Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


Show of the Week: The Lottery League Big Show at Beachland Ballroom

The blame for this week's show of the week falls completely on the shoulders of Cobra Verde/Jack Fords bass player Edward A. Sotelo.

A few years ago, Ed Sotelo, bassist with local glam rockers Cobra Verde and the far rootsier Jack Fords, posted what he thought was an innocent update on his Facebook page. He suggested every band in Cleveland should trade away all their original members and draft a new set of prospects, kind of like what major-league sports teams do after a season in the cellar.

Without even knowing it, Sotelo had helped to silently give birth to what would become The Lottery League.  After a very succcessful trial run in 2008, The Lottery League is back for round two, and for those that are curious, here's what it's all about:

The concept begins with 144 area musicians, randomly drawn into 33 groups. Each group has 10 weeks to prepare for a live showcase featuring all the bands who survive the experiment.  Each band will play a 10 minute set.  There are a few rules - to be eligible, you have to be in a band that has recorded, and musicians that have played together previously are not eligible to be drafted into the same band.  Beyond those simple rules, anything goes.

The return of The Lottery League has been highly anticipated by both music fans and musicians alike.  Cleveland music fans can see the results of this year's League competition on Saturday at the Beachland Ballroom where all will congregate for The Big Show.

"It's like being the MacGyver of music," says Sotelo. "It's like you have this paper clip and this piece of paper, and you have to open a lock. It's the same with the Lottery League. You have these people and a challenge, and you have to be up for the challenge."

Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door - Check out the Lottery League blog and Beachland website for more details.  Scene contributor and Lottery League participant Ron Kretsch has been blogging his personal Lottery League experience here, sharing vivid details regarding the League and several of the participating bands.  Like Slot Picker, for instance:

Slot Picker is a typical League band, inasmuch as it boasts a motley but intriguing lineup. Drummer Jim Konya has played in legendary metal and hardcore outfits like Schnauzer, Nunslaughter and 9 Shocks Terror (11 MySpace friends? WTF?), but don't let all that raging fool you, he's a really incredibly nice guy and a total cut-up. And he once gave me a goat skull after an All That Is Evil show. No lie. John Howitt is equally well-pedigreed, though in a totally different scene: he was (is?) the longtime bassist for Fuzzhead and its spinoff, the Heliocentric Groove Band. Another lifer, Dave Straub, has played bass, guitar and drums in outfits like the McShitz, State of Ohio, the Franchise, Self Destruct Button (the band I currently take up space in, though I never played with Straub, unfortunately) Neo Nothing, the Burger Boys and last League’s champs Gandhi SS. Matt Valerino plays his very mean guitar in the Chief Bromide/Kong Sauce/Big Bruise axis of weirdness. But Slot Picker’s got a curveball — also in the band is Steve “Lighting Fingers” Barrett, a photographer and sometime promoter who, though he has little-to-no known musical talent, is a force on the music scene by dint of his sheer unstoppable enthusiasm. The one band I know of (other than Slot Picker, I mean) that he can claim on his resume is The Betamen of Judea, of which he is (was?) the lone member. The one time I saw “them,” the show consisted of several minutes of pre-taped drones playing through the P.A. while Barrett sat on a chair in the middle of the floor at Pat’s in the Flats, breaking a large pile of cheap old vinyl records one by one. So yeah, that.

The Lottery League = no idea too weird, a bunch of crazy Cleveland musicians who walk unafraid of coloring outside the musical lines, and lots of fun and beer.

We'll see ya there...

Beachland 10th - John G

Beachland 10th Anniversary graphic by John G.