The Synthesizer Chili Cook-Off started as a lark in 2011 but has grown into a reliably fun (and bizarre) annual event. There’s something satisfying and lighthearted about having four musicians cook up some chili and then perform original “sonic interpretations” of their culinary creations. The Synth-Chili Cook-Off celebrates its fifth year Sunday at the Empty Bottle. Defending champion Travis Thatcher takes on Wesley Groves, Tyson Torstensen, and Peter Speer.
This unusual competition has become one of my favorite new wintertime activities, and I’m not alone in that sentiment. The past couple Synth-Chili Cook-Offs have been packed, with people assembling in odd, zigzagging lines around the Empty Bottle to wait for a chili sample during each set. I recommend showing up on time to get the full breadth of the competition, and to make sure you get a taste of each chili—occasionally supplies can run out. The whole thing starts at 7 PM; tickets are $5.