Chicago Sonic Coalition : 2012 from GONZO CHICAGO on Vimeo.
It wasn't my idea. Friends in Milwaukee have hosted multiple versions
of their "All Messed Up". They told me to "contact the scribes" from
Cleveland's "Lottery League". The idea seemed simple enough : Rally
together a shitload of local musicians, throw a party and put all of
their names in a hat. Draw random bands. Further rules vary by province.
No trading members. Play a cover. If you drew a bunch of drummers,
well, you'll have to deal with that. You are in no way obligated to play
the instrument you normally play.
In the end, nearly 100 said they were in. A few weeks later, we had
72 names to draw. 17 bands were formed. I knew they weren't all going to
make it. Life happens. Bands crumbled, understandably. Some painful
dropouts, like Dave Reminick from Paper Mice and Kevin from Mannequin
Men. Kyle from Cacaw. Al Scorch was drawn with Magic Ian, and sadly, it
didn't happen. I expected this.
Those who wrote music were invited to play a multistage show at my
favorite basement in the city. 9 bands performed. The energy and vibe in
the room was something I haven't seen in a long time, and something I
have not seen since. It brought the community together. Though
logistically a mess, it ran extremely smooth. Some of the footage is so
shitty because I was running around trying to make sure everything was
taken care of, all the while being fed shots of whiskey.
The spectacular Whitney Allen made one of my favorite flyers in
existence. Knowing all of these musicians and what they've done, I had
an idea of what they may be capable of, and the challenges faced in
doing this project. It's what got me so excited. Would it be a disaster?
Surely, it could have been, but I'm happy to report it wasn't. The high point, for me, was watching Bill Satek (Mines), John Carroll
(Paper Mice), and Andrew Martinec (Bad Drugs). They were called "Alien
Shit", and are 2nd to last in this video. There were many who could and
did pull off something different. However, this....it sounded exactly
how I'd hoped it would sound. Bill laughed after they were done and
yelled "It's our first show!" You wouldn't have known.
The whole night was a testament to the burgeoning Chicago
underground scene. The talent and people. Treasure Town couldn't host
it, which saddened me. How could we cram so many people, so much gear,
into a basement? I reached out to my favorite place, and begged them to
take it on. They agreed, and it actually made the damn thing even
better. An upstairs and downstairs stage. At the height of it all, I'd
turn my camera off. Looking around seeing everyone in the room packed
together, smiling. It was one of the best nights I can remember.
Missoula just hosted one, and shared the exact same experience. You can
do it, too, and you should.