Wednesday, April 14, 2010

*whew*

Posted By on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 11:00 AM

So that was something. The second Big Show was better than the first, flat-out. Just from my own vantage point, there were way fewer bands I didn't like (didn't even need one hand to count 'em) and far more that I thought were just fantastic. The League raised the bar pretty high.

I won't do a play-by-play with every band, that'd be ridiculous. But the show started off strong, with three excellent bands in a row. VCR Head Cleaner surprised everyone present with a drum-less five-piece lineup, performing bluegrassy songs on the Beachland Tavern Stage, with credible vocal harmonies and cardboard box percussion. Rumor has it this band will continue post-league. I hope so. Red Resonant Skywalker followed, on the All Go Signs stage in the Beachland Ballroom. I was disappointed that the five-piece band that was originally drafted was whittled down to three members during the League's ten-week lifespan, but as two of those members are justly legendary old-timers and their drummer is a monster, the combination remained potent, delivering dense and twisty stoner-epics like it was no big deal. Next, christening the Beachland Ballroom main stage (decorated to the hilt by Big Fun's Steve Pressler), was the Redd Foxx Memorial Band & Tre Fa Ha La Orchestar, a five-piece that featured baritone guitar, vibrophone and R&B/hip-hop vocals. Their set came up significantly short of its ten-minute allotment, so they were permitted to extemporize, and they pulled an AMAZING improv out of their asses.

Other highlights included Tape Worms, with the New Lou Reeds' Stephe DK out in front, and the man was flat-out on FIRE. Black Moon played a set of pokey, lonesome and very, very beautiful countrified depresso-rock. Milk Thrøat combined sludge rock with sparse, atmospheric keyboard punctuations. World War V turned the Ballroom into a deeply fucked-up beach party. Sausage Pilot distinguished themselves both by kicking high ass and by destroying the League's shared bass drum halfway through their first song. Lesson: Don't give a half-dead drum head to Steve Mehlman. Hut Hut Hike and Volcano Fortress followed, both showcasing extremely capable pop songs that could/should have come from much more seasoned groups.

I heard a lot of overwhelmingly positive things about my own band, Isle of Eyelids, but since I was really in no position to evaluate us, I'll leave us for others to describe. Drugs for Everybody, despite their lysergic name and the presence of the trip-friendly guitarist Noah Hrbek, turned out to be a joyous and lively sock-hop for the demented. The Beat Vikings lived up to the expectations befitting their incredibly strong lineup. The Elks, despite their gimmicky lodge-rock concept, would have to have tried pretty hard to suck; their members were drawn from the ranks of the Whiskey Daredevils, the Chargers, Self Destruct Button and Stimulus Package. But they're extra-worthy of note because guitarist Matt Jauch broke his ankle and collarbone in a cycling accident less than a week before the show, but played anyway. And kicked ass. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Lastly, there were the Newdicals. Turning the bait-and-switch they pulled on this blogger on its ass, they put on an elaborate, theatrical show featuring a massive puppet, literally almost the entire height of the Beachland Ballroom, stage-to-ceiling. It was easily one of the biggest spectacles Cleveland indie music had ever seen, and a fitting end to a looooong day of wonderful surprises and excellent rock.

So of course there are pictures. Mine, I will admit right out of the gate, suck. I spotted Lou Muenz, Steve Barrett, Rose Marincil and Mike Levy there with cameras, and hopefully they'll be posting some Lottery League pics, because theirs are surely better than mine. (In my weak defense, I was using a borrowed camera I hadn't much idea how to properly use. Sorry.) And of course, if you haven't friended the League on Facebook, doing so will give you access to plenty of pics and videos. I tried but failed to get shots of every band, so if a band isn't represented here, it's because I just didn't get any passable shots of it, not because I disliked it (likewise for the loose narrative above, by the way - I liked a lot of stuff I didn't single out). And lastly, this will be the final post on this blog, which was intended to be as temporary as the League itself. I greatly enjoyed visiting all those bands, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed coming along with me. And thanks very much for reading. —Kretsch

