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Pigeons Playing Ping Pong & Dogs In A Pile Deliver Face Melting Psychedelic Funk Barrage to Humboldt [Review, Interview+Photos]

Dogs Talk Pigeons in a Pile Tour

Photo by Aaron Stein

A plethora of stolen faces and melted brains exited the Jon Van Duzer Theater Sunday, November 12th, as Dogs In A Pile and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong delivered a mind bending performance. Dogs In a Pile paired up with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong for a tour de force of funktastic proportions, earning this collaboration the nickname: Pigeon’s in a Pile.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong are bonafide psychedelic funk rockers and delivered an onslaught of righteous cover tunes, teasers, and jam centric originals. Dogs In A Pile served up a healthy dose of their signature brand of psychedelic infused rock. They feature a unique style blending funk, jazz, and rock n roll with a twist of influence from our psychedelic forefathers.  

Photo by Aaron Stein

A righteous culmination of musical talent and a collaboration years in the making, this combination drew some serious attention with many jam aficionados exclaiming from the abysmal sub forums of the inter web to the social media soapboxes. Word on the street is Pigeons is at the height of their careers and leaving concert goers raving with satisfaction after each and every show, fawning over diverse setlists and seamless transitions that weave flawless renditions of popular covers into poignantly selected originals.

Dogs In A Pile is likewise beginning to attract some serious attention., the popular concert livestream service, took notice, live streaming six of the performances exclusively.  

Photo by Aaron Stein

I sat down with Dogs In A Pile to get to the bottom of how this epic tour came to fruition. I recounted that I had read guitarist “Scrambled” Greg Ormont (PPPP) may or may not be Jimmy Law’s (Dogs) long lost brother and continued on inquiring if they had run into one another at a bar and chosen to team up considering their similar appearances.

Keyboardist Jeremy Kaplan took point and jokingly corrected my imaginings. “It was actually twenty-three and me…Jim submitted his DNA, and they told him he was related to Scrambled Greg. Yeah, this tour with them has been a lot of fun, for sure. And they’re super cool guys. You know, we’ve been sitting in with them, and just hanging out.”

Jimmy laughed and chimed in, “The past couple years, we’ve been, you know, playing in the festival circuit a lot more at different areas, you know? And the same festivals, and they’ve been on a lot of similar festivals that we have. We played Dome Festival one year,” he paused briefly. “Two years ago, but yeah, we’ve establishing a connection with them. It was actually cool, because we just played the Brooklyn Bowl in Philly. We had just headlined it for the first time and the last time we were there, we actually opened for Pigeons, and it was the year before that, that was like, kind of around the time that we met them and we started building a relationship.” Jimmy took time to point out both bands’ involvement with the 11E1even group, stating, “Also, we share the same management team, so it’s cool. It’s pretty tight-knit”. 

I was eager to peer into the minds of these rising troubadours. The conversation segwayed into a number of different interesting topics. Firstly we talked about their common love of the Grateful Dead, Jimmy commenting they had just listened to a show that day. We moved into discussing their last performance at the picturesque Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon. They informed me of its rich history, describing the historical murals and informing me of a most notable event that occurred there. I was thrilled to hear that Harry Houdini had first performed his disappearing elephant trick at that location. Absolutely remarkable.

photo by Aaron Stein

Drummer Joe Babik explained the Ballroom’s connections to the Merry Pranksters, how the historical murals there depicted some iconic counterculture scenes and this lured me into my next inquiry. Knowing what inspired these murals on the Ballroom’s walls led me to ponder what their own inspirations were. We began exploring a number of motivations for their music.

Jeremy reports that as they have traveled and had different life experiences, they’ve “collected” these characters. Jimmy elaborated “Well, there’s characters like Tillie that are a staple to our town. The Wonder Bar is a place in Asbury Park which we’re based out of and there’s a picture of a cartoon face and his name is Tillie. That’s what we wrote this song Tilly about. I think Brian could elaborate more.” 

Before guitarist Brian Murray elaborated bassist Sam Lucid put his stamp of approval on the exchange. “That’s a pretty good example. This character in the town itself is just known for chaos, really, and I feel like that’s probably the best example you can give of something like that that manifested in the song. The song itself, yeah, it really does kind of capture that vibe, I feel like just chaotic and funky.” 

Photo by Aaron Stein

To my delight Brian took his chance to elaborate and drop a solid history bomb. “It’s that amusement park/carnival vibe. Tillie is based on a real person named George C. Tilyou who founded the Steeplechase Chase Park in New York, one of the earlier American amusement parks.” They all went on to explain numerous other song inspirations and how they all drew from their experiences with characters and events from their locale in the northeast. 

