Band Scramble, Where Saint Louis Musicians Form Unlikely Ensembles, Returns at El Lenador

Jun 26, 2012 at 11:59 am

The Band Scramble makes its return July 14 at El Lenador (3124 Cherokee St) -- admission will be $10. The name speaks for itself: Band Scramble takes musicians from around the city and randomly assigns them to "new" bands, which then compete in one night of music.

Scramble bands are given three weeks to write three original songs. Each band comprises a vocalist, guitarist, bassist, drummer and one "other" instrument. Bands are literally chosen out of a hat (or beer pitcher, whichever is more readily available). From there, the groups choose their own genre and arrangements. They are judged on stage presence, crowd participation, presentation and songwriting. Judges also bring their own category inputs to the table.

Band Scramble is meant to be a low key night of music and tom-fooleries. In 2010, Sarah Jones of Scramble band "Fat Jones and the Babies" was pregnant. She drank ice tea from a Jim Beam bottle, making some unknowing crowd members nervous. In 2008, "Band #4 from Outer Space," lead by local Edgefield C. Johnston, did a three song rock opera about aliens repopulating with hillbillies in a post-apocalyptic world.

At the 2010 Scramble, one musician smashed his guitar on the Off Broadway stage (See the video at the top of this post). It ultimately caused the Scramble to go on hiatus for a year (and caused the band's disqualification from the competition).

For musicians, Band Scramble is a great way to network. Local legends are paired with greenhorns, allowing contrasting skill levels to mix. Previous combinations also include hardcore drummers with acoustic folk guitarists. The performance possibilities are endless. The night of local and original tunes is bound to keep you laughing and dancing at the same time.

Band Scramble was started in 2004 at the now closed Frederick's Music Lounge by Dana Danger. The event stayed there for a few years before changing hands several times and going through some lulls.

The 2012 Band Scramble is organized by Miles Long, Derek Parker and Deanna Brown, all of whom have participated as musicians in years past. Additional help is provided by Tommy Halloran's Hootenanny at Atomic Cowboy (4140 Manchester Ave), Ellen the Fellon's open mic night at Foam (3359 Jefferson Ave) and the Chippewa Chapel Guitar Circle.

The 2012 Band Lineups are on the next page.