VCR HEAD CLEANER

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RED RESONANT SKYWALKER

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THE REDD FOXX MEMORIAL BAND AND TRE FA LA HA ORCHESTAR

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TAPE WORMS

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BLACK MOON

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SUPER MACHO TOUGH GUY COWBOY

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EARPLUG PARTY TONIGHT

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MILK THRØAT

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WORLD WAR V

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LEGENDS OF LEISURE

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DEAD WRESTLER

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SAUSAGE PILOT

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XFERQYRAD$

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WAAAY BETTER THAN EZRA

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GAWD ALMIGHTY

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DRUGS FOR EVERYBODY

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BEAT VIKINGS

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GOOGLE

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THE ELKS

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DEVILS FEET

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THE NEWDICALS

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Friday, April 9, 2010

The Council of Chiefs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Through the last ten weeks or so, I’ve talked a lot about bands, process and, um, haters, but I’ve said very little about the organizers of the Cleveland Lottery League - "The Council of Chiefs" - except in passing where I’ve written about their bands (and, um, haters). So for the last post before The Big Show, I want to give them their due, complete with shitty Photoshopping.

There was (is?) this band called Land of Buried Treasure, you see. Land of Buried Treasure was (is?) three guys, Jae Kristoff, Nate Scheible, and Mike Wilkinson, all of whom had been members of Self Destruct Button (which, for the nth time, I hereby disclose: I am currently in that band) at one time or another. But Land of Buried Treasure wasn’t really just those three guys, it was those three guys and whoever they invited to be in the band for one show, recording, event, what-have-you. Once, they made an album by opening a recording studio to literally anyone who wanted to sign up, to record anything they wanted to record for one hour. Over 40 people took them up, and all those recordings were edited down to the album “East 36th and Celebrity Weather Report.” (Another disclosure, I designed the packaging for that album — there’s going to be some copious disclosing in this post.) When it came time to do the album release party, they put together a live band (disclosure: I was in it) that intentionally excluded everyone who recorded material for the album. What I’m getting around to: LoBT was all about forcing connections between previously unconnected artists and then moving on. Two of the members of that band, Scheible and Kristoff, were founders of the Cleveland Lottery League.

Now as I understand it, the point at which LoBT morphed into the Lottery League was when Ed Sotelo (disclosure: I’ve been in like four or five bands with this guy over the last twelve years or so), bass player for Cobra Verde and the Jack Fords, among many, many others, bewailed the tendency of musicians to just stick to their cliques, and proffered the notion of a rock ‘n’ roll draft to mix things up. That remark, made to the LoBT folks, effectively birthed the League, though a literal draft implied too much human agency, so the focus shifted from musicians choosing other musicians from a pool of available talent to a random lottery selecting from that pool. And so Scheible, Kristoff and Sotelo began recruiting musicians — and other organizers, those being Matt Majesky, John Delzoppo and Michael Pultz — into the talent pool. As word about the undertaking spread, more and more musicians expressed an interest, and what, as I understand it, was intended to be a smallish event doubled or tripled in size. The rest of the history of this thing has been sufficiently well-documented that I needn’t rehash it here. My purpose here is to call attention to this organizing body, the self-dubbed Council of Chiefs.

From the original six, the Council is down to four members, Delzoppo, Kristoff, Pultz and Sotelo. It can’t be noted enough that the League is a MASSIVE undertaking — I daresay it’s one of the biggest strokes of genius to hit ANY music scene ever - and the resourcefulness and sheer labor it must take to pull it off are beyond impressive. The Big Show is tomorrow, as of this writing, so what better time to introduce to you The Council of Chiefs? I guess a lot earlier would have been good. Shut up. —Kretsch


COUNCIL OF CHIEFS PROFILE: JOHN DELZOPPO

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AGE
10,922 days

DAY JOB(S)
Copy Jockey / Recording Dude

HOBBIES
Internet chess, pinball, eating pizza, watching the movie Wayne's World, and playing ping-pong whenever possible for as long as possible.

LAST BOOK READ
33 1/3: ABBA Gold

LAST ALBUM PURCHASED
Telecult Powers Orgone Freakout c40

LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT
I kind of know the guy who just set the new world record for continuous hula hooping. 75 hours! Way to go, Aaron Hibbs!

