Gimme shelter

The Nightbeast and friends play benefit for Daybreak shelter

By Gary Spencer

Photo: [l-r] Steve Sturm, Brian Whitten, Vincent Arceo, Alex Todd and Kelly Hanus of Swimming With Sharks

We’re in the midst of yet another holiday season here in Dayton – one in which, like every year, the adage “better to give than receive” is a key rule to remember. The holiday season is also a proper time to have and attend a damn good party or two. This coming Friday, you can have the best of both holiday worlds, the ability to give AND be part of a good party, by attending the Let’s Do Something, Downtown charity concert at Poelking Lanes, which benefits Dayton’s Daybreak emergency shelter for at-risk and/or homeless youth aged 10-19 and the many programs Daybreak provides.

This benefit is the brainchild of Nick Testa, vocalist for popular Dayton-based hip-hop and rock “party band” The Nightbeast, a band that regularly packs the clubs whenever they have a local appearance and fans the flames of letting your hair down and having some fun. According to Testa, the genesis for the Daybreak benefit came to him one day when considering the reputation of downtown Dayton, those who live there and those who frequent establishments within the downtown area.

“I had an idea one day that maybe the downtown area was getting a bad rep because all you would hear about in the news were robberies or other crimes,” Testa explained. “[I wanted] to remind people, including ourselves, that we are more than that – that we can help out people who need it.”

For those unfamiliar with it, Daybreak is a downtown Dayton agency that specializes in providing helpful programs for hundreds of homeless and otherwise at-risk local youth, including an emergency safe shelter, housing programs, outreach programs, work-readiness training and other related charitable endeavors. Testa and Nightbeast feel strongly about the organization and the work they do, so his charity cause of choice for Let’s Do Something was an obvious one.

“Daybreak does an incredible service, and we want to show that we care about the work they do,” Testa said.

So who is “we”? Along with Nightbeast, Let’s Do Something, Downtown will also feature live music by four other Dayton-based groups: Good English, Swimming with Sharks, Violent Kind and Juxtapoze. According to Swimming with Sharks guitarist Alex Todd, getting on board with Let’s Do Something was an easy decision.

“When Nick approached us and explained his desire to throw a local show with the intent/purpose to donating all the proceeds to charity, there was no hesitation,” Todd said. “Dayton has such a tight-knit and talented roster of artists, and we’ve all played benefit shows to help each other out when there’s been need. I think that this show is the next step as a collective: a step where we’re not just only taking care of our immediate community of musicians, but embracing the city we all love so much.”

In addition to live music, the lanes at Poelking will be open for bowling, and door raffles will be held, providing items donated by local artists and businesses who also believe in the good work Daybreak does. On paper, a rock show at a bowling alley may seem a bit unusual, but to Testa it was the right choice to have a big event such as this one.

“We have actually been doing shows there for a couple of years now,” Testa said. “[Poelking] sets up a stage right on the bowling lanes. It’s a great setup. We love playing downtown, but this place can fit more people. And I really wanted to get as many people as possible to support this charity.”

“Poelking Lanes is an easy place for anyone to come and allows for it to be more of a community event rather than a show,” Good English guitarist Elizabeth Rasmussen added. “It’s important that this event reaches out to all types of people and is in a neutral, fun environment.”

All money from the door and raffles will be donated to Daybreak, but if you can’t be there in person, you can still give a dollar amount of your choosing through the Let’s Do Something, Downtown online fundraiser page ( As Rasmussen said, this is a great opportunity for the downtown music scene to give to a worthy cause in Dayton, support those who also support the musicians of the Gem City, and enjoy some great homegrown hip-hop and rock music, as well.

“The Dayton music scene has continuously been supported by the community,” Rasmussen said. “Now it’s time for the music scene to support the community. “As musicians in Dayton, we rely on our community members to support and drive us. The youth are a large component of the music community, so ensuring the safety, care and well-being of them is extremely important to us.”


The Let’s Do Something, Downtown benefit for Daybreak shelter takes place on Friday, Dec. 19 at Poelking Lanes, 1403 Wilmington Ave. in Dayton. The Nightbeast, Good English, Swimming with Sharks, Juxtapoze and Violent Kind will be performing. Admission for this all ages show is $5, and the music begins at 7 p.m. For more information, please call 937.299.5573. To donate, please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at

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