[[groovy musics: ]]
5:31 p.m. // 16 October 2003
[[This is here mostly for my reference.]]
Rock Lottery gives new meaning to the phrase “one night only.” Saturday evening’s proceedings at Dan’s Silverleaf included everything from bluesy jam numbers to garage rock chaos to a New Kids on the Block cover. If you weren’t there that night, you aren’t likely to hear any of those dozen or so songs again, because all the five bands that performed effectively broke up after last call — although at least one group is discussing a reunion show.
That’s all part of the transitory nature of the Rock Lottery, a concept invented by Denton’s now-defunct Good/Bad Art Collective and continued, after a years-long hiatus, by former members.
To recap: 25 local musicians, selected and invited by event organizers, showed up at 10 a.m. Saturday at Dan’s. (OK, well, most of the 25 showed up. Some hard-partying rockers are not as punctual as others.) The five drummers in the group drew names, one by one, out of a hat to divide the musicians up into five bands, each with five members — whose skills ranged from the standard guitars and bass to keyboards, cello and operatic singing.
By 10 p.m. that night, each band was expected to have three to five songs written, rehearsed and ready to play to a packed house of people waiting to hear either genius or the sonic equivalent of a train wreck.
The result, of course, was something in between. Highlights of the night included faux German band Fecalbrünch, billing itself as “the best band in the world from Muenster, Texas.” After a drinking song demanding crowd participation (“Raise your steins/It’s 1drinking time/With Fecalbrünch tonight”), the band ended its set with a cover of NKOTB’s “Hanging Tough” that built into a wall of noise that was longer and louder than the song it evolved from, with Nicole D’Agostino’s saxophone at the forefront.
Jam band Gay Gaye turned in a blues shuffle named “Is You Is” that hopped and tripped to the tune of Leslie Becker’s cello plucking. Also in their set, she started playing a simple melody on cello that somehow intersected with Wes Coleman’s raucous electric guitar, like radio waves meeting by chance — an image reinforced by samples from an opera song that seemed to come from a radio. Meanwhile, the other three band members cooled off for a break and toasted their beers around the drum kit.
Operatic singing was the focus of the Drunken Boat’s experimental rock. Sarah Alexander, formerly of Dokodemo Doa, put on a solid English accent and punctuated her singing with yelps and screams, providing a contrast to the band’s dueling twin bass guitars. For the quintet’s second song, she told a dreamlike story in a cheerful, sing-songy voice, but with the odd word replaced with something naughty. The Mad Lib-style storytelling alternated with loud bursts of guitars, led by Samantha Moss with her fierce Jetscreamer trademark slide and a trio of amps.
All in all, Rock Lottery 5 was a night of spontaneity plus good old-fashioned hard work, from the participants as well as organizers, featuring a handful of original songs that lived and died the same day. The show also gave meaning to the phrase “You had to be there.”