LIST EVERY BAND YOU’VE EVER BEEN IN
Oblongata, The Emma Peel Advocates, Clan of the Cave Bear, Yeti Scalp, Shitty Baby, Cleveland Public Power, Land of Buried Treasure, Wooden Skin, Beat Vikings, Skullface Unit

FAVORITE MUSIC
I'm a sucker for most things that fall into the late 80's / early 90's dirty, noisy rock category which took on the unfortunate title of "pigfuck"

FUNNY BAND STORY
Intentionally left blank

WHY YOU’RE IN THE MUSIC SCENE
To fulfill my lifelong dream of winning a Scene "Best Of" award.

WHY YOU DO THE LEAGUE
I was once an aspiring scientist before I dropped out of college. This gives me an excuse to wear a lab coat.

COUNCIL OF CHIEFS PROFILE: JAE KRISTOFF

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AGE
23

DAY JOB(S)
Cleveland State U student/worker, and Now That’s Class door guy

HOBBIES
Travel, Various Recreation, Organizing recreation with friends, visiting Baseball Parks

LAST BOOK READ:
33 1/3 on the Wire Pink Flag album and I am half way through The Many Lives of Tom Waits, a long-ass biography.

LAST ALBUM PURCHASED
Berezovyj sok-Pesni by Eduard Khil' and Veniamin Basner

LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT
I need to do my laundry.

LIST EVERY BAND YOU’VE EVER BEEN IN
Deathers, Self Destruct Button, Land Of Buried Treasure, Washout Corporation, Blue Ribbon Band, McShitz, Dick Salad, Rad Bathhouse, Sausage Pilot, The Pathetics, The artist formerly known as A.I.D.S.

FAVORITE MUSIC
I like the "Happy Birthday Song" especially when my name is in it.

FUNNY BAND STORY
Around 95' or 96', in the early days of the McShitz we were playing a house show in Oberlin. While we were performing our bass player Vic could not see through the beer box he had on his head and and tripped over a house fan naked. I was singing and looked back and saw him "spread eagle" flailing on the floor. I stopped singing so I could puke when a crowd pushed into me and I went flying towards Vic. While he was getting back up my guitar went up his ass and broke. Unfortunately to this day I am not sure why I had on a guitar, for I do not play guitar. And secondly the guitar was not mine. I spent the whole summer paying back Dan Majesky $800 for his new guitar I borrowed and broke.

WHY YOU’RE IN THE MUSIC SCENE
I probably could have answered that question better when I was 18 years old. These days it would be because most of my friends are either musicians or groupies or a combination of the 2...just kidding! I am in the "music scene" it's because I live here "silly".

WHY YOU DO THE LEAGUE
The league offers me a chance to use skills that I learned as an under appreciated office worker. I work with a few guys within the Council who are very pro-active and we inspire each other, . As a group we get to turn what-ifs into reality whereas with out each-other and contributions from others each piece it would be hard.. I enjoy seeing how creative all of the participants have been in the situations they have each been dealt and there willingness to put themselves out there.The big pay off will be several Lottery Leagues down the road when we can all look back on the documentation that is left.Think about it,Next Lottery League in 2012 we will pass the 100 band mark and it will keep going. It is not the Council whom makes this possible it is the 230 odd musicians and artists whom have risen to the challenge and shown amazing creativity and class working together.

COUNCIL OF CHIEFS PROFILE: MICHAEL PULTZ

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AGE
23

DAY JOB(S)
Currently a research scientist at the VA Hospital, long time veteran door guy at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, and host of "The Defend Cleveland Show" sports talk radio show on WRUW 91.1 FM Monday mornings at 9am.

HOBBIES
Booking shows, help in booking shows, promoting shows, help in promoting shows, organizing shows, putting on shows, record collecting, frisbee golf, drinking espresso, and whenever the mood hits me everso in such the right manner, which happens often and anywhere, dancing.

LAST BOOK READ
I'm always reading multiple books at the same time, the last ones i just finished would be Chris Ballard's, The Art of a Beautiful Game, and Terry Pluto's, False Start: How The New Browns Were Set Up To Fail. Do comic books count? They should. I just finished a handfull of those too.

