of a rabid Sideshow Bob, but he is more of a Mad Scientist who invites one to try his enticing and euphoric Kool Aid. His natural and exciting showmanship through intense manifestations of facial expression are reminiscent of Yonder’s Jeff Austin. The actual Julia, to which the song is based, was present at the performance. The sleek show left those in ear shot satiated, excited and more than a little warmed up for the Consider The Source set to follow. The impressive quartet has an exciting path ahead with limitless possibilities (they opened up for the Disco Biscuits during their NYE run in NYC) and they continue to fervently tour -so look for them at a venue near you soon!

Pigeons Set List: Whoopie, Burning Up My Time > Time To Ride, Walk Outside, Offshoot, Melting Lights, Drunk People, Ghostbusters > Condenser > The Hop > F.U., Julia

There is nothing like a Consider the Source concert thanks to the unique and distinct depth of musings they bring to each and every performance. The New York-based trio of Gabriel Marin (guitar), John Ferrara (bass) and Jeff Mann (drums) has been converting fans to their nouveau brand of musicianship at a rapid pace -specifically over the past year where apparently word of mouth has reached a fever pitch. They have been invited to play many major festivals and recently opened for The Disco Biscuits this past December. CTS is a band one must witness in person to capture the majesty and magic inherent in a style they call their own.

CTS consists of professional perfectionists and it shines through during performances with nary a missed note. Marin is renowned for relentlessly practicing at any available moment -even sleeping with his double-necked, half-fretless weapon. One wouldn’t be surprised if he plucked away when sitting in the bathroom. The sound has been labeled as “Middle Eastern Fusion,” which is no gimmick. With extensive international travel, the members are heavily influenced by the music of Turkey, India, The Balkans and The Middle East, while infusing a healthy mix of modern jazz and prog/rock fusion into their sound. At times they utilize obscure instruments like the banjo bass and the dutar. They have been compared to bands like Tool and Primus, but it is tough to pigeon-hole this band.

With a minor revolution today of instrumental bands like Tauk and Mun, Consider the Source leads the way by managing to fill concert halls with no vocals. They have said they will most likely never add vocals. With such a layered, intricate and complex sound, there is no room for lyrics and they are not needed to be effective and full of sound -that is the beauty of the mark they make. They are a touring machine and just last week announced another extensive 30-city tour starting in Texas and infesting most of the eastern seaboard before concluding in Tennessee. Their fan-funded campaign on Indiegogo is taking off as they prepare to record a double album on February 17 at Bunker Studios in Brooklyn. Marin is positively excited about the prospect, “the new record will be by far our best. The compositions go really deep, we are super proud of how we are mixing the compositional aspect (of our music) with the improv more.” This is an ideal time to catch onto a talented band before they jet off to stardom.

As usual, the trio mesmerized a nearly sold-out Brooklyn Bowl venue eager to soak up their brand of brilliance. Although CTS’s all-white dress may remind one of the droogs in A Clockwork Orange, the guys are buoyed by a more benevolent purpose. With a bandana-style headdress, Marin looks like a Svengali as he intensely tore up his guitar in an ear and eye-defying manner. The sound is so intense it is as if they are an intergalactic squadron assailing the Death Star through music. The band’s sound consists of many multi-layered and varied elements. The jams have structure, but often blend and blur in directions and from obscure angles that are unexpected and offer a completely new experience.

Tall in stature with long flowing hair often falling in his face, Master Marin leads the intensity through numbing and screeching high-pitched solos and frenetic, fancy finger work that provides another aspect of antics to marvel at. Ferrara, his partner downstage, is a perfect player to join him in the fray. A fan of Jonas Hellborg, Ferrara consistently demonstrates versatility by knowing when to fill during the jam, when to solo and when to slap it so well that Mike Gordon would be proud. Mann has been a quick-study and has played admirably on the skins since founding member, Justin Ahiyon, left the stage to pursue other musical interests. His brother, Jordan, remains with the group as band manager.

Although the top-billed act, CTS were gracious enough to provide late addition Pigeons with a split of the concert time which gave each act a robust 90 minutes each. The group delivered a non-stop tour de force to the senses which was so engaging that the bathroom lines remained near empty throughout. With a myriad of varied tunes from their catalog including a bevy of selection from last year’s album release, F**k It! We’ll Do It Live -Volume 2, the band was on point and clearly a cohesive and tight unit that knew each other’s tendencies. “Keep Your Pimp Hand Strong” is well-known by those on the festival circuit and included the fan favorite “Star Wars” riff and a tease of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” during Marin’s solo section. Ferrara also showed versatility by teasing the heart-wrenching “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails before seguing into “Closer.” Just before the show’s conclusion, Ferrara was afforded an opportunity to have the floor and share his wares for a mind-blowing extended bass solo. He yearns for this opportunity, “I have no boundaries. I can start out aggressive or be quiet, do more composed stuff or just get weird.”

We are not the only ones learning from Marin and his guitar handy work. Talented bassist Ferrara, who composes the songs with Marin, said he continues to learn a lot from the guitar maestro, “We are very compatible, but I have learned a stronger sense of harmonic and melodic playing with Gabe.” With the clinic the band put forth on this night, we are all continually learning something fresh and innovative each time out. With bands like Consider the Source and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, the future is brighter than ever for the jam scene.

Set: Abdiel, Closer To Home, I’ll Fight For The Imp, Tihai For The Straight Guy, The Great Circuiting, So Say We All (new album song), Wandering Bear, Keep Your Pimp Hand Strong, (Bass solo), You Go Squish Now

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