Legbone, Emmy’s Ghost and Jasper the Colossal at McGuffy’s House of Rock
By Matt Clevenger
McGuffy’s House of Rock will host one of the best punk/indie line-ups in recent memory this Friday, March 11, as local veterans Legbone, Jasper the Colossal and Emmy’s Ghost join forces for one very special night of independent, Dayton-based music.
Each band offers an excellent show on their own, and together the line-up offers a unique chance to see three of the area’s finest punk and indie-rock groups all at once. All three bands represent very different musical styles and the diverse show should include a little something for just about everyone.
Opening act Emmy’s Ghost is a four-piece hard-rock band, known for psychedelic jamming and heavy, groove-based riffs reminiscent of experimental metal groups like Tool and Clutch. Formed in 2008, the band’s current line-up features guitarist Dennis Hawkinberry, bassist Ben Browning and drummer Matthew Murphy with new vocalist Dustin Booher, who joined the group about two months ago.
“We’re doing songs that we did with the previous singers,” Browning said in a recent interview. “But there’s also several new songs we’ve got now.”
“We put Dustin on the spot for this show,” Hawkinberry added. “We just kind of put the rush on him to finish writing.”
Although Emmy’s Ghost is technically the youngest group on Friday’s bill, the band is actually made up of veteran musicians. Booher started with local groups the Wharf Band and Possert in 1993, and Hawkinberry, an instructor at Dayton’s International College of Broadcasting, played with the groups Parafrenic and Justus starting around 1994. Murphy has played with several jazz bands and trios, and Browning started out in 1993 as a founding member of local hardcore bands Forechild and Throttle.
Emmy’s Ghost is currently working on their debut album, which should be out by this fall. “It isn’t just straightforward rock,” Hawkinberry said of the material. “Every song is kind of unique … there’s no two songs that sound the same.”
Playing after Emmy’s Ghost, Friday’s show also features Jasper the Colossal, a four-piece, all-female band that is developing a well-deserved reputation as one of the area’s best punk/indie-rock acts.
Originally formed in 2007, the band’s current line-up includes vocalist Paige Beller, bassist Nicki Brooks, guitarist Moriah Yux and drummer Sarah Kouse. Described as everything from punk to post-punk and garage rock, the group is already well-known for their uniquely catchy sound built on classic distorted guitars and mesmerizing, punk-influenced basslines, backed-up by impressive drumming and refreshingly original vocals.
Jasper the Colossal’s debut EP, “Prehistoric,” is available on iTunes and the band is currently writing for a follow-up album that should be out later this year. “Right now, we’re kind of writing at an alarming pace,” Beller said recently. “So it’s actually going to be a lot sooner than we thought …we’re still kind of tentative about the date, but it will be this year.”
In addition to recording, the band is also busy with a series of Dayton-area shows throughout the month of March, as well as an independent film, “Zombie Punk Attack,” that the group agreed to star in as payment for recording time. “The film is called ‘Zombie Punk Attack,’ and it’s actually premiering at the Neon,” Beller said. “They said they are going to do a second run as well, but I’m not sure when that’s going to be.”
“Basically, we’re the subject of the movie,” she added. “The premise is that we are on our way to a show, and then zombies attack the show. We definitely didn’t take ourselves too seriously for it, so it should be fun.”
Following Emmy’s Ghost and Jasper the Colossal, Friday’s show will end with a performance by headlining act Legbone, one of the Dayton area’s best-known and longest-running punk bands.
The veteran group, which currently features AJ Morse and Mitch Lawson on guitars, Kyle Curtis on vocals, Gee Gee Bradley on bass and Kevin Hittepool on drums, will celebrate their 20th anniversary later this year, and that’s an impressive feat for any local punk band to accomplish.
“Around Thanksgiving, the band has been together for 20 years,” Morse explained. “We will definitely have a really cool 20th anniversary show someplace I’m sure, or maybe a couple, like one in Troy and one in Dayton. We may even try to do one in Tennessee, but I’m not sure.”
The group originally formed in Sidney under the name Liquid Legbone and their uniquely heavy early sound has helped influence many other local punk/hardcore bands. Over the years, their sound has evolved in a much more punk-rock oriented direction, and the band has developed a national reputation for their high-speed live shows and irreverent, beer-soaked punk anthems.
Now, almost 20 years after their ubiquitous crossed-bones logo first graced a sticker, t-shirt or tattoo, Legbone is also one of the area’s most successful local bands, with eight self-produced releases and a countless number of local and national shows under their collective belt. “Six albums and a couple seven-inches isn’t really that many releases,” Morse said. “But it’s quite a few for a local band that works and does all that shit.”
Legbone, Emmy’s Ghost and Jasper the Colossal will appear Friday, March 11 at McGuffy’s House of Rock. Tickets are $5, 21+up or $8, 18+up. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 10 p.m. More information can be found online at www.mcguffy’s.net.
Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at email@example.com.