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Feels like the first time

One Night Band could get a little messy
By MATT PARISH  |  August 25, 2009

SET LOOSE "All we're expecting is fun and chaos," says One Night Band co-organizer Ashley Willard. "To me, it's like music summer camp."
One thing you don't realize when you vow to support local music is that it involves sitting through the same bands month after month as they burn through drink tickets, rearrange their sets, and stall the record release. Don't get me wrong — it's an honor. But sometimes the faithful could use a break.

The blog jockeys at Boston Band Crush are doing their part to keep things interesting this Saturday, August 29, when they throw the first ever One Night Band, a day-long rock-band key party that should spawn eight new outfits by the time the doors open at the Middle East that night.

"All we're expecting is fun and chaos," says Crush founder Ashley Willard, a print and Web designer by day. "To me, it's like music summer camp." I catch the organizers — along with Willard, Crush is run by Michael Epstein and Sophia Cacciola — as they're on their way to a promo spot at WZLX in Brighton. Here's their explanation of the rules. This Saturday at 10 am, the 40 participants and the organizers will meet up and dole out band assignments in a drawing. The participants will then lock themselves into practice spaces and basements in a kind of Breakfast Club–detention vision quest to hurry through introductions, backstories, and creative differences in time to pop out a set of three new songs and one cover before the 7 pm load-in. No tryouts, no demo tapes, no flyers at the record shop looking for chops and pro gear. Easy.

This isn't the first time the idea has been tried. Chris Weber has been organizing "Rock Lotteries" in Texas and Seattle since 1997. And Boston saw one last December when Tyler Derryberry of Ho-Ag (my own band) rallied friends (one of them being me) into one-night-only side projects. None of those had this one's size or time restraints, however, and that could produce some really stunning train wrecks — with a left-field-team-up triumph thrown in here and there.

As for the talent pool, it skews toward rugged indie rock, but there are several wild cards in the mix, like pissed-off metal torch bearer Duncan Wilder Johnson, and Harry and the Potters' Joe DeGeorge, and mandolin plucker Jimmy Ryan.

"I think people are excited to do something different from their normal band," says Cacciola. "Duncan's already said, 'I don't want to do metal, I don't want to do screaming.' "

I pass notes to a few participants to get the scoop on any prejudice or black-market lotto-spot action. Nothing so far on the latter, but it turns out there is an early target for good-natured trash talking.

"I can't wait to see the Luxury guys in this thing fall," says Henry Beguiristain, the guitarist from mid-tempo-anthem peddlers Aloud. "They opened for Coldplay, won the Rumble, and headlined the Paradise within a year — they're due for a ride on the fail train." Brendan Boogie, from Scamper and the Best Intentions, mentions that he'd rather have his Achilles' tendons sliced than get paired with Luxury frontguy Jason Dunn. Oh dear.

The One Night Band was designed from the beginning as the official coming-out-party for the fledgling blog. "We had originally planned it all to happen on Valentine's Day," says Willard. "It would be our debutante party, which fed more into the Band Crush thing. That's actually where the blog name came from in the first place."

"Whatever happens at the show," says Epstein, "we're not expecting perfection,"

But if it happens?

"If there's a hit," he jokes, "we get 15 percent of the royalties."

ONE NIGHT BAND | Middle East downstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | August 29 at 9 pm | 18+ | $10 advance/$12 doors [all proceeds benefit East Boston community non-profit Zumix | 617.864.EAST or

Related: Various artists | Winter Is Cold, Slideshow: Bajofondo at Middle East downstairs, Slideshow: Joe Budden at Middle East Downstairs, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Coldplay, Michael Epstein, Jason Dunn,  More more >
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 See all articles by: MATT PARISH

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