Dopapod and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong brought the hottest co-headlining double bill to Syracuse’s Westcott Theater on Nov 2nd. What a perfect pair. It’s like these two bands were created to tour together! Each band played for an hour and a half. Dopapod added a beefy encore to their performance.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong played first. They hail from Baltimore and are touring in support of their 2016 release, “Pleasure.” All can say about these guys is they are four funky bastards. I’m quite certain they are the only band whose fans come with pockets bulging full of their contraband of choice – ping pong balls! PPPP are incredibly fun and interactive too – whenever a ping pong ball flies near them while playing, they use their guitar necks as bats and try to hit the ball out of the park. They played a good blend of songs from each of their cd releases, plus a few unreleased favorites. Pigeons are a band that are constantly writing and creating. Their library is vast and they easily have as much unrecorded material as recorded. They spouted off the super funky “Live It Up,” as well as “Fade Fast” off their new release, Pleasure, as well as “Sunny Day” and the fun Caribean-esque “Julia” off of their debut release, Psychology. The bulk of their set was from the unreleased side of their library, closing their set with “The Liquid.”
Dopapod came out melting hard with “Sonic” and then into the powerful “Give It a Name.” They even shared “Trickery”, the brand new song they just wrote since the recent return of drummer Neal “Fro” Evans. They were firing on all cylinders and having some amazing moments. Dopapod are the kings of tension and release in their musical swordplay. Eli Winderman has this crazy knack for busting out these elaborate keyboard runs that draw me in and work my psyche, making me truly feel like the musical version of a rat caught in a maze. So good. So so good!
Unfortunately, Dopapod spent their set contending with game seven of the world series. The game was playing on TV’s at the bar and on the back wall. Good news is, Dopapod could watch the game if they wanted to. There was a TV on the wall opposite the stage. Bad news is, at points the crowd was completely distracted. Every now and then you would hear a bunch of the crowd shout “Ooohhhh” that didn’t coincide with a buildup and release or a sudden left turn of the music. I’d look over and notice people’s heads turned and they were reacting to baseball and not that little side thing that was happening on the stage. I couldn’t tell if the band was bothered by this or not. Maybe I was on their behalf. I’m not a baseball fan and I can understand the magnitude of a historical game seven, but this is fucking Dopapod here! I guess it’s better than half the crowd staying home to watch the game, right?
I felt the energy start to fizzle for a minute, later in Dopapod’s performance. I’m not sure if that was caused by the distraction of baseball, or merely the nature of the song choices. They came out of the gates upbeat and busy. I think the fizzle was around “Bubble Brain” and “Braindead,” then they brought it back up with “Picture in Picture” and finished on the up with an “Onionhead” encore that was spattered with ever apropriate “Take Me Out To the Ball Game” teases. It was a great show. After seeing the written set list they were using that night, ultimately they ended up dropping a song, rearranging the order of a few, and substituting “Onionhead” for the planned “Faba” encore. No complaints from me. “Onionhead” is a favorite and they ended up doing the “Faba” encore the next night in Buffalo.
Dopapod’s ACTUAL Setlist – 11/2/2016 Westcott Theater, Syracuse
Sonic, Give it a Name, Trickery, Vol. 3 #86, Black and White, Bubble Brain, Braindead, Picture in Picture
*w/ Take me Out to the Ballgame teases
Author: George DiFabio
Phtography: Jerrie DiFabio