Rock Lotto At Club Metronome January 31, 2015

Words by Tim Lewis.

I had a good time seeing music Saturday January 31st at Club Metronome. Don’t get me wrong, it was not the greatest musical night. There were 5 bands, none of whom I’d heard of before. They each played three or four songs, so there was a lot of band changeover time. All of the music was rough and most was not fully formed. Some of the transitions didn’t quite flow and a few bands had trouble figuring out where their songs ended. The band members didn’t have that locked in feel they get when they’ve played together for a long time, but despite all that I’ve just written, that was completely OK.

The show was called Rock Lotto and is something that happens every year to benefit Girls Rock Vermont. In the morning 25, or so,musicians meet up, get broken up into bands, and have to write three songs and come up with one cover, and play them that evening, starting at 6pm. I know, it’s insane, right? In seven or eight hours you have to learn to play with people you’ve never played with, and write songs, and get them together well enough to be played on stage. Considering the work in front of them, I think all five bands did a great job. The songs come out in their starkest form, and have to get up and stand. Granted, a couple of bands had singer songwriters play one of their songs and the band filled in the background, but even getting that together in a couple of hours is impressive.

I got out of work at 5:30 and arrived at 6:15 and missed most of he first band. They were playing some cool heavy indie rock that sounded nice. The second band on had Justus from Wave of the Future and The Mountain Says No on drums, Kirk Flanagan on bass, I think his name is Harpster who played electric lead guitar, and a woman singer songwriter who’s name I did not catch. They played a couple of her songs and one from the other guitarist. He just played some sweet leads over everything. Kirk found some really fun bass rhythms, and Justus was constantly attacking the drums from all angles. No matter what was happening in the music, you could always just focus on him and have a good time. She set down her guitar and sang the last song, which was a cover I did not know. The reasonably large audience enjoyed it and cheered them on.

The next band had an older gentleman on vocals and mandolin, a keyboard player, a bass player, and electric guitarist, and Jeremy Gilchrist on acoustic guitar. The first song was a folk ballad sang by the mandolin player. The second was a 10 year old song of Jeremy’s that he sang. The third and final song was sung by the Keyboard player. I think he said it was called Whispers In The Sky. It was pretty cool, and in the late middle part the drummer just locked into a riff that drove the song to a powerful conclusion. The set was nice, and the electric guitar player had a great presence in all of the songs.

I had to catch my breath when the next band took the stage. Jedd Kettler and Ben Maddox had played in farm and currently are quite stunning in The Mountain Says No. Ben took the keys and Jedd took the bass. They were joined by a drummer, electric guitar player, and a singer. They played three songs, all written that day and all stunning. The singer had a good voice and nice articulation. The band had a funky heavy sound and the first song vaguely reminded me of D’yer Maker mixed with Wave Of The Future. It had a bit of a Farm and Mountain feel and was pretty majestic at times. It’s unbelievable that they could create all of that in one day, but there it was.

The final band had a guitar player, who I think I recognized from last year, an acoustic guitar player, a bass player, Andrew Frappier who plays bass with The Mountain Says No but was playing drums with this band, and a woman on keys that I think played at last years Rock Lotto too. They had a bluesy funky sound, and the guitar player had some nice blues leads throughout the four song set. My memory is fading, but they closed the set with a pretty tight cover of Kirsty Maccoll’s In These Shoes.

Their set wrapped up the show. It was around 8pm and I wandered home impressed with the sheer talent that exists in this town. If any one of those bands took a couple of weeks to get polished, I’m sure the songs would be tighter and more filled out. I suppose the only regret of the night was that since all four members of The Mountain Says No were playing, maybe a three song shot of Ricky->Statistic->Bomb would have capped the night with a glimpse of what you can achieve when you have the time. Oh well, maybe next time.

This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog,