Words and Photos by Geoffrey Clowes.
An evening of funk and rock jamming at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, started with The Fritz, the soul rock band from Asheville, North Carolina. Reminiscent of Lenny Kravitz and Prince, the five-piece outfit led by vocalist and keyboardist Jamar Woods had the sold out venue dancing from the opening number all the way to the closing song, a rendition of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” With funky tight grooves and a driving bass line the music was a blend of rock and funk that was irresistible and had even the wallflowers dancing. The drummer and percussionist kept up a steady flow of improvisation all night, stretching the tight songs into airy jams that seemed to drift off into space.
Following the wild success of their first two albums, 2012’s Bootstrap and the 2017 release, Natural Mind, the quintet has been touring nonstop including appearances at renowned festivals like Hulaween and Catskill Chill. Along with Mr. Woods the band is made up of Jamie Hendrickson on guitar, Jake O’Connor on bass, Michael Tillis on drums, and Mikey Spice on percussion. This is a band that shouldn’t be missed when given the chance.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and their loyal fans known as “flockers” showed up in force to support the band and they weren’t disappointed on this evening. The floor and balcony was packed as the band opened with “Somethin” For Ya,” a danceable, jammy fan favorite from 2017’s Pizazz.. The highlight of the first set was the stretched out spacey “Melting Lights” leading into a fun “Pink Panther Theme.” The interplay between guitarist Jeremy Schon and drummer Alex Petropulos was free and loose all night as bassist Ben Carrey kept the groove underneath. The vocals of frontman Greg Ormont were diverse as were his now famous facial expressions.
The second set included the always popular “Fox and Toad” and “The Liquid” and ended with a otherworldly “Julia” > Hot Hot Hot > Julia” that left the crowd flying high and begging for more. The lone encore, “Whirled” left the sold out venue satisfied and looking forward to the next Florida run of shows.
Set 1: Somethin For Ya> Stay> Hava Nagila> Too Long> Melting Lights> Offshoot> Pink Panther Theme>Offshoot, Fade Fast, Yo Soy Fiesta, Doc