To all those who have negative things to say about the future of Cleveland, I submit the Lottery League.
I showed up to the Beachland about 20 minutes before the show started and stayed for the duration. The ache in my feet and knees today is a testament to the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be. However, the beer flowed like wine and I started out with a triple shot of Cuervo to get drunk as quickly as possible. I knew I'd have to be sober 7 hours later when the show ended. The tequila needed some playmates, so I had 3 Straub to balance things out. Then, they ran out of Straub. Straub is, I think, the cheap beer of choice for Cleveland rockers. Anyway.
Nothing cooler than last night is going to happen in Cleveland this year. Over 150 local musicians were randomly shuffled into 33 new bands; these bands had six weeks to make music for a 10 minute set at the Beachland Ballroom. The resulting music was an outstanding inversion of Sturgeon's Law. There was a bit of everything from, Japanese pop [Dr. Widget] to death metal [Born Raped [OK, no one else probably thinks so, but I do.]] It was obvious that some bands took their League status very seriously, while other were out to have a fun time. Yeah, a few of the bands sucked, but then there were bands like Free Moments and Postcards From Foreign Shores who sent me shrapneled in different musical directions. The first few bands had shows with their official bands later in the evening [Hot Cha Cha was playing in Detroit, I believe] and the last few had the tough job of pumping up the music-wearied masses that came to The Big Show.
The ballsiest band, in terms of their angle, was Semper Fi. A bit of performance art punk rock that involved Abu Ghraib references and Nazi salutes. I don't think anyone knew what to make of it, but thankfully there was The Big Show mascot rambling around variously as a bear, a parrot, and a crocodile [at one point the crocodile suit was on backwards so the tail became an engorged reptilian phallus.] One of the bands had a dude in a panda suit. Secret Cleveland Furrys?
There was also plenty of swag, well made T-shirts, programs, tickets and the greatest collection of local music for sale outside of Music Saves. The sheer collaborative momentum behind the event is a testament to what Clevelanders can do when they believe in something. I talked about this with several people throughout the night, but most notably, Pat from Pat's in the Flats. The Cleveland music scene doesn't compete, they cooperate, and all are better for it. That's why we get to have awesome events like the Lottery League and Straight Outta Compound.
Of course, I took some video. Swayze All Over:
and Postcards From Foreign Shores:
More on the Lottery League: