Musicians form new bands in 12 hours for Brooklyn Rock Lottery

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A cavalcade of highly-regarded indie rock artists will participate in this year’s incarnation of Brooklyn Rock Lottery, a day-long event where musicians are put into bands with people they have never played with before and then have 12 hours to write songs and get them performance-ready for a show that evening at Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg.

The 25 musicians in this year’s show will include Travis Morrison from the Dismemberment Plan, Bob D’Amico of Sebadoh and Fiery Furnaces, and Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It is literally a once-in-a-lifetime show, said an organizer.

“There is something pretty special knowing this was created in one day and you’re never going to see it again,” said event organizer Tierney Stout.

The musicians will all meet up at 10 am on Dec. 6. The five drummers in the pool will be made captains and will be each be issued a band of four other players. Then the new bands will go off to nearby practice spaces to write and rehearse a set-list of between three and five songs. They are allowed to include one cover tune, but all of the rest must be originals. The groups will then return to the venue in the evening, where each band will play a set of around 15–25 minutes.

“I never get the chance to improvise with complete strangers,” said Drew Citron of Brooklyn band Beverly. “It should be really fun.”

This is the fifth year that Stout has organized the Brooklyn Rock Lottery, and the project has created some serious magic during that time. One year, Greg Saunier of art-rock band Deefhoof was grouped with members of Japanese punk band Peelander Z, experimental indie rock duo Buke and Gase, and singer-songwriters Liam Finn and Nandi Plunkett. The formation ended up staying together, recording a 7-inch and playing a few more shows.

“It is really cool when these musicians are forced to play together,” said Stout. “There is a good chance they never would have crossed paths if it was not for this.”

Brooklyn Rock Lottery at Baby’s All Right [146 Broadway at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 599–5800,] Dec. 6 at 9 pm. $15.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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