Sam added a keen observation, stating, “There’s a couple songs where all the characters are referenced in another song, and some songs are like sequels in a way to other songs.” This is the stuff I love hearing about, I thought to myself as I blabbered in excitement over the information revealed.

 Brian Mentioned another character/song: Thomas Duncan. Jimmy’s expressions lit up and he piggybacked on this explaining how this character served as a good example of their writing process. “The funny stories that are made are kind of spurred off of straight laughter. You know, like, the character becomes like a thing and then you start laughing about it and then you start thinking of things that go with it and that’s how the song kind of just unfolds, but sometimes people are around and sometimes not” 

Photo by Aaron Stein

We then moved into discussing some stats and things to look forward to for the remainder of the year and as well as their plans going into the following season. Dogs in a Pile has done over 130 shows this year and with the culmination of this tour have completed their first big west coast run. Jeremy informed me of their upcoming events. ”Yeah, the rest of the year is going to close out pretty strong. We’re going to button up this run with Pigeons. Then we got some loose weekends kind of stuff. We’ll do like two, three day runs, you know, wherever…mainly East Coast, and we have some Andy Frasco and the U.N. support days.”

“Then two big gigs, well, technically four. Two night runs, one in Asbury Park, December 15 and 16, where we headline at the Stone Pony. Then New Year’s Eve and the night before, we’re doing a Putnam Place in Saratoga Springs, upstate New York. We’re super stoked for those. It’s going to be a lot of fun for us. And then into next year, we get some time off in January, which is even more exciting than those two gigs, then we’re gonna get back to it in February.” Before wrapping things up there was some hint at new music in the near future but nothing official to be reported only that they’ll be working on some recordings at some point next year. 

Dogs Fired off around an hour set complete with funky grooves and rip roaring guitar solos alongside incredible prowess from all sides of the stage, their performance at the event was nothing short of flawless. The boys ran through a diverse grouping of tunes, unleashed the  Charlie Brown theme song, and fired off a spicy Johnny B. Goode. They played two songs off of their latest release Bloom, One off Not Your Average Beagle, and a set of new songs, Frosty, and Lattice. The full set list is as follows:


Look Johnny

Lattice > Linus and Lucy

Bent Strange (Ghost Rider)

Johnny B. Goode 

Dogs in a Pile as of 11/19 will be finishing up their run with Pigeons. The remainder of the tour was filled with a hefty amount of collaborating between the two projects on stage. Follow the link to check out a righteous full band collaboration w/ Pigeons on the Grateful Dead’s Eyes of the World from their 11/18 show in San Diego. Or another awesome video of both bands playing Cross-Eyed and Painless on 11/19 in Tempe, Arizona. 

Take one look at any Pigeon’s Setlist and you should quickly understand what all the Hullabaloo is about. Pigeons Playing Ping Ping dropped some diverse covers spanning a seriously wide breadth. Foo Fighters, The Who, Michael Jackson, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, and The Talking Heads have all been covered in the recent past and this list is just the beginning. Their stage presence is some of the most entertaining I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. Clever bantering, goofy antics, and an infectious joy radiate from them.

Photo by Aaron Stein
Jammin on the grass

The show I attended included a potassium driven skit which landed an audience member with a banana, while “Scrambled” Greg Ormont proclaimed “You better eat that banana, or give it to someone else.” Greg’s ability to nail the Michael Jackson cover P.Y.T showcases the band’s fun yet skillful approach. The show was peppered between songs with witty interplay between the band and the audience. The guitarist Jeremy Schon delivered numerous blistering solos that were, quite frankly, jaw-dropping. Ben Curray was incredible, jumping, spinning, and gliding across the stage all while throwing down bass bombs left and right.

Photo by Aaron Stein

The drummer, Alex “Gator” Petropulos, was not always clearly visible behind the off the charts light show but you could hear his top-notch time driving the beats. The show consisted of two sets and an impressive number of tunes. They seamlessly jumped song to song without any abrupt changes, kept the groove going, and the suspense high. Builds and Breakdowns were done impeccably, imparting a true roller coaster effect to the show. The lightshow was mesmerizing. It took the entire performance and elevated it into a psychedelic phenomena. Focus your gaze and take a moment to gander that night’s setlist. 

Live Visual recording of the show can be found on 

Take a look at this preview of the first two songs. 

Set 1

High As Five (PYT)>>

Pinball Wizard >

Move Like That >>



Melting Lights >>


Feed The Fire 

Ocean Flows

Set 2

Too Long


Lightning > Slipknot > 

>Kashmir > Lightning 

Poseidon (Brian) 


Encore: Doc 

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s upcoming shows HERE

Check out their New Single Alright Tonight HERE

Dogs In A Pile upcoming shows HERE 

Check out their new album BLOOM HERE

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