Holly jolly Holidayton

Dayton’s annual winter show at Bob’s

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: The Story Changes will play at Holidayton, Saturday, Dec. 26 at Blind Bob’s

For the past 12 Christmas seasons, show-goers of Dayton have been treated to a very special event: Holidayton. This show, which features two stages and more than twice the performers of your regular night out, is organized by Mark McMillon and his band The Story Changes. Originally taking place at the classic, now-defunct Dayton venues Elbo’s and the Nite Owl, for the last several years the annual show has been hosted by Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District.

“Blind Bob’s has been really cool and accommodating because Holidayton is always a headache,” McMillon tells me. “I mean, when you do a normal show there you think is going to be a decent turnout on a weekend, you want to go in and move all the tables and chairs, and that’s already them kind of going out of their way. And then for this, they’ve gotta do that and we’ve needed a lot of room to set up a second PA and bands on the floor and merch space for a million bands. But they’ve always been super cool and it’s always worked out super well for us and we’re looking forward to continuing to do it there.”
I asked McMillon about the history of this long-standing staple of the Dayton music community’s calendar.

“We started it right around when The Story Changes just started as a band, and we were going at it pretty hard doing a lot of touring and stuff,” McMillon recalls, “and there were always different friends on tour who would invite us out for their annual festivals they would throw, always based around holidays, whether it was Valentine’s Day or different days like that. I always admired that other bands were doing that, and thought it would be really rewarding to do a yearly event at home.”
Busy with an exhausting tour schedule, McMillon wanted to find a way for The Story Changes to make their own annual holiday festival.

“The one thing we noticed was our schedule was always so sporadic, but we were always home around Christmas,” McMillon explains. “Originally, we kind of just did the first one, and it was fun, and then the year flew by, and we did it again, and we stopped kind of thinking about it and kept doing it and it’s been great.”
This year’s lineup will bring in the Holidayton staples fans of the event have grown to count on every year, as well as some new performers.

McMillon’s own band, The Story Changes, which has been a two-piece with drummer Poppy Lee, will be adding a third member on bass guitar for this special show.
“We’re pretty stoked,” McMillon says. “It’s going to be our first hometown show with a third dude. We haven’t played with a third guy on stage in years. We’ve been playing a lot with our good buddy Chris Serafini.”
Serafini has performed in bands Let Go, The Stereo, Pollen and, most recently, Gin Blossoms.
Another act, Joe Anderl’s The 1984 Draft, will also be playing the show. It will be his 13th Holidayton as a performer.

“Joe is the only other act that’s played in every Holidayton. He’s kind of a thing. He always plays the side stage,” McMillon explains. When he started, he played acoustic, so for the first few years he’d always closed out the side stage, and we closed out the main stage. He has a full band now, but we’ve been able to have bands play on the floor since we’ve done the show at Bob’s, so it’s kind of evolved.”
PJ and Tommy, of local band The Motel Beds, are also on the bill, performing an acoustic set, “which is going to be rad,” opines McMillon. “I’ve known those dudes forever, and it’s going to be awesome.”
McMillon also voices his excitement about his “favorite newer Dayton band,” Manray, who will be making their Holidayton debut.

“They’re super surf-y, but still kind of punk,” McMillon says, describing Manray’s sound. “I love them because they are young dudes and the fact that like I don’t think they even know what they sound like.”
Dayton musician C. Wright will be taking the stage, with his band Tombstone Tremblers. “C. Wright has played many Holidaytons with the Parlor Tricks. He’s been putting all his time into the Tremblers, and they played last year and they were really good so I’m looking forward to checking them out again this year,” McMillon says.

Bribing Senators, Moira, Jetty Bone, The New Old-Fashioned and Goodnight Goodnight will also be playing this year’s Holidayton.
McMillon admits that booking Holidayton the day after Christmas, rather than prior to the big holiday, has its challenges, but is ultimately worth it.
“It made booking the bands a little harder because people are out of town until Christmas, and they might be out of town the day after as well, and the weekend,” he says. “But typically with the turnouts, what we’ve learned is it’s actually been better the day after Christmas just because people are home, they’re in town, and they’re ready to get out.”

Holidayton takes place Dec. 26 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District. Admission is $7 for patrons 21+. Doors at 8 p.m. For more information, please visit TheStoryChanges.com.

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 JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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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 JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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