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Crescent Ballroom to Host First-Ever Phoenix Rock Lottery in February

If watching endless hours of Star Trek taught us anything -- other than how to proclaim "Qapla!" with the proper Klingon inflection -- it's that there's infinite diversity in infinite combinations. It's an axiom that's most definitely apropos to the music world, whereby mixing and matching different artists and performers yielded such projects as the Re:GENERATION, pairings both good (Alison Krauss/Robert Plant) and bad (Lou Reed/Metallica), and countless supergroups.

And it's something that's at the very heart of next month's Phoenix Rock Lottery, which will team up musicians handpicked from throughout the Valley scene in random fashion and see what results.

The daylong project, which was announced Monday via Facebook and is being organized by local concert promoter "Psyko" Steve Chilton, is similar to other rock lotteries that have been held in cities like NYC, Seattle, and Dallas.

In fact, Chilton isn't shy about admitting such events are where he got the idea to do a Phoenix version.

"I just saw someone else did it and blatantly ripped it off because it sounded cool," he says. "I'm all about collaborations to begin with and a lot of the people [involved] play out a lot locally and I just wanted to do something that's totally different and throw them a curve ball."

Here's how it will work: Twenty recognizable musicians from the Valley scene will have their names entered into a lottery and drawn at random on Sunday, February 9, to create five four-person bands. Each act then gets 10 hours or so to craft three original songs and learn one cover before heading to the Crescent that same evening to perform. (Proceeds from the show will benefit local charity Rosie's House.)

"The way I'm going to do it is just pulling names out of a hat. There's five drummers and they'll sort of act as team captains and pick the names so that each band has a solid drummer," Chilton says. "Other than that, it's totally random. I'm trying to give them as little rules as possible with this. There's no set expectations [and] they don't have to follow a particular style. They can just get into a room and decide what to do whatever they want to do."

And do it quickly. One can hope that the musicians involved will be able to find their muse, and find it fast. Chilton, however, isn't too worried, as he "picked people who were skilled at songwriting in their bands" when choosing participants.

The list features Jimmy Eat World's Jim Adkins, Henri Benard of Dry River Yacht Club, Lymbyc Systym's Mike Bell, Robin Vining of Sweetbleeders, Captain Squeegee's Danny Torgersen, Illya Riske of The Whisperlights, David Cooper of Snake! Snake! Snakes!, and Wooden Indian's David Moroney.

Also participating are Rob Kroehler of Ladylike, Tobie Milford, Jason Roedl of Mergence, Let Go's Jamie Woolford, Aaron Wendt of Source Victoria, Avery's Mariah Deraet, Black Carl's Matt Noaks, Pick & Holler's Lindsay Cates, Sean Silverman of This Century, and Michael B Alexander.

Chilton says that he's eager to see and hear what happens.

"I'm sure some really bad songs and some really good songs," he says. "Either way, it will be fun."

The Phoenix Rock Lottery performance will take place at 8 p.m. on Sunday, February 9, at Crescent Ballroom. Admission is $10.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.