Tuning Up for the 2nd Annual BAND ROULETTE

Unpredictable 'Luck of the Draw' Performances Create Bands on the Spot & Unique Musical Benefit for the D-Street Music Foundation

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 855   By: Robert E Martin

28th December, 2017     1

Having staged one of the most ambitious and potentially unpredictable musical showcases last year while successfully raising approximately $1,450 for the admirable efforts of the D-Street Music Foundation, organizers are poised to re-create the magic again this year at the 2nd Annual Band Roulette, which will be happening on Sunday, January 28th at Bay City’s State Theatre beginning at 5:00 PM.

Conceived by Bay City musician Jeff Poirier, the concept for Band Roulette is similar to a variation of ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway’ for musicians, consisting of a musical pool of 30-plus musicians whose names are drawn from a hat to form a five-piece band that will then spin a wheel containing the titles of contemporary songs to determine what specific song the newly formed band will need to perform on the spot for audiences with no rehearsals. Moreover, the list of songs is a secret, even to the musicians!

In addition to promising an evening of magical moments by mixing up musicians in this manner, the inherent design of Band Roulette also carries the potential for creating some amusing train wrecks along the way, coupled with an unpredictable evening of top-notch entertainment focused towards benefitting the D-Street Music Foundation, which assists promising young talent in the region to acquire musical instruments and scholarships.

Featuring seasoned players from such top class musical outfits as The Rockshow, Jedi Mind Trip, The Sinclairs, Tweed & Dixie, The Hipakritz, Avenue 5, Empty Canvas, 25 Cent Beer Band, Burnaround, Slick Jimmy, Marsupial Creampie, The Straight 8’s, Sensory Overload, and more; specific players include Scott VanDell, Barry Forster, Dana Osmun, Jerome Ratell, Scott McMath, Steve Gould, Joe Sullivan, Scott Baker, Mike Eudis, Tom Behmlander, Tony Furlo, Aaron Johnson, Jeff Poirier, Dave Mossner, Bruce LaFrance, Matt Palmer, Mike McMath, Derek Dixon, Geoff Hickey, Chris Bartnowski, Terry Poirier, Doug Julian, Todd McMahan, Justin Clifford, Jim McClendon, Joe Christensen, Noel Howland, Jeff Ott, Tommy K., Noel Leaman, Mike Thomas, and possibly more added into the mix.

According to Poirier, the idea for Band Roulette all started at a musical gathering that he attended when different musicians came to the stage and started jamming together on various songs.  “One day I thought to myself, ‘What if we got a bunch of guys together in a bar and had names filled in a hat for every position – bass players in one hat, drummers in another, guitarists in another – and drew a line-up together from the hat, along with a song that was selected by spinning a wheel,” he explains.

“I kicked this idea around for about six years and always thought it would be fun to pull together, so eventually shared it with a few friends, who also thought it would be great to do; and then my wife came up with the idea of staging it as a benefit concert,” continues Jeff. Last year marked the inaugural event and now that the train is loose on the tracks, Poirier hopes to exceed the success achieved last year by refining the format from the experience gleaned at last year’s showcase.

The format for Band Roulette will stay the same as last year and consist of two 45-minute sets with an intermission separating the two sets; and Jeff anticipates that it will take about 8 minutes to draw the band names, call the song, take a few minutes to talk it over, and then perform the song and get off the stage so the next group can be featured.

“This year we are starting the event at 5:00 PM, which is a couple hours earlier than last year because of the fact it’s a Sunday night,” Jeff explains. “Plus, this year we raising the admission price up to $10.00, seeing as this is a benefit and people will be experiencing a vast array of talent performing in an unusual context, which represents a definite value.”

“New faces appearing on stage this year include Aaron Johnson, Scott Baker, and Bruce LaFrance,” continues Jeff. “We had so many quality musicians offering to perform last year that we couldn’t fit everybody in; and the key is pulling enough musicians together that can think on their feet and not get flustered.  This year was more difficult in terms of assembling the line-up because everybody involved last year did so well, but we still felt it important to draw new faces into the mix.”

“What I ended up doing is grabbing the essential musicians for a return engagement and then I put a post out on facebook asking people who they would like to see, so I could take those names and put them in a hat and start drawing. Several musicians got in by luck-of-the-draw this time around.  Mainly I aimed at veteran performers as opposed to a lot of the younger players. A few of the younger players I’ve seen or heard, but don’t really know them that well.  Some slots are easier to fill than others. It seems that good guitarists are a dime a dozen, but the most difficult position to fill is that of keyboards.”

No rehearsing is involved with this event and to add even more drama to the evening, Jeff is the only person that knows the song and set list. “I sent a facebook message to each person involved and asked them to give me five songs they thought everyone involved could hack their way through, keeping in mind that someone would have to also sing the song, so the material needed to be centered around standards,” he adds. “We’re playing it pretty safe and am going to throw a couple tunes into the mix that might be tricky, so everybody has had input in developing the song list but nobody knows the exact list.”

“I came up with 20 some song titles and there’s a lot of logistics to work out, so we should have time to do anywhere from ten to a dozen different songs and band configurations.  We’ll keep drawing names out of the hat until the hat is empty, so no artists will be called to the stage twice.  The line-up will consist of a five-piece band with double guitarists in each configuration.”

“I’d also like to thank Mike Bacigalupo at The State Theatre and Mike Eudis from Eudici’s Pizza for feeding the musicians.   I’m honestly floored and humbled that so many people signed up to become a part of this unique musical experience.,” concludes Jeff.

Tickets for the 2nd Annual Band Roulette are only $10.00 and available at The State Theatre by visiting www.statetheatrebaycity.com or calling 989.892.2660. D-Street Music Foundation is an organization that helps kids acquire musical instrument and musical scholarships.


Please login to comment



Current Issue


Don't have an account?