Lab Partners, Dead Rider, C. Wright’s Parlour Tricks

Canal Street Tavern

By Gary Spencer

Lab Partners

Another Friday night, another rock show at the long-time Dayton performance staple, Canal Street Tavern. Kicking off the night’s festivities was C. Wright’s Parlour Tricks, a Dayton band that plays fast-paced, instrumental rock ‘n’ roll with a boogie-woogie swing. And what makes this band swing is the tight-as-Botoxed-skin musicianship exhibited by each member of the ferocious quartet, propelled by the fiery classic rock-inspired lead guitar licks of Chris Wright himself.

Up next was the Chicago skronk rock group Dead Rider, who many show goers from the 1990s probably remember from their Dayton appearances back in the day (as U.S. Maple), including a memorable performance opening for Dayton alt-rock act Brainiac. The Dayton-Chicago connection continues in Dead Rider, with the new band featuring Dayton expatriate Matt Espy behind the drum kit. While Dead Rider’s music does retain recognizable hallmarks of the U.S. Maple musical formula, Dead Rider is not afraid to break out keys, horns and electronics to further shake up the proceedings. Overall, Dead Rider’s live set was quite impressive and it will be interesting to see where they go in the future.

Headlining Friday’s show was the long-standing, Dayton space rock Lab Partners. This band has been together in some form for over a decade and has several albums and tours under its belt. In the live setting, what you get are mid-paced tunes smothered in guitar distortion, accented by the singing of guitarist/vocalist Mike Smith. It’s easy to compare Lab Partners to popular pioneers of modern psych-rock and shoegaze genres such as Spacemen 3, Spiritualized or Slowdive, but what sets Lab Partners apart is most of their current live repertoire has a distinctly human quality to it that is often obscured by their musical brethren.

Gary Spencer
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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