There are a few events that put together music in my favorite ways in Phoenix. One unfortunately came to an end in Viva PHX, while others continue to flourish like the Indie 500 at the Trunk Space. An event on that list, that I have loved every time I’ve attended, is the Phoenix Rock Lottery. In the six years, I’ve only missed the first one and last year’s due to an overlapping commitment. It is put together by Psyko Steve and the ticket sales benefit Rosie’s House. The rules are simple. Twenty five local musicians are assembled randomly into five bands the morning of the show with the expectation to write three original songs alongside perform a cover that night.
Opening up was the band that called themselves Trash Can. In here we found Jason Devore, of Authority Zero, Nick Scropos, of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Danielle Durack, Ben Scolero, of the Stakes, and Nate Ray, of James Band.
Among their set included the cover of the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be.” This was a choice cover as crowd engagement was immediate to sing along. Their combined sound a little bit folk and a little bit rock, a perfect tone setter for the night.
That was followed by the Afro Scorpions. These guys made up of Zach Vogt, of the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, Jess Pruit from the Bittersweet Way, Lawrence Zubia, of Pistoleros, Andrew Stravers, of Katastro, and Carly Bates, of Hyperbella and Solomon Trio.
With already complimenting sounds from their assembly of bands, we found a combined sound of funk and blues with alternative rock. Smiles kept cropping up around the stage and off it throughout their set.
Next was the Anxiety Queens. They were the first and only band this year to dress as part of their name. They wore Burger King crowns with “Anxiety” written on them. Those adorned with the crowns included Michael Coughlin, Sydney Sprague, Yoli Bejerano, Marc Oxborrow, of the Haymarket Squares, and Chad Dennis, of Playboy Manbaby and Instructions.
The enterainment of their set wasn’t just the attire. They came out with a song written for Psyko Steve that brought out smiles and laughter. Then to break out their cover of Eminem’s “My Name Is” as a rock song sealed the deal for my favorite combined performance this night.
After that was a band I had to work to remember the first word of and perhaps the most unique named, Fibonacci Sequins. This one made up of Anthony Neal, of Coyote Tango, Lou Resnick, of the Sink or Swim, Erin Sperduti, of Paranova, Mario Yniguez, of Harrison Fjord, and Anamieke Quinn, of Treasurefruit.
This combination exuded personality up there with how animated and into the performance they were. Their cover was a pair of them, as they started with the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” and mixed it into Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.” Certainly felt like they had the most excited crowd by that stage.
Last band of this year’s Rock Lottery, with many familiar faces to me, was Smoking Tiger and the Invert. Not sure who the invert was, but it consisted of Nathanial Shrake, of Post Hoc, Jed Foster, of The Bittersweet Way, Kim Capria, of the Banter and solo work, Callie Young, of Lighthouse, and Aaron Hjalmarson, of The Freeze and many, many others.
Between Kim and Callie alone we had a pair of fantastic vocalist performing these final four songs. Nate bounced around and smiled with Aaron, as Jed just took to the cool guitarist approach. It wrapped up another great year of the Phoenix Rock Lottery.