Every night this week, we’re hitting a different trivia night at a different bar to determine — once and for all — which is the king of local trivia nights. Using an advanced metric mostly based around how cheap it is to drink there and how much we hate the crowd, we’ll bring you the answers you probably weren’t looking for: how stiff is the competition? Are prizes worth awkwardly hanging out at Lipstick Lounge on a Thursday? What’s the vibe like? Do the judges enjoy our cat drawings on the answer sheets? Will the bartenders get mad if you show up for trivia and not buy any drinks (the answer to that one is “yes” for all occasions, FYI).
Our first night was, of course, Rock & Roll Team Trivia at Mercy Lounge. How could it not be?
Game: Rock & Roll Team Trivia
Venue: Mercy Lounge (1 Cannery Row; Downtown)
Time: Mondays at 7:00, doors open at 6:30
Type: Music Only (but not necessarily just rock music)
Paraphrased Sample Questions:
- Today of the birthday of which singer who had hits with the songs “Hello” and “All Night Long”?
- David Bowie only had two number one hits in the United States. Name one of them.
- Which of the following artists has not appeared on The Muppet Show: Debbie Harry, Paul Simon, James Taylor or Alice Cooper?
What You Can Win: Guest list spots to Mercy/Cannery shows; $10, $25 or $50 in bar cash (only redeemable at trivia); other prizes dependent on sponsorships.
Hosted by Mercy Lounge manager Drew Mischke, blogger Ashley Spurgeon, Tennesseean music editor Dave Paulson and — occasionally — local rock cheerleader (and now podcaster) Janet Timmons, Rock & Roll Team Trivia has a special place in our hearts. We hope you’ll understand if we have a huge bias towards Mercy’s trivia night but we do. This blog might not exist without them and we don’t want to consider that horrible parallel universe.
Rock & Roll Trivia works more or less like you would expect. There are a total of six rounds in the game, with the first, third and fifth being typical Q&A trivia rounds. They’ll give you categories like “The Year in Rock” or “And Now He’s Dead” and you can wager points on each question (10, 20, 30, 40 and double that in the fifth round). You can only use each value once in a round, so choose wisely.
The second and fourth rounds are Name That Tune rounds, which we are particularly shitty at. Sometimes they’ll give you a category, but most often the hosts will simply play a bit of a song and you have to guess at the title and artist of that song. This week, the categories were “The Joy of Sax” and “The Joy of Sax II” and we tanked both of them, as we’re assholes and generally hate the saxophone unless Morphine is involved.
The last round is a Jeopardy-style final wager, where you can double your final score (or, more likely, lose everything). Often you’ll get a clue as to what the final question will be on Twitter, which usually ends up being something along the lines of “list the following Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees in chronological order of their induction” or “here’s a list of five artists, you tell us if they’re dead or Canadian.”
In addition to the regular rounds, the hosts award prizes for best team name and best wrong answer, so even if you’re bad you could possibly still win something. Past winners for us include Danzig in the Dark, Ream Theater and Cervix-a-Lot. Generally speaking, if you’re clever, topical or offensive, you’ve got a good shot at the gold.
We pretty much consider Rock & Roll Trivia to be the gold standard for trivia games at this point. Maybe we’ll be swayed by one of the other nights this week, but at this point it’s looking unlikely. The thing about trivia at Mercy is that the hosts don’t treat it like life and death. It’s dorks answering questions with other dorks and we all know it, so why not treat the game as kind of a goof? Why not crack nerdy jokes about Clarence Clemmons and hate on American Idol contestants from Nashville? Snark and all things off-color are generally encouraged, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
The competition is pretty tough. Your main opponents are going to be Team Second Place and The Fucking Champs, if they get their shit together and mount a comeback. The key to beating them is enlisting a nine-piece indie pop band as ringers. Otherwise, good luck. They both roll eight people deep and all work in the music business. They’re also old (you heard us!), so they get all of those stupid questions about the 70s right. That’s fine, we get all the questions about Ke$ha right, so it’s about even.
Food & Drink
Drink specials during trivia are fine for groups (hence “team” trivia) but not great for solo trivia warriors. You can get six beers for the price of five during trivia and Yeunglings are discounted during 8 Off 8th but the two deals don’t overlap anymore.
The cheapest alcohol at the bar is probably PBR or something of similar low quality. There’s also usually some kind of bomb shot that’s marketed as “Seth’s favorite” for 5 bucks. Drew encourages drinking Calimochos, a Spanish cocktail combining cola and red wine, but that’s entirely up to you. It was good in Pamplona, why wouldn’t it be good in Nashville?
Mercy offers an assortment of hot dogs and other typical bar foods. We’ve only tried the Chicago dog and it was good for what it was. It didn’t make us sick or anything and that’s all we really ask of a hot dog. They also have some vegetarian options like hummus, if you’re not into mystery meat.
Overall Difficulty: Moderate/Hard
How’d We Do?: Terribly! We went into the final round with 400 points (5th place or so) and screwed up the whole thing. Who the hell knew that Pete Best was still alive, anyway?
Would We Come Back?: Absolutely. We’ll see you next week.