There’s a nondescript 1-story cinder block building hidden away between some warehouses and a community garden in Dayton, Ohio. For most of its life, it was a 4-bay garage where taxicabs were repaired, with some office space where said taxicabs were dispatched; just a weird little drab building in a neighborhood with other weird little drab buildings. Nothing special.
Several years ago, some enterprising creative types took ownership of the place; they removed the auto repair lifts and traded them for new ductwork. They put a quaint little makeshift bar at one end of the room, and put in some castoff vinyl booth seats and a menagerie of chairs, some lights, a stage, and a little PA system. Honestly, in the light of day, it doesn’t look like much. Looks, though, can be deceiving.
Last night, four bands, mine included, full of friends, played a special gig at The “Old” Yellow Cab building. Four bands, set up in a circle, playing unamplified acoustic instruments, trading songs usually played much louder and sweatier, with the audience in the middle. A surprisingly large crowd showed up. The place is just concrete floors and walls and a metal roof; it could have been an unmitigated disaster, a cacophony. Instead, people were quiet and respectful, the bands fed off the vibe, and, as a result, everyone was treated to a fantastic evening.
Here’s the thing: this weird little hard to find former garage ROUTINELY has magical nights like this. Ladyfest, Sideshow, Winter Folk Fest, art shows, album release parties…the list goes on and on. Last night, as folks filtered out, after the last unamplified chord faded away and the crowd had joined the bands in a big singalong that made your heart swell, I overheard a woman ask Jeff Opt, one of the guiding lights of Yellow Cab, what she could do to support the place. He said, “Just keep coming out to the shows.”
It’s that simple, really. These are anxious, heavy times we’re living in. If people “just keep coming out“, keep supporting Art whenever and wherever it happens, they create a warm little community that helps keep all the Dark away. Every town should be so lucky to have such a community. I know Dayton is.
About Guest Contributor Tod Weidner:
A lifelong Miami Valley resident, Tod grew up in Ludlow Falls before moving to Dayton in the early 1990s. Tod graduated from Milton-Union High School and Sinclair Community College, and also attended the Columbus College Of Art & Design until his scholarship ran out and he moved home to pursue the lucrative career of a struggling musician. Tod has been heavily involved in the Dayton Music Scene for over 20 years, as both a solo performer and a member of such bands as The Motel Beds, Shrug, The American Static, and Set The Controls, to name just a few. When he’s not playing, listening to, or reading about music, Tod keeps busy by fixing up his house, where he and his wife Patrice live under the strict and watchful authority of their two cats, Mikey and Joey.
Tune in to WYSO Thursday’s from 8-11pm to Tod’s show, The Jewel Case, a weekly celebration of all manner of musical goodness: deep cuts, forgotten treasures, and curiosities. Plus, a new theme each show spanning all genres, eras and locales.