Back in the beginning of January, I wrote about my experiences diving into the world of open mic nights. I had been going around the Dayton area scoping out the hidden gems that are playing in town. At these open mic nights, I have noticed some great music being played by artists and bands that have been playing for some time; they are just fine-tuning their music. I have also seen music played by people who are just starting to get their feet on stage. I wrote about the RnR PlayDate, which is on Sundays at One Eyed Jacks in Fairborn. I also talked about the open mic night that is held on Wednesdays at South Park Tavern on Wayne Avenue in Dayton. There are open mic nights that take place at Blind Bob’s Bar and Trolley Stop, both located at the Oregon District. These four events have given many people opportunities to highlight playing music as a way to let yourself get lost in playing, or a chance to start your journey into the music scene in town. However, there are a couple more weekly open mic events that need to be spotlit as well.
Tuesday nights are owned by The Musicians Co-Op, which is held at Canal Street Tavern. To me and many others, Canal Street is a local crown jewel. I look at Canal Street as Dayton’s version of the legendary CBGB, a concert venue Manhattan that was around from 1973 to 2006. The building hosted great acts from Blondie to The B-52’s to The Ramones. Canal Street, like CBGB, is a place that purely and strictly dedicated to music. The lights are always low, giving the venue a laid-back, intimate atmosphere. The walls are bursting with stories of the music that has been played throughout the years. The unpolished wooden floors have that vintage look and sound to them that others only dare to try to replicate. The Musicians Co-Op is one of the oldest open mics in town, giving many the opportunity to chance to show their talent.
On a recent blisteringly cold Tuesday night, I ventured to the hollow grounds of Canal Street to witness the talent taking the stage that evening. The whole evening felt like an episode of ‘Storytellers’, with each act telling the stories behind their music. Each performer poured emotion into each note that they played. The first act I saw was Kettering native and teacher Colleen Badenhop. Her piano play was airy and beautiful, with an old soul flowing from the keys. The lyrics were about hardships. It was emotional to sit there and hear lyrics of broken hearts, and hardships that people face. Badenhop even did a stunning version of Extreme’s “More Than Words”. The next act was the host of the night E. Ryan Roth. Roth’s singing was very Alice In Chain’s Layne Staley-dense, moody vocals with haunting harmonies. He had a song that dove into the addiction of caffeine that was simply lasting. The music had a psychedelic echo to it. It was a performance that will keep me thinking about it for a while. The next performance was from the petite, Southern belle Victoria Bumgardner. She started to change the pace of the evening with her folk/country hymns that got the crowd participating throughout her set, singing classic songs ‘Evangeline’, ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ and ‘Ophelia’. Bumgardener’s vocals were very Loretta Lynn-like. Amazingly talented, Bumgardner played bigger than her height reaches (which isn’t even close to 5 feet). She gave the crowd the chance to see her impeccable personality, which is playful, open and free. The last performer that I saw at the Co-Op was Trey Stone. Stone brought a bassist and drummer for his set, which was different from what everyone else was doing. He mentioned that he has been currently working on an album (a Kickstarter project that met its goal) for the past 6 months. He played some songs from the album, which had a jazz feel to them. The crowd was glued to Stone’s band- with the fierce piano play, the double bass being strummed with looseness, and the snare drum and cymbals adding a touch of slickness. Fans of Ben Folds Five would have enjoyed this performance. After the set from Stone, I can’t wait to see how the finished album will sound.
Another great open mic that is starting to find its footing in the Dayton area is happening at Tumbleweed Connection in the Oregon District. Tumbleweed Connection’s bar situated in the middle of our building and there is another bar upstairs on the balcony that looks over 5th Street and all its beautifulness. The structure of the building is very much has a resemblance of one of the fantastic venues that wait on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Tumbleweed Connection just adds another flavor to the Oregon District.
On Wednesday nights, Tumbleweed Connection, along with hosts Barefoot Dan and Dana Farley, gives people the opportunity to come up the stage and grace everyone with their musical abilities. Dan and Dana provide drums and a bass. The hosts provide a guitar amp. All you have to do is come to the venue and play. Tumbleweed Connection is a great place to play for any music genre. The bar patrons always give their undivided attention and will give support for all performers. You never know who will be coming to this open mic. When the musical Shrek was in town recently, some of the musicians from the show came and played a little, and hung out with everyone.
The Musicians Co-Op at Canal Street and Tumbleweed Connection are just two more open mics that you can expand your desire to play music to a crowd if you are beginning, or for the veteran musicians a chance to get out in town and continue perfected their craft. No matter which one you go to, just remember one thing-have fun.
For a list of all upcoming Open Mic Nights in Dayton, just click the link.