Note: This is from a different potluck.

Saturday's fifth annual installment of the Rock Potluck was as special as Columbus music fans have come to expect, with as many campy covers and unpredictable stylistic twists as any reasonable person could want. My camera's battery was dead, so 1,000 words will have to suffice. (Tireless Columbus rock photographer Jamarr Mays took some awesome shots.) A brief rundown of each band's performance is after the jump:

Note: This is from a different potluck.

Saturday's fifth annual installment of the Rock Potluck was as special as Columbus music fans have come to expect, with as many campy covers and unpredictable stylistic twists as any reasonable person could want. My camera's battery was dead, so 1,000 words will have to suffice. (Tireless Columbus rock photographer Jamarr Mays took some awesome shots.) A brief rundown of each band's performance is after the jump:

Band No. 1: Golden Nugg Matt Reed (Mount Carmel), Dustin White (Moons), Kyle Siegrist (Second State Butchers), Jess Martin (Mexican Standoff), Adam Scoppa (The Main Street Gospel) Considering the lineup, it's no surprise this band was guitar-heavy and more than a little psychedelic. But these wall-of-sound pop songs didn't hail back to the Moons' krautrock sounds or the blues stylings of Mount Carmel so much as 80s indie bands like the Stone Roses, Galaxie 500 and more than a little Jesus and Mary Chain. A cover of the Stones' "I Don't Know Why" ended their set and set the night off right. (EDIT: Apparently this was not a Stones cover, it just sounded like the Stones. The second song was the cover a Buddy Holly tune.)

Band No. 2: The Party Room Joe Peppercorn (The Whiles), Eve Searls (Bird & Flower), Melanie Holm (Total Foxx), Leslie Jankowski (Behind You With Knives), Nick Schuld (Obviouslies) These five set the bar so high that I'm not sure anybody else measured up all night. They opened with a repetitive monster jam that rode a loud-quiet-loud format with guitar, bass, keyboard, drums and even Searls' trademark ukulele. Pretty awesome siren-call duet between Searls and Jankowski at the end there, plus some mystical keyboard magic from Peppercorn. The bass went silent during the heavy parts when it was needed most, unfortunately. They followed that with another Searls/Jankowski duet on Wilson Phillips' righteously earnest "Hold On." Brilliant choice to go with strict drums/bass/keyboards instrumentation on this one really captured the essence of that era. They finished with a Peppercorn-led pop tune that featured Jankowski on violin and Searls on some bizarre electronic autoharp-shaped thing. It stretched two chords nearly into infinity but rarely got boring, even when repeating the sing-along chorus an obnoxious number of times. Reminded me of the Elephant 6 collective. Cool.

Band No. 3: Bellagio Puke Factory Jenny Lute (The Wet Darlings), Canaan Faulkner (The Randys), Jay Gasper (Chris McCoy Band), Ryan Ida (Vug & The Stallions), Jesse Cooper (The Receiver) I've never seen a Potluck band put together such serious songs. It was like Lute had recruited a new backing band for the night. I heard numerous folks mention how talented she was, but I thought the originals were a little too adult contempo for my tastes. I did dig Gasper's pedal steel playing, though, and Faulkner singing Charlie Rich's "Mohair Sam" was quite pleasant.

Band No. 4: Spirit Finger Ryan Horn (Karate Coyote), Ryan Horns (Paper Airplane), Brian Travis (Church of the Red Museum), Dane Terry (Dane Terry), Mark Himmel (The Compressions) This ranked neck and neck with The Party Room as my favorite combo of the night. First, Himmel and Horn traded vocals on a riff rocker that sounded like it could have been ripped from QFM's playlist. That was fine, but they followed with a cover of Billy Joel's "Movin' Out" that put a broad smile on my face. Nothing could have prepared me for their final number, though. Earlier in the day, during their practice session, they recorded a track that sounded like an outsider art take on boy band pop. (Chorus: "I want to be in your whole... heart.") They streamed this wonderful monstrosity through an iPod and accompanied it with a lip-syncing and dance routine worthy of Hugs and Kisses. Splendid, absolutely splendid!

Band No. 5: Concrete Dinosaur Dave Holm (Ugly Stick), Tyler Evans (Super Desserts), Nick Tolford (Nick Tolford & Co.) Aaron Klamut (Jam Division) There was one more dude in this band, but he was a last-minute replacement for Sarah BB from Terribly Empty Pockets, and I'm not sure who he was. (Enlighten me?) His low end held things down more than sufficiently on a raucous cover of "Mama Said Knock You Out," helmed by MC Tolford. Before that, Tolford led off the set by lending his now-famous croon to a classic rock banger. They also did a four-to-the-floor dance punk tune punctuated by Holm's goofy refrain, "C-O-L-U-M-B-Us!" It didn't inspire the dancing it explicity called for, but the LL Cool J bit took care of that problem.

Band No. 6: Battlesnake Corey Fry (Monolithic Cloud Parade), Jacob Wooten (Mr. Fahrenheit and the Lover Boys), Aaron Troyer (Day Creeper), Roseanne Claiborne (Wing and Tusk), Sam Brown (You're So Bossy) I don't remember Battlesnake's first song, but my notes say "rock 'n' roll," so that's good. The next song was certainly rock 'n' roll: a blistering cover of "Helter Skelter" (pun intended). The last tune boasted some sort of humorous title that has escaped my memory, but I know it was like a poppier take on Joy Division with boy-girl vocals from Claiborne and Fry. It must be noted that Sam Brown absolutely slayed on the drums, but what else is new?

Band No. 7: Wicked Liquid Jon Slak (Sick Thrills), Andrew Graham (RTFO Bandwagon), Daniel Hagquist (Phantods), Faith Gehring (Deerhead), Aaron Hibbs (Sword Heaven) Out of all the bands, this one sounded most like a mutant blend of all the members' usual groups. Hibbs played a singing saw and screamed his lungs out during the frequent noise breakdowns. Hagquist's penchant for Eastern European sounds reared its head on the second selection. Slak twisted around up there like David Bowie or something not very punk, pal (I kid)! but mostly screeched like he does with Sick Thrills. He and Hibbs were quite a one-two punch on vocals. There was a rambunctious flair reminiscent of Graham's RFTO work too, but it was balanced out by Deerhood's grave Southern stoicism. (I should note that there was a sixth guy in this lineup playing drums, but I don't know who he was.) They finished with a brilliantly bizarre take on "Silent Night," starting with just vocals and singing saw then abruptly erupting into a explosive hardcore noise fit.

Band No. 8: Pussy Patrol Andy Gallagher (Trains Across the Sea), Joe Camerlengo (This Is My Suitcase), Bob Ray Starker (Whoa Nellie!), David James (Wolf Ram Heart), David Murphy (Ghost Shirt) The night wrapped up with maybe the strangest combination of musicians to take the stage yet. Camerlengo was as gleeful as ever as he and the equally energetic Gallagher attempted to get the crowd to sing along with the very Suitcase-y "A Cat Named Dog." Blaring harmonica, banjo and sax made for an intriguing but somewhat unsatisfying mix. Then James, the worst singer in Columbus rock, led the group through an expansive rock odyssey that Camerlengo obnoxiously kept reviving for coda after coda after coda. Gallagher's accordion was a nice touch, though. They saved the set with a cover of "Sweet Jane" (which Camerlengo admitted he had never heard before, WTF?). If you can't sing, covering a Velvet Underground song seems like a smart move, and it was, as they knocked this one out of the park.