Last night’s 10th Anniversary installment of Rock Lottery was one of those rare local music events we’ll always remember, not only because we saw Matt Barnhart with his shirt off, but also because it was easily the best installment of the event we’ve ever seen. (Though, admittedly, we missed the first six.) Kicking off the night in style was The Ultimate Battle Between Satan And The Aliens For Dominion Of The Earth… (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Your Mom), which featured local legend Paul Slavens, one-time American Idol contestant Daron Beck (of the Great Tyrant) and Audrey Easley of the Polyphonic Spree chanting “People! Eat Them! Chocolate!” over the duel-drummer maelstrom of Eric Eisenmann and Colin Carter, all relishing in the time-honored Rock Lottery tradition of heavily conceptual Goth metal tunes.
Following that act proved difficult for the drummerless Black Thabbaths, the only miss of the night despite the nearly unbeatable frontmen combination of George Neal and Faux Fox’s George Quartz. As any Rock Lottery veteran can attest, the experiment doesn’t always work, so kudos to the Thabbaths for laying it out on the stage anyway.
Dreamcatcher, the Sock Puppet picked things up considerably with the guitar-hero antics of the Drams’ Keith Killoren, who delivered a spot-on Neil Diamond impersonation on the band’s cover of “America.” It was the group’s spaghetti western instrumental that showed its true prowess, however, with Baptist General Peter Salisbury taking a rare turn on drums and Brave Combo’s Joe Cripps stretching out on the only conga solo of the night.
In what may be a first, Record Hop’s Ashley Cromeens and Eric Michener (Fishboy) of immortal Rock Lottery Six favorites Wombstone Pizza were reunited in The Inspirational Farmers Market Side Tent Jamboree, who claimed residence in the fictional town of Crossfire Hurricane, Kentucky (“I was born in Crossfire Hurricane.” Get it?). And while the Tah-Dahs’ Roy Ivy nearly stole the show with some Jamaican Ragga freestyle, it was the clever lyrics of the band’s re-write of “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” that will be most remembered –– we would pay good money for a T-shirt that says, “I hope your plane crashes into a rainbow,” and we’re probably not alone on that.
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With so many bands hitting it out of the park this year, it was a monumental task to close out such a show. Luckily, Ike: Do Me Like U Do Tina featured the fearsome combo of Riverboat Gamblers frontman Mike Wiebe and Andy Bothwell (a.k.a. Astronautilis), who amazed despite the fact he’d already stolen the show in Rock Lottery Nine 24 hours earlier. Starting out with a Tom Waits-style barker, the band won the crowd with a sexed-up jam featuring a hilarious monologue from Wiebe, in which he told of going back in time and having a sex change so he could could come back to the future, have sex with his current self and have “the 9/11 of orgasms.” The band closed with a ferocious cover of Danzig’s “Mother,” with Astronautilis convincingly fulfilling the role of angry frontman and 3/5 of the band taking their shirts off before returning for an off-the-wall freestyle encore. Please, Gods of Rock, let there be a 10th Anniversary Rock Lottery DVD. -- Noah Bailey