February 14th and 15th mark the fourth anniversary of the Dayton Does Dayton showcase, this year at Gilly’s. We sat down with the organizer of the D-does-D Fest, Louie Wood Jr., a life-long Daytonian at an area restaurant to talk about the event, the history of Dayton Does Dayton, and plans for the future.
Starting as a club dj and music fan inspired by underground dance shows and nightclubs in Dayton and Columbus, Louie was moved to start his own event where music, avant-garde performance, and creativity combined in a gestalt of music-inspired experience. “Dayton has always been a fertile ground for music. People love the underground in Dayton.” Following the influence of Tony Wilson with the 24 hour Party People movement that led to Factory Records and so many alternative bands and music, Louie followed the example of building community in the city of Dayton. “If we bring people who love music, dancing, and new experience, then we are really building something that matters.”
Given a lack of progressive music opportunities in the city, like many Dayton music fans, Louie contributed to the effort in Dayton to establish more opportunities for bands and musicians. The Do-It-Yourself attitude and aesthetic common to the post-punk movement of the ’80s alternative music scene nationally (The Smiths, The Cure, Depeche Mode) and locally (GBV, The Breeders, Branniac) led to such innovations as the Dayton Dirt Collective, Canal Street Tavern, and Dayton Does Dayton.
“We were trying to do something that was more than just something to do,” Louie told DaytonMostMetro on a sunny yet all too cold January 13th, “we brought like-minds together from around the area to create a music experience.” And people appreciate the effort, Louie noted: “Even in a middle of a blizzard, we can have 100 people show up.”
Without resources several years ago, a collective of musicians, performers, and people looking for something more from the music scene came together. In the beginning this started as a band-focused tribute show. “Our first tribute show was for The Smiths – our very first show was a Smiths/Morrissey tribute we called Every Day is Like Sunday, and the project grew organically from that idea of trying to introduce music lovers to indie, local and new music.” The theme of covering other bands was used purposely as a creative device to introduce people to music that was not offered in the shrinking number of music shops and the increasing dominance of malls and the alienating and haphazard experience of online music shopping. “We discovered that you could use songs and bands that people were familiar with to also introduce them to new songs, new music.” So, the idea of a combination of covers and originals became central to the Dayton Does Dayton approach as a way to bring people together in community through music. The Dayton Does Dayton experience had from the beginning only original bands performing both their own music and doing covers in the band’s own style. This is an important part of the experience, doing covers as a way to introduce the bands and their sound, not being cover bands.
In true punk rock style, people contributed time and energy to build an event that while keeping a format that includes both originals and covers, still remains true to the original idea of creating a space for new music. Louie recalled the development of what becomes known as Dayton Does Dayton: “Jay Madewell worked as a stage manager and contributed his drum kit and bass for the weekend so that set changes between bands could be fast. Rich Reuter helped organize this first event.” As Louie told us about the coalescing around his idea, he noted that Chris Wright made posters that captured people’s attention — all of this in order to fill an untapped need in the city. “People pulled together.” He went on to note that the effort, several years later remains focused on the community-focused organizing approach. “This is not a show built on a single crowd, we avoid cliques, and we want to remain true to the idea of bringing bands that people may not have heard of together alongside established bands and musicians. People come to these shows for the music. And that is the reason for Dayton Does Dayton.”
In order to present so many bands in a short time – the fifth festival has over twenty acts – “we ask bands to practice two to three months before the show. We keep things tight. Each band has the same amount of time thirty to thirty-five minutes with a short ten minute switch in-between bands.” “Bands understand. Musicians understand. They know – and they need to know and understand the process that we are following. We want to show as much music as we can in a short amount of time.”
And the approach has worked. Many bands, estimates range to over thirty percent of original area bands have found opportunities to play at the Dayton Does Dayton show which creates connections between music lovers and bands doing original and creative music. Bands like Broken Lights, Gathering Mercury, Sleep Fleet, and many more have found that Dayton Does Dayton is an opportunity to make connections to the community. Louie noted that fact is one of the key to the longevity of the festival. “Every band is different. Lots of genres are represented in what we do.” This is not just an accident but remains part of the purpose of the festival. “If we are trying to introduce great music and bands to the city, we need to create an opportunity for bands that sound different. We cannot just have one band after another play who all sound the same. Originality, creative differences between bands, sounds… that is important.”
