City is as city does

Dayton Does Dayton showcases local grooves

By Mike Ritchie

There is a rich love and passion for the Dayton music scene that has become evident in the last half decade, as promoter Louie Wood Jr. has taken over the reins for the Dayton Does Dayton festival. Wood has turned DDD into a juggernaut of local talent playing their best songs and covering their favorite scene contemporaries. This year is Wood’s sixth go-around as the brains behind the two-day show.

But for this, he needed Canal Street Tavern founder Mick Montgomery’s blessing.

Wood initially got involved after Montgomery explained the concept of the original DDD, which Montgomery promoted—a one-day songwriters event. Wood had a vision, and his prior DJ and promoter experience taught him dependability and reliability, earning him Montgomery’s trust and respect.

“This is Louie’s baby—he’s made it into an annual event,” Montgomery affirms. “He works hard to be professional about how he promotes it and approaches it as a two-day event every winter, and, conceptually, it’s worthy of that.”

The festival began at Canal Street Tavern with 20-40 top local musicians writing songs, playing all genres with a mutual shared respect.

“The concept was incredible and everyone influenced each other,” Montgomery recalls. “It was the greatest respect to learn other’s music. That was the basic significant driving force of the concept in the first place.”

Five years later, it’s going strong and still growing.

The multi-genre event has featured everything from punk to country, acoustic to rock. Stories of bands going to other bands’ rehearsals supporting “new versions” of their song have been told. Bands can do “hits” or songs from famous Dayton bands, but most choose locals. The level of diversity is similar to Warped Tour or Lollapalooza.

The weekend will feature several acoustic artists including Kali Muse and former Miss Ohio Alyssa Hanson, blue grass, indie rock such as Beesly and Super Zero, and the haunting folk acoustics of Mountain Berries.

“It really shows what the Dayton scene has to offer,” Kali Muse says of the festival. “Gilly’s is one of those venues you really want to play. Miss Ohio is playing my night—really excited to see what she’s bringing to the table.”

“Playing each others’ music is a brilliant way to nurture local talent,” Alyssa Hanson says. “I am looking forward to honoring the musicians I’ve shared a stage with this past year through the covers I’ll be performing. It will be a rewarding experience.”

Reyna Spears, who performs Saturday playing piano and keys, says, “Dayton Does Dayton Rocks! DDD is a music festival in which songwriter’s shine light on one another which amplifies all the talent and inspiration that makes Dayton so special.”

Beesly will make their return this year. “We’re counting on a good reaction,” singer and bassist Kyle Cloud predicts. “The best part is surprising people that haven’t heard us yet.”

Since taking over, Wood has done all the legwork, including changing the original all-covers concept to 35-minute sets, half covers and half originals. DDD’s popularity has caused some bands to commit a year in advance. And agree not to play any Dayton shows three weeks before or after to add anticipation and interest.

Wood’s personal approach stems from pride in every show’s organization, promotion and execution. He’s also helped create original bands by encouraging cover bands to learn original material to play his shows.

Some musicians starting out have asked him “Why so serious?” When they perform at the event for the first time, they get it.

“It’s a serious event, and I promote it as a serious event,” Wood says. “Bands that put the most effort into the show get the most out of it.”

Wood leads by example, giving bands the tools and a professional environment. Younger bands see and experience a well-run machine, playing to a full, appreciative house.

“New, younger bands take it seriously,” Montgomery assures. “They tell people they’re proud to be involved.”

Wood says at least 30 different Dayton Does Dayton event posters have been made. It’s the effort that’s important. The band that has the most heart behind it is the band he wants to work with.

“There are no egos or openers. Every band is a headliner each night. Come and impress the hell out of everyone,” Montgomery challenges with a grin.

Dayton Does Dayton takes place Friday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at Gilly’s 132 S. Jefferson St. in Dayton. Admission is $7 each night. Parking is free. Each night features a Singer/Song Writers in the Round pre-show jam. Friday’s partial lineup includes a bluegrass jam, Back Talk Blues Band, Best for Last and Shakertown Rock. Saturday includes Kali Muse, former Miss Ohio’s Alyssa Hanson, Beesly, Wild Mountain Berries and Jersey Joe’s band. For a full list of bands or for more information, please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at

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