The 48-Hour Band Contestival: Random Strangers Forced to Make Music Together

The names went in the hat. The names came out of the hat. And now dozens of Twin Cities musicians of various skill levels, experience, and expertise find themselves thrust into ad-hoc bands, made up of complete strangers, and tasked with writing several original songs that will be performed live—before both a heckle-happy audience and a panel of celebrity judges—on Saturday night at the Hexagon Bar. It’s happening right now, people. Practice spaces the city over are buzzing with PBR-spiked adrenaline as I type.

This is the madness of the Anti-Civ Records 48-Hour Band Contestival. It’s the musical cousin to the equally splendid, equally serendipitous 48-Hour Film Project. And now that it’s in its eighth iteration, musicians seem to be approaching the Contestival with a bit more strategizing than in years past. (One participant we spoke with had a smattering of universal chord progressions at the ready, a set of punk-rock skeleton keys to be slipped.)

Prizes—and trophies—are involved. And it’s rumored that St. Paul’s Heimie’s Haberdashery has specifically requested that its gift certificate go to the last-place band. The memo note is to read: “Because you suck.”

So. Saturday’s show could be terrible. It will probably be cringe-inducing at times. But it will also be courageous, funny, original, and, to no small degree, inspiring. You may just find yourself wanting to form a band.

Anti-Civ Records 48-Hour Band Contestival
Saturday, May 26
9:30 p.m.
Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave., Mpls.