Reunion, continued

W hen you’re from a small town or city, it can be magical to find something that totally captures the essence of where you’re from. It’s like the perfect gift you weren’t even expecting in the first place. I think that’s how the native Dayton band, Auburndale, connected to its followers when they began performing […]

Local favorite Auburndale returns to Vandalia’s Oscar’s


Auburndale (l-r): Alex Todd, Jbird, Brian Whitten, and Michael Poland.

By Katie Fender

When you’re from a small town or city, it can be magical to find something that totally captures the essence of where you’re from. It’s like the perfect gift you weren’t even expecting in the first place. I think that’s how the native Dayton band, Auburndale, connected to its followers when they began performing their music over a decade ago. This band created two albums together and picked up a wide following, especially with Dayton locals, through their pop rock sound and their messages that hit a nerve.

One of their most well-known songs, “Alive in a Dying City,” was written by lead singer Brian Whitten. Whitten wrote this song after reading the Forbes Magazine report of America’s 10 fastest-dying cities. The song is about Dayton and feeling a connection and love to your own city while having hope for its future. Auburndale was a vital part of the music scene here for several years and they are excited to be part of it again. The band still consists of Whitten, Alex Todd, Michael Poland, and “J Bird” Smith. Whitten and Todd also team up together in another local band called Keytair.

The band started playing together in 2004 and made two albums together, 2006’s somewhere to call home and 2010’s alive in a dying city. They quickly gained a following with their rock sound of heavy riffs and catchy hooks. Lead singers and writers Whitten and Todd had been in a heavy metal band together, so they wanted to keep that influence in their music to balance out some of the pop sounds. Bands like Jimmy Eat World, Saves the Day, and the Get up Kids are other influences found in their music. When listening to their songs, hints of these influences are definitely evident, but they also have their own original style. Some of their other top songs streaming now are “Your Favorite Song,” “With Friends like These, Who Needs You,” and “Growing up is Getting Old.” In the early days, Whitten did most of the heavy lifting with the songwriting, but it has become more of a combined effort, especially in the newest songs they have written together.

In their early days together the band toured all over the country, including Florida and the east coast. When they rocked around the Dayton area, they built up a local cult following, too. But according to lead singer Whitten, “A little thing called life happened and we all started having kids and getting jobs and it was harder to make time for music.” Now, after a bit of a hiatus, Auburndale is back.

During the break, drummer Alex Todd reached out to the other band members, reminding them that they never really did a “last show.” The band arranged to hold a practice session together and picked up right where they had left off.

“We finally got one practice in and we got through roughly 7 or 8 old songs. There were some hiccups, but it was really kind of like riding a bike,” Whitten says.

Auburndale even managed to complete two new songs and have a few others in the works. They hope to release a 5-song EP soon. The band will play about 12-13 songs from their two previous albums, plus their new songs. Check out the show, and it’ll feel like news from home.

Auburndale will share the stage with three other attractions with local ties. Bribing Senators is a four-piece band hailing from Dayton, who describe their music as a combination of power rock and pop. Trauma Illinois is an alternative rock band with classic rock influences. The three-member group calls their show as “Music and Mayhem from Cincinnati,” and they combine the hook-driven melodies of classic rock with modern alternative rock lyrical edges. Rounding out the evening is Dave J’s Acoustic Jukebox.

Auburndale will perform at Oscar’s Bar and Grill, 320 N. Dixie Dr., Vandalia on September 14 at 8:30 p.m. The evening also includes Bribing Senators (Dayton), Trauma Illinois (Cincinnati), and an acoustic set by Dave J. For more information, visit Oscarsdayton.com or facebook.com/auburndalerock/.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Fender at KatieFender@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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