Local music: PBR’s events mastermind Bobby Miller

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
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From the December 6, 2012 edition

Lots of people have great ideas. Bobby Miller brings great ideas to life.

Miller has been playing in quirky Columbus bands like Swimsuit Edition, Super Desserts and Lord Hall for a decade. He’s been throwing unique local music events almost as long, from the sprawling Megacity Music Marathon to a multi-disciplinary tribute called the Kenny Rogers Roaster.

His inventiveness and initiative landed him a job as Pabst Blue Ribbon’s Columbus-area marketing manager in 2008. Now PBR’s name is attached to some of the coolest concerts in town, including two this weekend at Skully’s.

Friday is 80’s Nite Live, in which 10 bands will each pay tribute to a year in the 1980s. An ’80s costume contest and an ’80s photo booth complete the experience.

Saturday is the eighth annual Rock Potluck, Miller’s oldest and most beloved tradition. Forty musicians from 40 different bands will be reshuffled into new groups for the night.

“I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that experience was their favorite experience ever playing music,” Miller said.

These are awesome ideas, but it doesn’t take a genius to pull them off.

“Not to sound condescending, but anybody can pretty much do whatever you want to do,” Miller said. “You just have to do it. Make the phone calls.”

Between friends and colleagues, Miller has a deep well for inspiration. Two Cow Garage’s Shane Sweeney brought the Rock Potluck concept to Miller after attending Denton, Texas’ Rock Lottery. 80’s Nite Live (and last spring’s PlayDATE: The 1970s) sprung from a similar PBR event in Portland.

“I always end up taking these ideas and then slightly tweaking them to fit what I think will be successful in Columbus,” Miller said.

He’s good at that, and at getting people to show up early; both shows offer free PBR from 9-10 p.m.