Living for the city

Third annual Dayton Does Dayton tribute show returns

 By Zach Rogers
photo: participants of 2013 Dayton Does Dayton tribute show; photo credit: Amanda Barbosa Photography

As any fan of the local music scene will tell you, Dayton has a long, rich musical history complete with ups, downs, twists and turns, and through it all some really great music has emerged. Because of this, the idea of doing a “tribute” show in honor of Dayton’s rock lore makes a lot of sense, and luckily Louie Wood, Jr. caught on and ran with it. A local DJ and promoter in the city for years, Wood, along with several other figures in the Dayton music scene, wanted to have a show that would celebrate the peculiar and energetic music that’s been homegrown here for decades, and the event now known as Dayton Does Dayton was born. Now in its third year, this year’s showcase takes place over the weekend of Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2. The idea for a two-night affair came when Wood produced a lineup of roughly 20 bands in that first year of planning.

“Amazingly, I had a lineup with confirmations from every band I contacted within 20 minutes,” said Wood. “That’s how fast everyone agreed to do it.” Wood showed his list to Rich Reuter and Jay Madewell, two other proud Daytonians who helped organize the show, and from there it was full-steam ahead.

Wood was already well-versed in show organization, having been in the underground DJ circuit in Dayton for years before venturing out into show promotion, and the thought of throwing a show in honor of Dayton’s musical legacy was something he felt particularly strong about.

“When Rich brought up the idea, I thought it was a really interesting concept. There needed to be something else in Dayton that got people interested in local independent music, from the past, present and future, and this was just the thing that could do that.”

So Wood, Reuter and Madewell met up and “started cranking out ideas right then and there.” Now, they just had to find the right venue for it.

“I got introduced to Mick Montgomery from Canal Street Tavern and eventually the idea of doing the show there came up,” said Wood. “Canal Street is perfect for this event. Not only is there a good atmosphere, but with so much history in the place, why wouldn’t you have a Dayton tribute show there? It just made sense.”

Now, three years later, Dayton Does Dayton is ready to rock again, and this year includes performances from 24 local acts that are just as unique and diverse as the city they represent.

“I try to use bands that are completely different from one another because you’re able to see a lot of different music in one night, all tied together by this one single thread, and that’s cool to think about.”

Of course an event of this size, with so many factors to control at once, can be a bit exhausting to pull off, but practice pays off. “I think we’ve all gotten a little better at keeping the ship afloat during show time,” said Wood. “I also have a few rules I follow during the planning stages, like collecting email addresses and phone numbers and keeping the bands informed. Communication is essential when doing these shows, that’s why I always try to make sure everyone has all the information they need to pull this thing off correctly.”

In the end, it pays off as the previous years’ results have gone above and beyond expectations. “It’s totally worth it,” said Wood. “I love a challenge and I love working hard to keep the show organized and running smoothly.”

To keep every year fresh, Wood leaves the window open for new bands to come and take part in the event, and he likes the idea of letting bands choose which songs to play, whether it’s an obscure B-side or popular radio hit, as long as it’s from Dayton. “I encourage them to play songs from their own favorite Dayton bands, whether it’s a band they’ve played shows with in the past or one that is better known in the music world.”

When asked about the future of Dayton Does Dayton, Wood doesn’t see an exact endpoint. “As long as people are interested, I’ll keep doing it. Dayton Does Dayton is a unique experience and I’m thankful to everyone who’s taken part and helped me with it over the years.”

All in all, the power to lead a show like this takes a lot of skill, motivation and love, and Wood has all three. “I think the event says a lot about the spirit of the Dayton music scene. It’s really strong here, stronger than most cities I’ve been to, and it’s odd that way. To me, it’s always alive and taking on new shapes and splintering off and growing. Musicians don’t give up here, that’s for sure. They keep on truckin’ and I find that so uplifting. Bands are motivated in Dayton, and that’s the core of the whole thing.”

Dayton Does Dayton will take place Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2 at Canal Street Tavern, 308 E. First St. Friday’s show will begin at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday’s at 7 p.m. Each night is $5. For more information, visit the Dayton Does Dayton Facebook event page as well as 

Reach DCP freelance writer Zach Rogers at

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