Grime of your life

Fourth annual Grime Prom at Blind Bob’s

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: Red Hot Rebellion will play Grime Prom IV, June 21 at Blind Bob’s; photo: Nikki Forte

For the last four years, Grime Prom at Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District has been the premier event of the summer for Dayton’s show-going, PBR-guzzling crowd. Grime Prom is the place where Dayton socialites can let loose and go wild, strutting their collective plumage in a sea of like-minded, often costumed, attendees. Loud bands, lavish beer-can decorations and a photo booth are common components of Grime Prom.

This year’s Grime Prom IV: Hot Tub Grime Machine, will take place at Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District on Saturday, June 21.

Joey Coolidge created the event in 2010 as a punk rock prom in tribute to “The Grime,” an undefinable subculture that was popularized in Dayton that year.

“We’ve honestly always dodged the question of what does it mean, so we’ll continue to do so,” Coolidge said when asked to explain Grime culture. He added, “Grime culture is mostly just have fun, be nice and get wild.”

While Coolidge is keeping his mouth shut about this year’s top secret Grime Prom decorations, if the previous years’ are any indication, prom-goers are in for a real treat. In the past, the Grime Prom committee has fashioned such extravagant pieces as an Oriental dragon, an octopus and a huge chandelier, all of these made out of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans.

As always, this year’s Grime Prom will be a themed event: Hot Tub Grime Machine. Previous years’ themes include “The Swankening” and “Enchantment Under the Sea.”

“The basics of grime prom have stayed the same,” Coolidge said. “Bands, photobooth, decorations, etc, but it’s grown in magnitude, as well. For someone who has never been to one, I would recommend they get there early; it fills up fast. The theme this year is ’80s-oriented, so they can expect lots of neon and leg warmers. Other than that, I would just tell them to prepare for a proper good time.”

Perhaps the most important part of Grime Prom is the music. After all, what good would a rock ‘n’ roll prom be without the rock? This year’s lineup is especially diverse. 

“We have six bands this year, which means the music will start by 9:30 [p.m.], and that’s all the more reason to get there early,” Coolidge said. Bands performing this year include Coolidge’s own Mean Mug, Dayton rock band Red Hot Rebellion, metalheads Zuel, indie rock quintet Grenades!?, Indianapolis punk band The Involuntarys and Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond band from Minneapolis.

Mean Mug, the pop punk band Coolidge plays in with buddies Noah Worthington and Dusty Pitstick, arose out of the ashes of Adventure, Coolidge and Worthington’s previous band. “It’s the continuation of Noah and I playing punk rock together,” Coolidge said. “Dustie was an excellent addition. We congealed as a group quicker than we could have ever imagined.”

Coolidge went on, “We started out playing newer, unreleased Adventure songs, but as we’ve written we’ve tried to, and are starting to, really find our own voice and place musically, to lessen the comparisons to Adventure, or to any of the punk rock acts we all grew up on.”

Between organizing Grime Prom and playing music, it’s a very busy time for Coolidge right now. “We have a split with Skurt coming out; shirts will be for sale in time for Grime Prom; we are working on some out-of-town shows, and possibly a small tour in August,” Coolidge said.

I asked Red Hot Rebellion’s Jim Tramontana why his band was excited to perform at Grime Prom this year.

“We’ve always lovingly said that Red Hot Rebellion appeals to ‘dirtbags and half-wits,’” Tramontana said. “I think this fits nicely in the spirit of Grime. This ain’t thinking man’s music. It’s drinking man’s music.”

Tramontana added, “One of the great things about Dayton’s underground scene is all the best bands are doing whatever the fuck they want, with no restraints. No one is chasing shitty trends. The stand-outs are bringing a level of intensity and potency that is true to themselves and a force to be reckoned with. A wise man once said, ‘Do whatever you do with as much intensity as you can’ and that’s exactly what we aim to do.”

So, what is the future of Grime?

“All of the original Grime members – the first five as well call it – don’t so much determine the fate of the Grime, as attempt to guide the ship,” Coolidge said. “Since we’ve grown in ranks and have a wide range of friends trying to take the Grime beyond throwing shows, [we are] trying to do benefits and more community-oriented activities, just something to help bring all of us Daytonians together as a unit.

“The Grime Prom of the future is just that,” Coolidge continued. “Hopefully it will get bigger and bolder, line-ups will change, all that jazz. But no matter what, the heart of Grime Prom will always be one big party, where everyone is welcome, unless you have ill intentions. Then you are advised to stay away, because anyone who wants to ruin anyone else’s good time will be vastly outnumbered.”

Grime Prome IV: Hot Tub Grime Machine begins at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 21 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Mean Mug, Zuel, Grenades!?, Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band, The Involuntarys and Red Hot Rebellion will perform. Admission is $5 for patrons 21 and up. For more information, please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Josher Lumpkin at

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Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at

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