LAST ALBUM PURCHASED
I picked up 3 at the same time last week, Willie Nelson's amazing Phases and Stages out on Atlantic back in 1974, Psych Funk 101 - A Global Psychedelic Funk Curriculum compilation out on Stones Throw, and Talk Normal's Sugarland out on Rare Book Room.

LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT
Learning how to smoke ribs to perfection, and thinking I've totally got figured out finally what exactly is going on with the TV show, "Lost."

LIST EVERY BAND YOU’VE EVER BEEN IN
The Newdicals, Falling Rock, blktygr, Seers, Semper Fi, Fuzzhead, and Eigenstate.

FAVORITE MUSIC
That would be whatever I deem to be good music, and I'm very diverse yet also very particular and often think that what I like is the best music, and everyone else had better recognize.

FUNNY BAND STORY
Playing one show in Virginia and driving to DC immediately after to play another in the same night and realizing upon our arrival at the club in DC, and with only about 30 minutes until it was time to take it to the stage, that I had left my guitar at the last gig which was too far to return to and retrieve in time. Then, convincing the Japanese, totally non-English speaking band we were sharing the bill with to let me borrow their guitar so we could still perform. Trying to convey to a guitar player from another country who didn't know a word of English that I would like to borrow his guitar without making it seem like I was just making air-guitar gestures towards him was not easy, however I did end up being able to use it and the show went quite well.

WHY YOU’RE IN THE MUSIC SCENE
The best and most entertaining conversations and ultimately friendships I've always ever had are with artists and creative people in general, and my wheelhouse in the art world has always been within music moreso than any other medium, so basically, I didn't give the music scene a choice in the matter.

WHY YOU DO THE LEAGUE
Because I was given the opportunity to be apart of something from the ground up back in 2007 when we the Council created all of this and I knew instantly it to be one of the most interesting, fun, exciting and relevant things to ever have happen in Cleveland creatively, and it simply would be foolish not to do it. Nuff said.


COUNCIL OF CHIEFS PROFILE: EDWARD ANGEL SOTELO

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AGE
38

DAY JOB(S)
Bookstore Detective

HOBBIES
books / food / NBA / dogs / walking, watching, and wondering

LAST BOOK READ
Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell

LAST ALBUM PURCHASED
Taraf de Haidouks, by Taraf de Haidouks. I had a hankering for Romanian Gypsy music that day. It's served me well ever since!

LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT
Remembering how to swim.

LIST EVERY BAND YOU’VE EVER BEEN IN
You sure about that? Even I can't remember those early days of '97, when I truly started lugging my bass around to joints like the Euclid Tavern, Pat's In The Flats, and Speak In Tongues. But from that point on, I recall: The Conservatives, Viva Caramel, Hoobajoob, The 13 Days, Sneakoscope (two whole gigs!), Proletarian Art Threat, Lives of the Saints, Mike Uva and Hook Boy, Cobra Verde, The New Lou Reeds, The Fuzzy Stones, The Jack Fords, and The All Comers.

FAVORITE MUSIC
Over the last year, anything by Brazilian songwriter Jorge Ben wins.

FUNNY BAND STORY
John Petkovic (of Cobra Verde) and I were driving to Chicago one day. As we were approaching the line between that city and Gary, Indiana, we suddenly spotted a family of ducks crossing the ever-lovin' highway. John hit the brakes hard, and we skidded to a white-knuckled stop, with teeth gritted as both of us nearly flew through the windshield. The birds then blissfully crossed the road, safe and sound. John, pale as a sheet says, "Oh, man. At least the duckies were safe!"

WHY YOU’RE IN THE MUSIC SCENE
Call it a symptom of an overextended adolescence.

