Holidayton returns to Blind Bob’s for ninth year of holiday rock
By Tim Anderl
If you are wondering whether Santa can cram a big night of local rock ‘n’ roll into his bag of goodies this year, your ears should already be aglow and visions of boys with guitars in tight pants should be dancing in your head. Already in its ninth year, Holidayton, which takes place at Blind Bob’s on December 23 at 8 p.m., offers a Christmas season kickoff filled with the best performances by local indie rockers on two stages.
“We put together the first HoliDayton with the idea of doing a fun show with a lot of friends, and featuring both bands and solo artists,” Mark McMillon, frontman for the Story Changes, Hawthorne Heights guitarist and Holidayton organizer said. “We’ve been touring pretty hard for a few years now and for us (Mark and The Story Changes bandmate Chris “Poppy” Popadak), it’s become a really great way to cap off the year at home with our friends. So we’ve made it an annual event.”
In the past, the event has featured performances from internationally recognized Partisan Records artists Heartless Bastards, which is helmed by Austin-by-way-of-Dayton transplant Erica Wennerstrom, included celebrated Cincinnati indie pop group the Seedy Seeds, and delivered a solo set from Hawthorne Heights mouthpiece and guitarist JT Woodruff.
“Dayton has so much talent and we’ve been honored to have so many friends be a part of the event over the years,” McMillon bragged.
McMillon said that this year’s event will be similar to previous years, in that he’s curated an evening that offers the best and brightest bands and solo artists the region has to offer.
“I’m excited about seeing some newer bands this year like King Elk (featuring Dayton City Paper Music Editor Kyle Melton) and the New Old-Fashioned,” McMillon added.
McMillon said that part of the appeal of the event is the opportunity it presents for Oregon District regulars and local fanboys and girls to commune with in-town friends and family, as well as those visiting from out-of-town for the holidays. And the event has provided McMillon with some of his own best and brightest holiday memories.
“We’ve been so fortunate to have really good luck at all of them,” McMillon said. “My personal favorite memory is during my set with the Story Changes in 2009. It just ended up being one of the most fun sets we’ve ever played. “
In addition to McMillon’s band the Story Changes, who are coming off a flagship year of national tours and positive music press coverage, 2011’s Holidayton will feature the sounds of Dayton’s indie rock powerhouse Oh Condor, the energetic, college rock friendly Simply Waiting, the pizza parlour boogie of C. Wright’s Parlour Tricks, and the acoustic stylings of Joe Anderl’s the 1984 Draft, local promoter and musician Brandon Hawk, and JT Woodruff of Hawthorne Heights, among others.
When asked about his personal wish list, McMillon said that he’s asked Santa to deliver a stunning set by one band in particular.
“I’m excited to see Oh Condor and hear their new songs. They’re a great band!” McMillon said.
Oh Condor have seen a big year in 2011, which brought a name change from their former 8-bit Revival moniker and writing sessions for a new record. Guitarist/keyboardist/sometime vocalist Tim Krug said the quartet are excited for their annual Holidayton performance.
“This will be our first time playing Holidayton, and it’ll be a lot of fun sharing the [stage] with so many acts we’ve never played with before,” Krug said. “We’re expecting a nice mix of old pals and new faces.”
Though McMillon’s The Story Changes haven’t planned any exclusive merchandise or revealed big surprises for the event, they are offering a holiday greeting that is sure to delight friends and newcomers to the event – he has promised every attendee a free high five. And we know that high fives, and a night a festive rock and roll and fellowship are on every boy and girl’s wish list whether they’ve been naughty or they’ve been nice.
Holidayton 2011 takes place Friday, December 23 at Blind Bob’s. The show begins at 8 p.m. and features music by the Story Changes, Invitation to a Bullfight, Oh Condor, King Elk, Simply Waiting, C. Wright’s Parlour Tricks, JT Woodruff, the 1984 Draft, Brandon Hawk and the New Old-Fashioned. Find Holidayton on Facebook.
Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at TimAnderl@DaytonCityPaper.com.