Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Brought the Funk to Kick Off 2022


Photo by Sarah Cochran

Photo by Cannon Crompton

In Asheville on New Year’s Eve, concert-goers rang in 2022 with two flocking amazing sets from Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, experienced the “Keller High Life” with Keller Williams, and got funked up with Funk You.

Photo by Sarah Cochran

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong wrapped up a busy 2021 by performing at the ExploreAsheville.com Arena at Harrah’s Cherokee Center. They headlined the evening with two sets. The first set included their songs “Distant Time,” “King Kong” and “Ocean Flows,” as well as cover songs of “Rocket Man,” originally done by Elton John, and “Walking On The Moon,” originally by The Police.

The second set included their songs “Poseidon,” “Lightning” and “Julia.” Their second set included covers of the David Bowie song “Starman” and Village People songs “Macho Man” and “Y.M.C.A.” 

At midnight, they played the traditional New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne.”

Dahlonega local Nikki Rosa said, “Pigeons Playing Ping Pong made celebrating New Year’s Eve feel special. I usually struggle to even stay awake till midnight most New Year’s, but this band had the entire crowd dancing for hours. The energy was fantastic.”

Photo by Sarah Cochran

“Even though I had no idea who they were until my friends brought me to the concert, they are now one of my favorite artists I’ve seen live,” said Rosa. 

Before Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Keller Williams performed a solo set. He performed his popular songs “Freeker by the Speaker” and “Doobie In My Pocket.” He also performed covers of “Scarlet Begonias” by Grateful Dead. Intertwined in his set was a lot of improvisation, which he is known to do. During his set, he played acoustic guitar, electric bass, used digital effects and a loop pedal. While this was a solo set, Williams also performs with a band in his other projects Grateful Grass, Keller & The Keels and Grateful Gospel.

To open the evening, Atlanta-based funk group Funk You performed. They are a nine-piece band consisting of a singer, guitarist, bassist, drummer, keyboards, three horn players and a percussionist. They performed their songs such as “She’s So High” and “Atlantic City.” They also played a cover of Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeaway” with Keller Williams. 

Will Foster and Palmer Owen from Funk You played percussion with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong for songs “Funk E. Zekiel,” “Turn The Beat Around,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “Kung Fu Fighting” and “Macho Man” during the second set.

Photo by Sarah Cochran

At the event, they also had live painters. One of the artists there is known as TripC’s Art. His main medium is bleach on fabrics, “It’s a different medium for sure. It’s cool because you can wear it and unlike tattoos, you can take it off. A lot of what I do is commissions. When I come to these events, I try to do something that’s like a tribute to the band.”

When asked how he got into doing this specific style of art he said, “I don’t know, tie-dyeing? I actually saw people messing around with bleach in tie-dye forms and I was like ‘I could do that.’ Then I started making my own stencils, then I got to the point where I couldn’t get all the detail I wanted, so I started pushing it in with a paintbrush and thought ‘I can do whatever I want with this.’”

TripC’s Art can be seen on his Instagram (@tripcs.art)


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Coauthor: Cannon Crompton