Scenes From Saturday's Rock Lottery 12 at Dan's Silverleaf.
The musicians that are carefully chosen to participate in Good/Bad Art Collective's nearly annual Rock Lottery events are widely regarded as some of the best that the music-obsessed City of Denton (and, in a handful of cases, North Texas as a whole) has to offer.
But none of the five bands that performed at this past Saturday's event put on perfectly flawless performances.
But that's not really the point of these things. Not at all, really. Truth is, it's just incredibly impressive that nearly every song performed on Saturday night at Dan's Silverleaf as part of the Rock Lottery 12 was a composition completely written that day by band members who have, for the most part, never played together — and, in some cases, never met.
Still, the element of chaos and off-the-cuff nature of the night's proceedings is king at Rock Lottery. For one night a year, egos are checked at the door. And there's no posturing by bands to look a certain way or be perceived in a specific light by fans, peers or, worse yet, members of the media. There's just a relaxed vibe to the night that feels akin to what it's like to hang out with the members of your favorite band backstage — or, better yet, on their day off.
Because of this, flubbed lyrics are laughed off, performances are less inhibited, and one gets the feeling that newly formed bands would rather entertain their peers than impress critics.
And therein lies the beauty of an event like Rock Lottery: Not only is one treated to one of the least pretentious live music events of the year, but attendees get to indulge in a heap of interesting and unique pairings — and collaborations that never would have happened were it not for this event.
The night's openers were a mostly punk-oriented outfit called No Vibe that started out their performance with a country tune before moving into noise-rock territory, all of which incorporated the mandolin playing of Boxcar Bandits' Rex Emerson.
It was the show's second act, though, the AV The Great-led outfit The Trill that really encapsulated the feel of the night.
On paper, the band featured perhaps the most potentially eclectic of the night's lineups: No, the idea that a group of rock-based musicians such as Mount Righteous' Joey Kendall, Cerulean Giallo's Brandon Young and The Angelus' Ryan Wasterlain might collaborate with a hip-hop artist such as AV The Great isn't that off in the year 2013. But add in copious amounts of pedal steel courtesy of Danny Rush & The Designated Drivers steel player Burton Lee, and things very much seem set up for the bizarre. But, rather masterfully, The Trill were able to offer up a mix of rock, hip-hop and Motown into their five-song set. And, for his part, the charisma and energy of AV's call-and-response-rich performance was, perhaps, the single most commanding of the night.
Later on, “The” Moist (quotations theirs, not ours) put on one of the most thunderous sets of the night, thanks to a trio of Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Drumline members adding a driving rumble and unbridled ferocity into an already fierce punk set. Orange Coax frontwoman Sashenka Lopez certainly gave it her all, writhing around during the group's set — while somehow managing to add some theremin into the already quite bombastic mix.
The Corn-Kit Quintet, meanwhile, managed to rival the all-out venue wide sing-a-long of Rock Lottery 11 participants The Ghost of John Bonerz “Denton” with a similarly Denton-centric tune. Ella Minnow's Courtney Marie and Endless Thoughts' Daniel Ziegler, who co-fronted the group, led their crowd in shouts of “Take me to the Midway Mart!” betwixt lyrics playfully bashing a number of the city's music venues.
It was memorable affair to say the very least — a good thing considering the fact that memories and a handful of low-quality, cell phone videos are the only ways we have to relive the evening's magic.
Well, until the next Rock Lottery, at least.
All photos by Jeremy Hughes.