If this sounds like a demanding opportunity for bands, it is not. Most of the bands who are contacted stay on the bill. “Most of the bands stay with us. Very few bands will drop off the bill. And that is important. We get general public interest in the bands. They bring their friends to the show and they not only see their friends play but they see other bands. Even musicians become introduced to something new.”
Thinking about the event in February, Louie noted that there are several new and important changes for the Dayton Does Dayton show: “this is our first time playing Gilly’s. For the past five years we have been at the Canal Street Tavern. So, this show marks a change for us. We have a new venue, several new hosts [Niki Dakota, Rev. Cool, the Dean of Dayton music Mr. Don Thrasher] and even a secret guest MC.” Louie noted that the secret master of ceremonies, “if you are there it will blow people’s minds.” This effort to evolve is as central to Dayton Does Dayton, as to the music performed itself. Louie also noted that this is the only festival that has since it started incorporates a full array of experiences. He noted that Dayton Does Dayton will not only have 20 bands but also belly dancing — courtesy of The Fire Lillie’s — and burlesque featuring Miss Theresa Burlesque Presentation with Veronica Laine as part of the show. “We can’t just do the same thing each show with the same bands. We have to evolve. It like the saying that people not from here [Dayton] say about us: ‘They keep truckin’ in Dayton.”
When asked about the future of Dayton Does Dayton, Louie noted that he is organizing an R.E.M. tribute tentatively titled ‘What’s the Frequency, Dayton?’, more 80s rewind shows, more local tributes (The Breeders, Guided by Voices, Branniac, The Ohio Players), and seeking out the mix of creative music, performance, and experience that have been a hallmark of the D-does-D experiences of the past. “We are the only show that I know who has belly dancers, MCs, so many different bands, and more.” In summing up the Dayton Does Dayton experience, Louie noted that “We want to continue to provide a unique opportunity for bands. The Gilly’s show demonstrates that fact. “The upcoming show at Gilly’s is the first time some bands will have performed in that space. If we can help create those connections, then that helps move the level of the music experience in Dayton.”
“The reason to come to the show is simple. Experience the bands.”
Gilly’s, downtown, 132 S Jefferson Street in downtown Dayton
Friday and Saturday Feb 14th and 15th, 2014
$7 per night, with free parking.
The show begins 8:00pm sharp on both nights.
Dayton Does Dayton is presented by Louie wood Jr aka DJ MisterKid/MidWest Promo, and Mick Montgomery/Canal Street Concerts.
Approximately thirty minute set per band/musician, with a short ten minute wait in between each band/performer. Dayton Does Dayton will be hosted by Rev. Cool, Niki Dakota, Don Thrasher, and a SECRET GUEST MC for this show.
Dayton Ohio bands at this event will be doing their originals, and unique covers/spins of other Dayton Ohio bands that have influenced them, both from the past and present. The covers include international hit songs, local hits, and local favorites. Louie noted that: “We have the taste and styles of all kinds of Dayton music at this show. It is the only show like it in the world, literally.”
Featuring live band performances and more by:
The Repeating Arms
William The Accountant
The Broken Lights
The Leap Years
Free Fall Theory
Emma Woodruff And The Ruffians
the Curious Sound
Reyna with Dana Farley
Curse of Cassandra
Dave Frickin Berry with Adam West
Kevin Heider and band.
The Fire Lillie’s Belly Dancing Presentation (Friday)
Miss Theresa Burlesque Presentation with Veronica Laine (Friday)
This is a DJ Mister Kid Presents MidWest Promo/Mick Montgomery/Canal Street Concerts Annual Event
More information can be found on the Dayton Does Dayton webpage!
Fifth Street Deli
Amanda Barbosa Photography LLC