Dispatches from the ’90s Dayton emo/hardcore underground
Dayton has long been the kind of middle-American city where emo, punk and hardcore bands cut their teeth on the way to musical infamy. The combination of avaricious music fans and musicians, savvy promoters and venues, and bands willing to stop over in southwest Ohio has long provided the perfect storm/proving grounds for the genres’ foremost and finest.
As recent blog buzz from the likes of Stereogum, NPR and others indicates, emo and post-hardcore that harkens to the sounds of the ’90s is on an upswing. Up-and-coming bands and labels embracing the sounds of yesteryear are bringing it to newer, younger audiences of hungry listeners. That said, it seemed the appropriate time to revisit some of the most memorable Dayton shows from those not-yet-forgotten decades.
While this is in no way a complete list – Dayton played also played host to The Dead Kennedys, NOFX and young and hungry bands like Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Motion City Soundtrack, Anberlin, Elliott, The Smoking Popes and Cadillac Blindside – here are some of the foremost memories of Dayton’s emo and hardcore movers and shakers, i.e. the people who were there.
Fugazi – Electricians’ Hall, June 27, 1990; Electricians’ Hall, July 1991; Brookwood Hall, Aug. 21, 1993; Chameleon Club, Oct. 4, 1995
“Fugazi played in 1990 with Fifteen and Dry Rot, then July 1991 with The Method, Dry Rot and I think Stronghold played.” - Steve Bright of A Ten O’Clock Scholar, The Ohio Casket
“FYI, audio exists for three of four shows that Fugazi played in Dayton over the years. I’ve got the two that are available for download and let me just say, the Brookwood Hall show is pretty incredible … can’t wait till they release the 1470s show …” -Chip Heck of Shadyside, Lovely and Dinosaurus
“The show in 1995 was with The Make Up and Trusty – pretty awesome show. I remember there were some straight edge dudes up front flipping off The Make Up. Then Ian Mackaye came out telling them they can go the fuck home and he would gladly give them their $5 back.” - Shane Webber of 8-bit Revival, Oh Condor
Jawbreaker – March 29, 1994, Network Sights and Sounds
“I did see ’em at Brookwood Hall, too, on the ‘24 Hour Revenge Therapy’ tour. Blake said the infamous line, ‘We will never sell out to the majors,’ or something like that. And within a couple years, Dear You was released (on a major label). Ha! Good for them though … that record was incredible.” -Jeremy Apland, formerly of Elmo, longwayhome, Strangers As Heroes, Dead Like Presleys
Alkaline Trio – Jasper Street house show, March 1998
“It was actually before Goddamnit. They were supporting the For your Lungs Only EP. They came back a few more times over the following years. I think they played a total of three times at Jasper Street.” -Jeremy Apland
400 Years/Three Penny Opera/Engine Down (ex-Sleepy Time Trio) – Circle Billiards, June 24, 1998
“The show was the same week of the More Than Music fest at Newport Music Hall in Columbus. That was amazing! His Hero Is Gone, Dropdead, Braid, Reversal Of Man, Los Crudos, 400 Years, Engine Down, Three Penny Opera, Jihad and damn near every other band I wanted to see in ’98.” -Mike Salyer of Blue Ash Solution
The Jazz June – Bath Township Hall, Aug. 21, 1998
“I remember having entire two-week tours when we probably played Dayton five or six times. I remember all those guys and am still in touch with some of them; Nithin Kalvakota from longwayhome, who plays bass for Marnie Stern now, my oldest friend Mike O’Shea who went to Antioch and was in a band called Bondage Box with Andy Bayliff from Blue Ash Solution. So we always came through town and played multiple shows in Dayton with them and the other awesome Dayton bands.” -Andrew Low of The Jazz June
Orchid/Rune/Jerome’s Dream – Medford Street house show, Jan. 14, 1999
“I just remember Jerome’s Dream played back in the corner of the room with all the lights out and completely floored everyone. There was a very similar show/lineup that happened at Bath Township also …” - Chip Heck
Additonal dispatches from “the pit”:
“Heroin played at 705 Alberta St. in the basement, John Henry West and Friction at The Warehouse. Lincoln, Hoover, Junction, Samuel Ashes and Split Lip, like twice a week. And Crown Hate Ruin played the Sub Galley on Brown Street as Neil Blender (of Alien Workshop and Dinosaur Jr. art fame) heckled them with, “God, I hate shit like this!” - Steve Bright
“You (Tim Anderl) made Tim Kinsella (of Cap’n Jazz, Joan of Arc) cry one night around ‘99 at Club Safari when you told him ‘My friend told me that you are a Blue Oyster Cult cover band.’ When he said they weren’t, you said, ‘Have you heard “Don’t Fear The Reaper?”’ Well then, can you try and play it?’” Someone was yelling, “Play ‘Let’s wrestle!’” all night and made them break up on stage. Was it Heather Newkirk?” -Tim Krug of 8-Bit Revival, Oh Condor, Human Reunion