The Phoenix Rock Lottery Was an Absolute Gift for the Music Scene

Bob Hoag ditched the dapper duds at Phoenix Rock Lottery and his band, hHamhawk.
Bob Hoag ditched the dapper duds at Phoenix Rock Lottery and his band, hHamhawk.
Benjamin Leatherman

Some say that Eric Clapton is God. Others say it is Kanye West who is a deity incarnate. Deadheads will clamor on about Jerry Garcia, while hip-hop heads will claim Biggie or Pac. I'm here to tell you they are all wrong; Bob Hoag is God.

This became clear at the Phoenix Rock Lottery on Saturday night at Crescent Ballroom. The event took two dozen or so musicians and randomly placed them into five separate bands, giving them just the space of one day to come up with a handful of original songs and one cover before the final concert at Crescent. Among the musicians in the rock lotto pool were a few members of Jimmy Eat World.

The bands ended up falling like this: ZERO F G with Zach Lind of Jimmy Eat World, David Cosme of Playboy Manbaby, Gabe Williams of Bears of Manitou, Mickey Pangburn of The Prowling Kind, and Robin Vining of Sweetbleeders/Jimmy Eat World.

See also: Phoenix Rock Lottery Round One Fantasy Draft

Wet Lab with Jason Roedl of Mergence, Chan Schulman of Harper and The Moths / Dead Eyes of London, Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World, and Justin Weir of Celebration Guns.

hHamhawk with Josh Carlson of IAMWE, Bob Hoag of Samuel L Cool J/The Love Me Nots, Wayne Jones of Twin Ponies, Trevor James Tillery of Brotherun/Raining And Ok, and Aaron Went of Source Victoria.

Steff Koeppen of the Merkinstalkers
Steff Koeppen of the Merkinstalkers
Benjamin Leatherman

The Merkinstalkers with Ehren Stonner of Treasurefruit/Snaketown, Ian Metzger of The Gentle Hits/Dear And The Headlights, Steff Koeppen of Steff and The Articles, Emma Pew of Black Carl, and Danny Torgersen of Captain Squeegee.

#5 Is Alive with Alex Kling of Slowpoke/Flying Scorpion, Illya Riske of There Is Danger/The Whisperlights, Matthew Foos of Fairy Bones, Micah Bentley of Wild Earth, and Megyn Neff North Brother Island/Jon Rauhouse Orchestra.

The Phoenix Rock Lottery sold out Crescent Ballroom Saturday night, perhaps due to the appearance of Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World. But Jimmy took a backseat to the rock 'n' roll tornado that was hHamhawk, and their surprise frontman Bob Hoag.

It's no surprise that Hoag performed amazingly. He was my number one overall fantasy draft pick going into this event.

A scene from the Rock Lottery's band drawing -- this is the first-ever meeting of hHamhawk.
A scene from the Rock Lottery's band drawing -- this is the first-ever meeting of hHamhawk.
Benjamin Leatherman

It was surprising that the tremendously talented multi-instrumentalist elected to not play any instruments during his band's raucous set. It was also a little surprising that the dapper producer chose to perform without a shirt on.

Ian Metzger, of Dear and the Headlights, said hHamhawk single-handedly restored his faith in rock 'n' roll, directly before his band's song about Bob Hoag.

"We wrote 19 songs today, and then started all over again and wrote 14 more," claimed Hoag in his tie-dyed bell bottoms and beaded vest while his band performed.

This is a band that was only together for about 12 hours, and they had a sold-out crowd at Crescent flapping their wings and chanting, "hHamhawk, hHamhawk, hHamhawk," following their set. I will say though, their cover of "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, which Hoag claimed they wrote, was severely lacking in the guitar solo.

Hoag definitely stole the show with his wild performance, but it wasn't the only great moment of the tremendous evening.

Zero F.G. performed Kermit The Frog's classic hit "It's Not Easy Being Green," as their cover, and Robin Vining played a different instrument on all four songs jumping from guitar to accordion to bass to keys. They also had a song called "Kiss Me in the Banyo," which is a highlight on its own.

Wet Lab
Wet Lab
Benjamin Leatherman

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Wet Lab covered Queens of the Stone Age "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," which was pretty awesome, and their song "Lords of Hell" was a surprisingly well put together pop-punk song.

The Merkinstalkers' tribute song to Bob Hoag, "Bob Hoag," was definitely the highlight of their set. While the lowlight had to be the four-part vocal harmony on "I Believe I Can Fly." They all sang great; they just didn't go great singing together.

The biggest highlight of #5 Is Alive was their tribute to their namesake Johnny 5 from the Short Circuit film series.

It was a great night for the Phoenix music industry and yet another blow again all those blow-hards who boldly claim that Phoenix has no music scene.

Critic's Notebook

Saturday Night: Phoenix Rock Lottery at Crescent Ballroom.

Crowd Noise: you know how people talk about Jesus at church? That's how people talked about Bob Hoag Saturday night.

Random Notebook Dump: "They should do it without Jimmy next year; let's see if the scene will still come out. They should also expand into the other scenes Phoenix has to offer.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003


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