WHY YOU DO THE LEAGUE
Honestly, the League found me. In retrospect, I'm glad about that. Over the last few years, it seems that Clevelanders are always up for some mass social activity. Whether it's volleyball on Whiskey Island, the annual Ingenuity Festival, the recent Brite Winter Festival, or even rooting for Cleveland's pro sports teams, we're always ready to grab friends and seize on any opportunity for fellowship, food, and drink. I'd like to think that the Lottery League serves such a need not solely to the musicians involved, but to the music-loving community at large.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Slot Picker

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 2:00 PM

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This, alas, was my last Lottery League 2010 band visit. The Big Show is just too damn close now, and I need to spend my time on my own League band, which by the way will totally fucking knock your genitals up into your chest cavity. (No it won’t, that’s preposterous.) I honestly wish I could have documented every band this year, and I want to stress that having written about a band or not having done so is in no way an endorsement or a repudiation, it was just a matter of who was practicing when I had the time to get there. Maybe next time I won’t participate as a musician and I’ll try to document every single one? Actually, screw that, I wanna play! I should mention, though, that other LL bands were covered by photographer Lou Muenz on his blog sissybar, and if you've been enjoying this, you should go read his stuff, too.

Slot Picker is a typical League band, inasmuch as it boasts a motley but intriguing lineup. Drummer Jim Konya has played in legendary metal and hardcore outfits like Schnauzer, Nunslaughter and 9 Shocks Terror (11 MySpace friends? WTF?), but don't let all that raging fool you, he's a really incredibly nice guy and a total cut-up. And he once gave me a goat skull after an All That Is Evil show. No lie. John Howitt is equally well-pedigreed, though in a totally different scene: he was (is?) the longtime bassist for Fuzzhead and its spinoff, the Heliocentric Groove Band. Another lifer, Dave Straub, has played bass, guitar and drums in outfits like the McShitz, State of Ohio, the Franchise, Self Destruct Button (the band I currently take up space in, though I never played with Straub, unfortunately) Neo Nothing, the Burger Boys and last League’s champs Gandhi SS. Matt Valerino plays his very mean guitar in the Chief Bromide/Kong Sauce/Big Bruise axis of weirdness. But Slot Picker’s got a curveball — also in the band is Steve “Lighting Fingers” Barrett, a photographer and sometime promoter who, though he has little-to-no known musical talent, is a force on the music scene by dint of his sheer unstoppable enthusiasm. The one band I know of (other than Slot Picker, I mean) that he can claim on his resume is The Betamen of Judea, of which he is (was?) the lone member. The one time I saw “them,” the show consisted of several minutes of pre-taped drones playing through the P.A. while Barrett sat on a chair in the middle of the floor at Pat’s in the Flats, breaking a large pile of cheap old vinyl records one by one. So yeah, that.

Unfortunately, I have little that’s representative to post. Howitt evidently slept through this rehearsal, and minus his foundation, it’s hard to say whether the gleefully shambolic rock I heard is what you’re going to hear at the show. Though evidently that may not matter, as Barrett has spammed the internets with this missive:

To anyone who will be attending the Lottery League's Big Show this Saturday: I need your help!!! I am asking everyone to please bring something (seriously, anything!) to be used during my band Slotpicker's set (we are 22nd in the line-up). Anything that is brought will be used. I need your help in getting as retarded as possible for this show. Please, please, please bring props, costumes, something that makes noise, anything. Anyone wearing a costume will get a high five from me. Anyone with noisy items can jam with me. Bring your dancing shoes with you for there may very well be an impromptu dance partay! Slotpicker is not exclusive. We are inclusive. Everyone at the show is part of the band. This big big show only happens once every other year, so get ridiculous with us!!! Thanks! I'll see you there!!!

-Steve (and the rest of the fine gentlemen of Slotpicker)

While I cannot endorse that kind of use of the word “retarded,” I must vigorously endorse the concept and spirit. Each band can do what the hell it wants with its 10 minutes, and if Slot Picker wants to stoke ecstatic Dada mayhem? FUCK YEAH, SLOT PICKER! FUCK YEAH! — Kretsch

Slot Picker discusses beverages:

Lightning Fingers - more like Lightning namedropper amirite?

Some actual music:

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Beat Vikings

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 12:56 PM

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I could be wrong on this, but I’m pretty sure the Beat Vikings are the only Lottery band this year (possibly both years?) to have been drafted without a guitar player. Which, considering the still largely rockist makeup of the indie scene here, seems just waaaaaaay the hell against the odds. Though obviously a rock (or whatever) band needn’t necessarily have a guitar to be worth listening to, and the proof is posted below. But I get ahead of myself.

