It was a fun and exciting idea. But the end result was a mixed bag, offering a jumble of local stars both shining and stinking up the stage in a finely honed mock-rock marathon. Among those taking part were players from the Close, Luigi, I Almost Saw God in the Metro, the Silent Kids and several other local bands.
Promptly at 10:10 p.m., the first faux-act, Bad Magic Number II Electric Bugaloo the Wrath of Khan, set the evening off with an atrocious round of old man rock songs, excusable only because they were written just prior to the event. Featuring members of Unicorns, the Musical, the Forty-Fives and Magnapop, Bad Magic was more like a bad accident. BM fired off loose and loud nuggets of crap culled from the depths of Atlanta's garage rock ghetto. Masturbatory riffs arced, chugged and faded, giving way to a sloppy rendition of "Joy to the World."
At 10:40 p.m., Slap! Snap! Ho! helped restore faith in the Rock Lottery experiment. The group was fronted by saxophonist Rob Mallard, which seemed like an odd gig for the local jazz/improv luminary. But he proved to be a killer frontman, ably supported by members of IASGITM, the Silent Kids and Shannon Mulvaney of local label International Hits. Mallard's sleeveless T-shirt style and Vince Vaughn-meets-Jello Biafra presence made him come off equal parts hammy and handsome, as he crooned over a backdrop of weirdo rock.
Spacey electronics and a wash of horns perforated the group's Dada-esque stomp. The lyrics mostly concerned twisted tirades about penises and fecal matter, but dwelling on the scatological humor doesn't give Slap! Snap! Ho! the credit it deserves. The band's only mistake was closing with a schmaltzy and deranged cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."
The 11 o'clock hour brought Nashville Sounds Like Fuck, featuring members of Tiger Tiger, Magnapop, Luigi and Ruvolo. They played a forgettable set of pedestrian party rock.
Next up was the Johnnies. This group, made up of members of the Close, the Silent Kids and Envie, was also unremarkable except for a raucous rendition of the Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It in the Road."
Up to this point, the event had mostly been a guys-only affair in terms of the performers. But around midnight, Weird Midget Dick and the Christmas Jews, which included three female musicians from the Black Kites, Divided Like A Saint's and Anna Kramer, came on stage to offer up some countrified psychedelia, fueled by palpable "la la la" choruses and a screeching violin.
JC and the Original Bling Bling closed the show just before 1 a.m. with a set of Paul Westerberg-style rock songs. The band, fronted by Blake Rainey of the Young Antiques, played a thick and spaced-out set that seemed surprisingly solid since the tunes were all written that day.
Overall, the whole event was probably more interesting for the participants than the spectators. But no one in the crowd was complaining. Rock Lottery was not ultimately about the songs or how well they were performed. Rather, it was about playfully testing the musicians' ability to think on the spot, coming up with spontaneous songs and some god-awful band names.
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