Take a chance on the ‘Rock Lottery’ this Saturday

The Brooklyn Paper
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This lottery has nothing to do with scratch-offs.

Since 1996, the Rock Lottery has been an annual pastime in Denton, Texas, where 25 musicians are randomly placed into five bands and given 12 hours to come up with original music to play before a waiting, eager audience.

Given the wealth and diversity of talent in Brooklyn, it’s almost shameful that the idea hasn’t been tested here since (even Seattle has one by now). But that changes on Dec. 18, when the Knitting Factory hosts the inaugural Rock Lottery in Brooklyn.

Music publicist Tierney Scout experienced the Rock Lottery in Denton during her four years of college there and figured it was high time Brooklyn had its own.

“I thought Brooklyn would be a perfect place. It’s probably as diverse as you’re going to get. The spirit of the Rock Lottery has always been to run the gamut regarding genre,” said Scout. “At the same time, the community is pretty incestuous here.”

Indeed, Scout found it particularly challenging to find 25 musicians who had never played with each other before. But she was able to come up with a diverse (albeit indie-heavy) list that includes Bradford Reed of King Missile III, who plays his own invented instrument, the pencilina; Juile Potash of Northern State; Seth Jabour of Les Savy Fav; Jon Philpot of Bear In Heaven; and Stephen Patterson of White Rabbits.

It’s a gamble if the resulting bands will work well together, but whether it’s terrible, silly or awesome, it doesn’t matter, said Rock Lottery founder Chris Weber.

“The audience is always supportive and screaming for the first band, no matter what,” said Weber. “They’re yelling as if it’s their favorite band, even if they don’t know who any of the people are on stage. It’s just the sense of people working very hard for our delight and amusement. I’m curious to see how it works in Brooklyn.”

Rock Lottery at the Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696], Dec. 18 at 10 pm. Tickets $10, with all proceeds going to World Savvy. For info, visit

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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