John Delzoppo, in addition to being one of the Lottery League’s organizers, is the drummer for the completely insane instrumental metal duo Clan of the Cave Bear, and is the possessor of one of Cleveland’s all time great rock-faces. So great, in fact, are his rock-faces, that by themselves they constitute a reason to go see Cave Bear even if you don’t like awesome shit. Bassist Ed Stephens is one of Cleveland’s treasures. He’s not only skillful as all hell, he’s stylistically omnivorous. He’s known equally well for his work with skullcrushers Abdullah and for the late Roberto Occasio’s Latin Jazz Project. Saxophonist Chris Burge has surely blown your little pea-brain out if you’ve seen him with the Up Ensemble. Vocalist Christa Ebert should be well known to you if you’re a regular reader of the print rag that publishes this blog, but if you don’t know her solo-vocal project Uno Lady, god fuckin’ damn, get on that already, it’s really cool stuff.

So just looking at the lineup, we see a strong presence of jazz and metal in the mix (and a potent mix it is), and the Uno Lady curveball. If you’re even slightly like me, that’s enticing shit, so I was grateful that the Beat Vikings let me crash their rehearsal last Thursday night. The practice was held at Delzoppo’s West Side recording studio, Negative Space, which is not just a great recording facility (my band did most of its last album there, and while I don’t want to be overly pluggy, it’s a really nice place to track), but also a bottomless treasure trove for connoisseurs of charmingly thrashed old gear. It was also the original home of The Tower, one of Cleveland’s longer-running DIY venues. But yeah, so anyway, here’s the Beat Vikings’ shit. — Kretsch



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Sunday, April 4, 2010

On Elitism

Posted By on Sun, Apr 4, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Something I've heard a bit too much of finally set me off yesterday, and this is going to be a bit of a rant, so I must disclaim here: this blog is a publication of Cleveland Scene. It is not an adjunct of - and certainly does not presume to speak for - the Cleveland Lottery League, its organizing body, or any of its participants except, obviously, for me. And really, it doesn’t even do such a hot job of representing whatever the hell the views of Scene may be, and as an organization I can't imagine Scene could give a flying fuck about any of what I’m going to address here. I’m given pretty free reign over what I say here, in fact I’m barely even edited (yeah, yeah, you noticed). So to be clear, I’M the asshole. And I’m going to be a BIG asshole. I’m even going to build a straw-man Lottery League hater to kick down. And swear a lot. ‘Cuz saying "fuck" is fun.

I find that this happens: some musicians who aren’t in the Lottery League complain about not being in the Lottery League. The most common grievance, one I've heard both first- and second-hand once too goddamn often, is the fatuous and reductive complaint that the League is “elitist” and as such participation is chiefly a matter of who you know.

I’ll dismiss the “who you know” gripe first: NO SHIT, GENIUS. Everything is about who you know, you stupid fool. Ever try getting your awesome, awesome band a show at a club whose booker has never had a reason to have heard of you (without naïvely buying into a ticket-selling scam, that is)? Ever try getting press coverage without putting out a press release? It’s a vacuous complaint and anybody making it is perhaps not so astute an observer of the world around him. If you or your band has a problem with not knowing “the right people,” get out there in the world and fucking MEET them. What assholes call “networking,” the rest of us call “making friends with people,” and if you have trouble doing that it’s not the goddamn Lottery League’s fault.

