Rock Lottery Returns to Denton

Snack Flag
Tasty Baths
Incredibly Poor
@ Dan’s Silverleaf

We all know what a typical lottery is - tickets, scratch-offs, pipe-dream visions of instant millions - but a “rock” lottery? Well, let’s break down one of Denton’s best and brightest artistic collaborations.

The concept is simple: a handful of diversely talented local musicians throw their names into a proverbial hat, and on the morning of the event (bright and early at 9 am, to be precise) those names are drawn randomly to create bands, based on the instrument they list. Keys, guitars, drums, bass, MIDIs, vocals, brass - any and all of these get combined into functioning units and are then given 12 hours to create a roughly 25 minute playlist, which they perform that night at Dan’s Silverleaf.

The best part of this event is the sheer amount of artistry involved across the board. Pan Ector designed and screen-printed a shirt for every band, and five graphic artists were brought in to design a one-off poster for each band as well. There are also a multitude of hand-selected photographers officially covering the event, in addition to all of the creativity that goes into putting on this kind of musical 200-meter dash.

This year’s Rock Lottery featured five heinously gifted bands: Gazelle, Snack Flag, Tasty Baths, Witchfit, and Incredibly Poor. With only 25 minutes or less before returning to the great creative soup of the universe whence they came earlier that day, here’s a few quick - and cryptic - impressions of each band.

Gazelle: Payton Taylor (Sweet Chaos), Harley Deville, Matthew Gibbons (Joe Gorgeous), Michael Briggs (Cereboso), Miranda Kennedy.

If prompted to sum up this band in the fewest words possible, it would be best to use the lead singer’s own statement. It was Miranda Kennedy’s first time to scream on stage, and, for Kennedy, the affair was admittedly “more fun than she thought it would be.” It was a band of innocent wonder and unexpected glee. Michael Briggs created a moving, very vibey atmosphere with his theremin, while surprise talent was found in the form of a 16-year-old drummer. If Stevie Nicks and Joan Jett had a bass-heavy band for a love-child, Gazelle would be it.

Snack Flag: Ava W. (Starfruit), Meggie Hilkert (Eat Avery’s Bones), Nan Kirkpatrick (Little Beards), Jess Garland, Tim Harman (The Atom Age)

Snack Flag crafted atmospheric vibes with a bit of showmanship…a little bit of punk-ish defiance with a dash of glitter thrown in for good measure. There was something familiar in this set, and yet, even for a temporary band and a one-off performance, something briefly groundbreaking - something more than a flash-in-the-pan, but so temporal, there’s only a semblance of words to describe it. The describable, however, is how unexpectedly rad it was to hear a cover of Metallica. When it comes to covers, well…nothing else matters.

Tasty Baths: Eric Park (Wrought of Obsidian), Matt Williams (Johnny’s Big Red Rocket), Josh Banks (The Noids), Ritchy Flo, Jordan Batson (A.M. Ramblers)

Ritchy Flo came right out of the gate dropping a hot, off-the-cuff bar, cementing himself as the unlikely glue sealing together a hodge-podge group of rockers and country boys. The best thing was the collision of the in-your-face urgency of rap met with the melt-your-face defiance of rock. The next best thing was their closing cover of Dalworth Clean’s earworm jingle. Better call 267-8433 on these talented guys.

Witchfit: Gerald Holt (Fun Button), Nicole Marxen-Myers (Midnight Opera), Kaila Parrish, Andy Don Emmons (Inferno Texino), Anthony Olgin (Trap Lord)

The name says it all: an occultish fever dream led by Marxen-Myers’ signature ethereal proclamations. It was true witchcraft summoned to the stage; a haunting procession from slow-burn build to chaotic climax. Add into the mix a spoken word guest appearance, and you have a practical seance of a performance, right on Dan’s own stage. And if you were feeling the effects of a long night then this performance, just shy of actual magic, would be the only thing capable of raising the dead.

Incredibly Poor: Stevie Hayden (Virxe), Jarrod Estes (Felt & Fur), Micah Vargas (Hey Cowboy), Tyler Schults (Litigators), Ben Scott (Strays)

Synth and drums backed by commanding vocals stole the night for this set. Through the haze of a long day and blissfully unending night came the triumphant reminders that this was it: the final set of the night. Incredibly Poor was anything but impoverished in the realm of sound and atmosphere, and, in those regards, heralded volumes that demanded one’s waning motor functions to be present for this final performance.

That’s all we’ve got from this year’s Rock Lottery. If you missed out, definitely don’t sleep on this event next time around. After all, there’s only so much we can do to put you in our shoes.

You just had to be there.

Header design by Kylie Phillips