On Wayne Avenue, just about a couple of miles away from the Oregon District lays South Park Tavern. The tavern was introduced to me when I first started to becoming a Dayton native. The selection of beer and micros that South Park offers is incredible. The taps are always in rotation, which can always make any avid beer fan come back time and time again. Also, the establishment has been labeled by many to have some of the best pizza in the entire Dayton area. What makes South Park so charming, however, is the atmosphere. The people who work there are engaging, and nice. Its no shock to anyone that the people who visit soon become good friends with the staff. Patrons also become friends with each other. They share their thoughts of the beer being served, their world views, and stories about their journey thru life among other topics.
South Park Tavern also hosts music on a regular basis. On May 19th, the tavern hosted two local acts, Todd the Fox, and Sam at Eleven. Anatomy of Frank, originating from the state of Virginia, also performed this night.
First up was Todd the Fox. Alongside Todd during the set was Lisa Bunny, who played on a washboard. Yes-a washboard. The crowd wasn’t sure what to think when they saw Todd, dressed in all black (vest, shirt, pants) and Lisa, holding a washboard that looked like it was well broken in. And that’s exactly how they wanted it.
The minute Todd strung the first chord on his guitar, you felt like the tavern became an intimate venue for bluegrass and folk. Todd’s southern voice was textbook blues and soul. Lisa strummed on the washboard as flawless as you can get. Both played fast, and played loud. Their chemistry was impeccable. Both fed of each other’s emotions. Todd and Lisa played some of his original work, including one that I’m thinking about titled ‘I’m Feeling Fine’. The duo also added some blues-injected covers of The White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’ and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Pride Joy’. You just could see and sense the two were just having the time of their lives. Both playing in front of packed establishment. Both realizing that we were in the palm of their hands. At the beginning of the night, Todd and Lisa came in with just a guitar, and washboard. At the end of their set, they left with their two instruments, along with everyone’s appreciation and attention.
The second act of the evening was Anatomy of Frank. The band, as mentioned earlier, hailed from the state of Virginia. As the lights turned to a very low dim, the band came out to having a festive display of lights on their fingers. Anatomy of Frank goes outside of the box when it comes to their sound. Their show was jam-packed with experimental sounds, with the banjo, and synthesizers overlapping each other so perfectly. Their possibilities were endless with their play. The band took the audience into a fantasy. All of us in the crowd and jumped onto clouds and took a flight into the sky. Their songs were catchy. ‘Saturday Morning’ is still tossing around in my head to this day. The finale of their set was wild and free. The lead singer started to climb over the
tables and chairs. Another member of the band grabbed a drum and started wailing on it. Wild display of freedom. Dayton showed them the love they deserved.
Last act to hit the stage at the tavern was Sam at Eleven. In April, I saw these guys play at Blind Bob’s for a benefit show. It was their first live in over a year, and they had no signs of rust. And this night didn’t differ from that night in April. Sam at Eleven plays effortlessly. Their music has such a way of grabbing you and not letting you go. The band’s broad punk feel has you almost convinced that they listened to the band’s before them (Iggy Pop, Alkaline Trio), and perfected their spin of the sound. One thing I have noticed from watching two of their sets is just how raw they are. The emotion coming from them when they playing each song are hard to touch. Their songs, which are about their lives, their families, are some oft he most catchiest I have ever heard in a local band. They are simply just cool guys that love playing music together.
South Park Tavern had three amazing bands take their stage, and took the crowd on a journey thru all kinds of different types of music. From bluegrass to punk, the night seemed to blend together beautifully. The three acts gave praise to one another, and admired what they witnessed. Overall, the night was awe-inspiring. Truly, the night was one of those nights that had Dayton’s best foot forward.