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Breaking down the Brooklyn Rock Lottery

Written by
Ross Finney

On Saturday, 25 musicians will gather at Baby's All Right for the annual Brooklyn Rock Lottery. For those unfamiliar, the musicians assemble in the morning, are split semi-randomly into five bands, and have 12 hours to come up with at least three songs, only one of which can be a cover. That evening the newly formed groups treat the audience to singular, one-off performances to raise money for the Harmony Program, which helps bring school music programs to communities in need. As of today, 23 of the 25 musicians have been announced, so we've taken the liberty of breaking down the roster, and engaging in some wild speculation about what may happen:

Brandon Welchez (Crocodiles)
Drew Citron (Beverly)
Rick Froberg (Obits / Drive Like Jehu)
Travis Morrison (Dismemberment Plan)
Ross Clark (St. Lucia)
Teeny Lieberson (TEEN)

The guitarists are a unique category, because with the exception of Clark, they're all also the frontpeople for their respective bands. It'll be fun to see how much, or even if, these band leaders end up carrying over their own distinct sensibilities into their new groups, and with six guitarists, we might end up with two alpha personalities in one band.

Annie Hart (Au Revoir Simon)
Noah Stitelman (Neighbors)

Both of these musicians are versatile players who could step up to fill many roles in a band. Stitelman's Neighbors project is a one-man show, but you'd never know it to hear it, while Hart can also play a lead or backup vocal role with ease. They'll each be a valuable asset to whichever group claims them.

Olly Peacock (Gomez)
Jesse Kristin (Jukebox the Ghost)
Bob D'Amico (Fiery Furnaces/Sebadoh)
Rob Pallotta (Tragedy: A Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees and Beyond)
Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

Among all the solid drummer selections, we're most curious to see where Rob Pallotta and Brian Chase end up. Pallotta could bring a driving, distinctly metal-derived sensibility to his band, which could be pretty cool way to stand out from the crowd. As for Chase, we're curious to see if the Yeah Yeah Yeahs kit man will have a chance to show off his serious improvisational know-how.

Brandon Curtis (Interpol)
Sal Maida (Roxy Music / Milk'N'Cookies)
Ryan Jones (Mutilation Rites)
Sean Yeaton (Parquet Courts)
Alex Levine (So So Glos)

We're impressed by the diversity of this crew. From Maida's old-school glam/bubblegum background to Jones's ultra-heavy Mutilation Rites work and Curtis's melodo-gloominess, there's an impressive array of distinct stylists here. Bassists stereotypically hang in the background, but with this bunch, we're not so sure that'll be the case. 

Julia Kent: Cellist (Antony & the Johnsons)
Josh Sinton: Saxophone (Ideal Bread / Nate Wooley Quintet)
Carter Yasutake: Trumpet (Midnight Magic)
Maggie Carson: Banjo (Spirit Family Reunion)
Mauro Refosco: Marimba/Percussion (Forro in the Dark)

This is the wildcard category, the group of musicians whose unique skills will inevitably flavor the sounds of their bands in ways that'll set them apart from the rest. Julia Kent's cello work is emotive and haunting, while Sinton plays virtuosic, sometimes volatile sax. Yasutake's got a funky feel for trumpet that lends itself to grooving dance music, while Carson's banjo playing evokes a rustic, bygone era of Americana music. Refosco, meanwhile, is multitalented player who's as comfortable playing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers as he is delving into traditional Brazilian music.

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