Here, more personally and pragmatically, is why it’s about who you know: when the League was first conceived, it was not intended to be as huge as it became. It was originally about 50 musicians, all of them close to the organizers, for obvious reasons — you’re trying to get something happening, you talk to people you know and trust. That the organizers still managed the whole thing as well as they did once the whole hot mess ballooned to 150 participants is a testament to their dedication. For the second League, about half of the original participants (and a third of the organizers) dropped out, by my unscientific estimate. New people were recruited not by the organizers, but by the League’s previous participants. So you could have been recommended for a slot this year if only you knew just one of A HUNDRED AND FIFTY FUCKING PEOPLE from a wide spectrum of musical styles — metal, indie-rock, hardcore, country, noise, punk, sunshine pop, hip-hop, jazz, psych, whatever Uno Lady is — all those scenes and more are represented. Oh, you didn’t know ANY of those 150 people? In a city this small? What’s that say about you? Well, maybe it should be MORE than 150! Yeah! If it’s not endlessly and unrealistically inclusive, IT’S FASCISM! Dig: the number was kept to 150 for reasons that should be screamingly fucking obvious to anyone not needing oven mitts duct taped to their wrists and a drool cup, but I’ll explain it anyway, since I have exactly that much esteem for the analytic faculties of the people to whom this screed is addressed.

1) With 150ish musicians, the drawing of names took something like five hours. By the end, people would have justifiably wearied of the process had the organizers not gone well out of their way to make it entertaining. But let’s make it 250 musicians so it takes seven hours. After all, the League owes you an accommodation, right? So come right on in, here’s something ELSE you can make tedious.

2) 150ish musicians = 33 bands. 33 bands at 10 minutes per set, with breaks in between and intermissions = roughly a seven hour show. See above.

3) Capacity of the venue = about 500, I think, though reduce that some because of the additional stage taking up space. With 150 musicians in the show, that leaves let's say 250 or so tickets available to the general public (I’m guessing on that, I don’t know the actual number). But why not make it 400 musicians? That’d be more fair right? (Unless you were STILL excluded, then I have to assume it would be somehow unfair.) Who cares if nobody’d be able to see it? YOU’D be in it and that’s what matters, right?

As for elitism, define your terms, please, oh bottomlessly wise but easily butthurt rocker dude. (<= Look, there it is, see? That’s the straw man I was talking about kicking down! I figured I'd hang a lampshade on it, so everyone could join in the fun.)

Do you mean elitism in the sense of lives being controlled by politically powerful people whose self-interested whim becomes the destiny of the masses? Or do you mean elitism in the meritocratic sense, where talented persons in a given field rise in that field and the most exceptional are recognized as elite and accordingly sought out?

I’m just kidding asking that. I know it’s the first thing. If it was the second, bottomlessly wise but easily butthurt rocker dude, you wouldn’t be complaining. You’d be practicing. Or “networking.” But from where I sit it looks like you’re mostly just complaining.

So here’s a secret, bottomlessly wise but easily butthurt rocker dude: before the Lottery League was invented, there was no roadmap for how to do this. Nobody did it for the guys who thought it up, they made it up as they went along. Take up their example. Instead of crying in your pissbeer about how you’ve been excluded, DO something apart from waiting around for “official channels” to open the door to you. Nobody owns the concept, so if you don’t like being left out of this league, make your own. You might even find a better way to do it, right? Parallel Lottery Leagues would be AMAZING, I’d totally go to your Big Show. You could show us elitist indie assholes a thing or two, couldn’t you? Hell, do an all-screamo League! Do an all-rockabilly league! Neither of those would be motherfucking cut-your-wrists boring for seven hours, no siree! You could make YOUR new improved league a competition with judges and prizes, that wouldn’t irreparably douche it all up to hell! DUDE - you could totally make the bands sell tickets! Cha-CHING!

So to sum up, butthurt rocker dude, your complaints about exclusion and elitism are empty and pointless. No event can possibly include everybody. You might as well ask Studio-A-Rama to include every Cleveland band every year. You’ve surely done events that Lottery Leaguers weren’t invited to, so why again is your exclusion a source of such angst? Why are you soooooo special? (BTW, so we're clear, Leaguers aren’t particularly special either, I assure you.) You could very well be in the next one, you know. And I’d welcome that. Seriously. I have no doubt, despite all my foaming at the mouth and insult hurling above, that you’d be an asset, butthurt rocker dude. The more new people every time, the better, I say. Wanna know something that may or may not matter? I recommended two new people this year, and one got in. I was a little bummed for the one that didn't. So I get it. In addition, apart from my two allotted “official” recommendations, I lobbied the organizers to include three entire bands, not one of whom has a single member in the League this year. (And I think it merits mentioning that I’ve never actually met a single member of any of the three bands I lobbied for.) But I don’t go cryassing about it, because it’s not my show. And of course nor is it yours. Nobody likes to be excluded, but if you were running this kind of show, how would YOU accommodate everyone who wanted to be in it? My suggestion to do something on your own still stands. That would be best in keeping with the DIY spirit of the whole thing, would it not? Then you can listen to the people that YOU didn’t invite crab about how your hard work on a totally egalitarian attempt to bring strangers together in creativity is somehow “elitist” and that you’re an asshole.

Rant over. Big Show's in less than a week, on Saturday, April 10th. Pre-sale tix are $15, and it's $20 at the door so it's mighty obvious what you should be doing. Tix are available at Music Saves, My Mind's Eye, Blue Arrow and Visible Voice. And probably the Beachland, right? I mean, surely they must be selling tickets at the venue. Get'cha some.—Kretsch

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Newdicals

Posted By on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 11:21 AM

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OK, I’m really not entirely sure what I walked into here. On Wednesday night, I was permitted access to this year’s Big Show headliners the Newdicals. This is generally a fun-loving bunch of people, every single one of them genuinely a credit to this music scene, not just for their music, but for their general fun-to-hang-out-withness. But this shit was just weird. Four grown men were dressed in overlarge versions of little kids Halloween costumes, and the ONE person present that I expect that sort of thing from was in her civvies. Look, it’s one thing if they’re going to perform in costume — it's awesome, actually — but rehearsing in costume? Almost a month before the show? Isn’t that a wee bit obsessive? Creepy? Odd? Legally-compelled-to-stay-5000-feet-away-from-schoolsish? Then they started playing a sparse, twisty psych-rock punctuated with melodica and toy percussion. Frankly, they conjured a cultish vibe that recalled electrified versions of some of the more unhinged moments of those David Koresh recordings. I got the fuck out of there.

Vitals:
League organizer/BLKTYGR/Fuzzhead’s Michael Pultz: guitar, fried egg suit
This Is Exploding’s Joshua Jesty: Drums, fox costume (never would have pegged him for a furry)
JJ Magazine/Sammy Slims’ Zach Starnik: Israeli flag maracas, hot dog suit
Afternoon Naps/Picklefight’s Leia Alligator: melodica, civilian garb
9 Volt Haunted House/Frass Accolades’ Craig Chojnicki: electronics, oddly familiar pickle suit

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In the annals of band photory, this surely scores in a pretty fucking high percentile.


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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Protractor Ted

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 2:47 PM

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Not gonna lie to y’all, I was very excited to see what Protractor Ted were getting on about. The band includes a lifer drummer, a completely madcap singer and two astounding guitarists who hail from very different schools — that last bit is what had my interest redlined. So here’s the lineup rundown: Protractor Ted has Rich Ellis (ACTUAL LEGEND ALERT: dudeman was in the fucking Kneecappers.) of the All-Comers and Uva Ursi in the Ringo chair, singist Scott McHenry of Big Bruise and last Lottery League’s standouts Jettaland (check out their track on the comp CD — SO awesome), long-AWOL guitarer Sharon Yoo, who made a name for herself with a unique atmospheric fingerpicking guitar style in the Corduroy Astronauts and the Librarians before evidently dropping off the planet for the last 8 years, and guitarrorist Chris Smith (ACTUAL LEGEND ALERT: dudeman was in False Hope, Integrity, Knifedance… this could go on all day) of prog-metal bruisers Keelhaul.

Smith and Yoo seem to have settled comfortably into an intricate midtempo interlacing of guitar lines, which merges both of their signature styles surprisingly well (Chris is the sensitive one in Keelhaul, don’tcha’know). Ellis is every bit the solid foundation you’d expect, and McHenry, well damn, that dude’s just an inspired fucking weirdo — the chorus to his goddamn “Save the Whales” song has been stuck in my goddamn brain since I visited their rehearsal on goddamn Saturday. They’ve been prolific with their time together, too, amassing more material than they’ll be able to play in their 10-minute Big Show set. Here’s a shitpile of it for your listening enjoyment. —Kretsch

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