Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at Stage AE; Rivers Casino Hosts Bill Toms and Hard Rain; The Commonheart Plays Mr. Smalls (Fri., 12/30/22)

Friday, December 30 & Saturday, December 31

1) Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, along with Lotus have been two of the main bands who have helped Pittsburghers bring in the New Year over the last several. This year, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong have the honor of ushering in the New Year’s Eve Eve and New Year’s Eve as the headliner at Stage AE. Combining funk, rock, and electronica, the band members create feel-good, laid-back tunes in a Grateful-Dead-meets-Sublime kind of way. The result is as unique as their name. They always bring energy to their fans, called “The Flock,” who just can’t get enough. The group formed in 2009 in Baltimore and released its first LP, preposterously titled Funk EP, in 2010. Since then, the album titles have stuck to the P-motif of the band’s name: Psychology in 2014, Pleasure in 2016, and Pizazz in 2017. Their latest LP release is Perspectives. Even if jam bands aren’t your thing, the subtle island undertones in songs like “Couldn’t We All” may leave you asking the bartender for a little umbrella in your drink. Magic Beans open. Doors open at 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (C.M., R.H.)

2) Bill Toms and Hard Rain with the Soulville Horns will be rockin’ out Rivers Casino Drum Bar this evening. Toms released a new album, Keep Movin’ On in 2021. See our story on the making of the album. Toms’ slightly raspy, deeply soulful voice and his guitar playing prowess combine with the drums, horns, and rest of the band to create a hot rock sound. Special guest Dan Bubien and The Delta Struts. 9 p.m. 777 Casino Dr., North Shore. (R.H.)

Bill Toms plays some killer lead guitar riffs (c.) while Hard Rain and the Soulville Horns jam on.

Bill Toms plays some killer lead guitar riffs (c.) while Hard Rain and the Soulville Horns jam on at a previous holiday show at Moondog’s.

3) The Commonheart was one of the hottest bands on the local music scene and making a name for themselves nationally and then the pandemic hit. Led by frontman Clinton Clegg and his impressive rock/soul pipes, the band delivers inspiring performances. Strong guitar, rhythm, and horn sections along with harmonious background singers add to the aural delight. The Commonheart has two new songs out now: “Hustler,” and “How Do I Do This.” 8 p.m. Mr. Smalls, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (C.M. R.H.)

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Rick Handler

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