As Impromptu Bands Took The Stage At Dan’s Silver Leaf On Saturday Night, Denton Showed That It’s About As Hype For Rock Lottery As Ever.
Teddy Georgia Waggy settled into Paschall Bar on Friday night anxiously anticipating the next morning’s Denton Rock Lottery 16 drawing at Dan’s Silver Leaf. She knew her Saturday would be spent teaming up with four other area musicians to create a brand new band over the span of just a couple of hours — she just didn’t yet know who her bandmates would be, is all.
That’s the whole idea behind Rock Lottery, which has expanded to music scenes all across the country since launching in Denton in the late ’90s: On the day of the event, 25 local musicians’ names are drawn from a sorting hat and split up into five different bands; each group then quickly comes up with a name and has until around less than 12 hours to craft three to five songs, only one of which is allowed to be a cover. It’s a celebration of collaboration, experimentation and creativity — but, most of all, it’s just fun. And this year’s 16th edition of the event was a particularly special one too, marking the 20th anniversary of the concept’s launch.
But Saturday night’s Rock Lottery showcase felt unique for reasons beyond anniversaries. As the event’s five just-created bands performed on the Dan’s Silver Leaf stage on this night, the room just felt alive. The crowd of Denton music fans that gathered here clearly enjoyed witnessing the new bonds forged between the performers through the event’s inherently messy and chaotic procedure.
Plus, y’know, the performances were killer.
That’s the magic of Rock Lottery, of course. It’s fascinating to see the participating musicians experiment with genres that they don’t normally dabble in with their usual efforts.
As part of the band Trash Baby, Dallas pop singer Sudie Abernathy belted out punk rock songs with Thin Skin’s Cèsar Velasco yelling along with her from behind his kit, simply not giving a damn that he didn’t have a microphone to amplify his vocals. Meanwhile, Felt & Fur’s Randall Minick and Nervous Curtains’ Ian Hamilton utilized their synths to bring a proggy appeal to their new Kuzumineers outfit. Lil’ Durt, on the other hand, proved himself more than a rapper while showing off his singing chops as part of Orgasmivore. In another enjoyable reveal, Pearl Earl’s Chelsey Danielle proved herself quite the hype woman during Cactus Head’s set. And Dahlia Knowles was downright elegant as her band Dolphin Butt covered Cher’s “Believe” to close out the evening.
Beyond the music, Rock Lottery added another cool new wrinkle elements to this year’s offering by tasking graphic designers Tony Ferraro, Alex Revier, Sandra Dávalos, Taylor Kimbro and Aaron White with designing posters for each new band. That decision only added to the community spirit appeal of the event, which was further hammered home by the fact that this year’s Lottery also doubled as a benefit for the freshly launched Denton radio station KUZU 92.9-FM.
By the end of the night, when all was said and done and a dance party started to break out on the venue floor, it was clear that Rock Lottery 16 had succeeded not just in bringing together its musicians, but in bringing together a whole scene.
For her part, Waggy, looking remarkably less anxious than she had just 24 hours prior, greatly appreciated that.
“People were super enthusiastic even though they’d never heard these bands,” Waggy said with a smile at the end of the night. “The mere fact that everybody knew all of this music was made just today — and just for this audience — was enough to get them excited. I loved it.”