Random Band Challenge set at Columbus Bar

Remember in your childhood when your parents told you not to play with strangers?

Well, you can forget that when it comes to the Sixth Annual Random Band Challenge at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Powerhouse Brewing Company’s Columbus Bar, 322 Fourth St.

Organizers of the event take the names of willing area musicians and toss them into a hat — and then pull out those names one by one and assemble music groups mostly of people who never have met. Each ensemble eventually must consist of at least a drummer, guitarist, bassist and a vocalist.

Then they ask those groups to rehearse for two months, after which they will compete to be best, selected by contest judges.

Keyboard player Joshua S.D. Thompson loves the idea. His four-member strangers-turned-friends group for Sunday’s faceoff is called the Overnight Ink Drinkers.

“We all definitely are experienced and know what we’re doing,” Thompson said. “It’s already almost like this was meant to be.”

The winner gets a free, eight-hour recording session and the chance to release a disc with local Cassetteland Records.

Local guitarist and singer Ryan Hatton, known for his professional music efforts as the punk-rock group Space Traitors, launched the idea in Columbus, and already has seen it copied in Indianapolis.

“The contest has been pretty incredible,” Hatton said. “Especially in the first couple of years, I couldn’t believe how good some of the groups sounded. It’s crazy.”

On Sunday, six groups each will play a maximum 30-minute set for three original tunes and one cover song.

In the past, some of the groups, such as the Wet Willies, remained together for a time and played paid gigs. A number of musicians in the past said the challenge forced them to learn new styles of music and a better sense of teamwork.

Others simply seemingly could earn style points just on creative band names, such as this year’s entry known as A Comet’s Vomit.

Thrown together to play

What: Sixth Annual Random Band Challenge, in which area musicians are grouped with those they never have played with.

When: 7 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Powerhouse Brewing Company’s Columbus Bar, 322 Fourth St.

Admission: Free.

Information: Facebook page at Random Band Challenge Year 6

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.