Photos by Brady Cooling

From May 16-18, at West Virginia’s scenic Marvin’s Mountaintop, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong offered their 10th annual Domefest, playing five sets of their own alongside 20+ other acts.

As one of the first gatherings of festival season, many bands in attendance – including PPPP – used the intimate three-day event to bust out new material and get excited for what lay ahead this summer.

Spirits were already high on Thursday night as PPPP hit the stage for the first time. The technicolor crowd of 2,000 grooved to an opening “Too Long” and, later, raged to the band’s first-ever cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” (Drummer Alex “Gator” Petropulos took on vocal duties for the latter tune, thrilling The Flock’s “Let Gator Sing” contingent.)

PPPP’s first original debut of the weekend came near the end of their single Thursday set, with a bouncy number dubbed “Paperboy.”

“This is the first of many, I’ll tell you that,” singer-guitarist Greg Ormont told the audience of the new song.

An expected-but-delightful nod to John Denver’s West Virginia ode “Country Roads” came in the midst of PPPP’s Thursday encore, sandwiched between a heavy “Su Casa” jam.

However, PPPP weren’t the only band dropping new music on Marvin’s Mountaintop. On Friday afternoon, before a fun version of Cake’s “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” and a “Weight of the World” jam with some of the West End Blend horns, Aqueous dropped a new, dance-y original called “Be The Same.”

Later, PPPP embraced their Friday night “Magic Kingdome” theme by reprising many of the Disney covers they showcased at their New Year’s Eve 2017-2018 “DisNYE” set, including an opening “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,” which seemingly nodded to guitarist/festival founder Jeremy Schon’s king costume (the celebratory crowd also sang him “Happy Birthday” as the clock struck midnight).

A lengthy, wide-spanning “Poseidon”> “A Whole New World”> “Magic Carpet Ride”> “Abracadabra”> “Poseidon” jam anchored Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s second night on the Domefest stage, and while some time-conscious fans began to wonder if the band would be pushed offstage with no encore, Ormont quelled any concerns.

“We went way over our set-time already, but we kinda make the rules around here,” he said to cheers from the crowd. After making the audience promise they’d stick around for the Magic Beans late-night gig, PPPP performed their second of the weekend’s two debut originals, “Water,” containing the wry, funk chorus “Water: gonna drink it for the rest of my life.”

Keeping the good vibes going, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers played a standout gig on Saturday afternoon, getting people excited for their forthcoming record Paper Castle, by playing a new song “Beautiful Day” for the first time ever, and even covering Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Under The Bridge.”

PPPP’s third and final evening on Marvin’s Mountaintop didn’t have any explicit debuts, but with a “Dome for the Holidays” theme, there were plenty of chances for setlist creativity, namely a “Hava Nagila”> “Julia”> “Beanstalk”> “Julia” jam early in set one, a “Jingle Bells”/”Dreidel Song” mashup within “Zydeco” and a show-closing New Year’s Eve-style countdown, as the band wished everyone “Happy Domefest” before a traditional “Auld Lang Syne.”

Perhaps the evening’s most emotional moment came before PPPP fan-favorite “Horizon,” as Ormont did his traditional reflection on the weekend.

“You all mean so very much to this band,” Ormont told fans as Schon played delicate guitar beneath his words. “Your support. They way you scream all the words and get wacky with your costumes and show us love not just here but across the country and throughout this journey of ours. It means just as much if not more to us than it does to you, I hope you know that. We could not do this without you. I mean, we could. It would be fun to play at Marvin’s alone in a big field, but it’s a lot more fun with our friends and the people we love. We got blessed with a beautiful weekend here. We’ve got a full moon here tonight on Saturday night of our 10th year at Domefest… I’d like to think that has something to do with what we’ve cultivated as a group here together.”

As late night became early morning, the festival’s final “Domefest All Stars” set gave the night owls and early risers one last chance to hit the main stage, with live music stretching until around 6 a.m.

With covers like Prince’s “1999,” the Grateful Dead’s “Eyes of the World” and Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle,” members of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Litz, Aqueous, Mungion, Funk You and more kept the weekend’s momentum moving forward, even as their time at Marvin’s Mountaintop came to a close.

And as the sun began to inch over the horizon and the sky brightened, Ormont took the stage one last time, saying one final farewell: “Happy Domefest! We Love you! Good morning!”

Check out PPPP’s full setlists and photos from each night of Domefest below:

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
May 16, 2019
Domefest, Marvin’s Mountaintop, West Virginia

Too Long, Sports Theme, Somethin’ For Ya > Wireless > You Sexy Thing > My Girl > Wireless, Melting Lights > Enter Sandman^ > Live It Up, Whoopie%, Couldn’t We All, Paperboy*, Schwanthem

Enc: Su Casa > Country Roads^ > Su Casa

Domefest Night 1 – “Domecoming Weekend”
^ First time played
% w/ Casey Russell (Magic Beans) on keys
* Original debut

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
May 17, 2019
Domefest, Marvin’s Mountaintop, West Virginia

Set I: I Just Can’t Wait To Be King^ > Burning Up My Time^ > I Just Can’t Wait To Be King > Burning Up My Time& > Offshoot, King Solomon’s Marbles > F.U.* > Colors Of The Wind* > F.U.*, Fortress*, King Kong*, Dome People^ > Time To Ride, Doc**

Set II: Henrietta, Porcupine, Fade Fast > Jungle Book Medley > Fade Fast
Sunny Day > In The Hall Of The Mountain King% > Sunny Day, Poseidon > A Whole New World > Magic Carpet Ride > Abracadabra > Poseidon

Enc: Water #

Domefest Night 2 – “Magic Kingdome”
^ Unfinished
& w/ Lion Sleeps Tonight jam
* w/ West End Blend horns
% First time played
# Original debut

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
May 18, 2019
Domefest, Marvin’s Mountaintop, West Virginia

Set I: Pop Off, Hava Nagila > Julia > Beanstalk > Julia, French Cafe, Fun In Funk, Avalanche, Distant Times, Lightning^ > Moonwalk > E-Funk

Set II: Whirled, Landing > Jam > Zydeko > Sir Real > Dreidel Bells* > Zydeko”, Horizon >> The Liquid, Upfunk > Drums > Upfunk, Dawn A New Day

Enc: Ocean Flows > Auld Lang Syne

Domefest Night 3 – “Dome For The Holidays”
^ unfinished; It Runs Through Me tease [Tom Misch]
*Jingle Bells / Dreidel Song mashup
” w/ Peanuts and Drunken Lullabies teases