This past Friday night, Dayton hosted the annual Urban Nights. Urban Nights is an event that twice a year (one time in the spring, and one time in the fall) Dayton highlights downtown with music, art, dining, retail, and urban living. More than 100 places were showcased during the evening. As being a music junkie, I had to go around and see all the local music that was filling the Dayton skies.
I brought a couple of friends of mine, and we decided to start at the Main Stage on Courthouse Square. There, we saw that HeyThere Morgan was beginning to start their set. HeyThere Morgan is a three-piece band that played cover songs from classic rock to modern hits. Some cover bands don’t do the justice and respect that the originals are destined to have. Some cover bands try too hard to spin it to make the songs their own. By doing that, the cover band becomes a band that loses its flare. HeyThere Morgan wasn’t one of those cover bands. They smoothly transitioned between each song. The band claims to be able to tailor their shows to the crowd, and they were true. Having never seen the band before, and seeing a number of cover bands, HeyThere Morgan were entertaining and fun to watch.
Next up, we walked over to the Yellow Cab Company building over on East Fourth Street. The building hosted ‘The Sideshow Lucky No. 7’. The festival featured 50 local artists that included paintings, photography, and sculptures. All the art had the feel of freedom of expression. The artists who did the work seemed to let the creativity run wild. Truly some of the most mind-blowing artwork I have ever seen.
The band that we saw while at The Sideshow was Dan Raridan & The Calientes. Having heard about them thru people in and around Dayton for the past couple of months, I was looking forward to seeing what they were going to bring to the show. While most of the bands were alternative, Raridan and crew brought their own sound to the mix. The guitars were rich in sound. The vocals had soul. So many different variations and influences soared out of the band. Imagine Blues and Punk unified together. Raridan &The Calientes did it with ease. All the talk surrounding the band previously before seeing them was comforting. The crowd and the band gained an appreciation to one another. It was a very tranquil moment.
Two bands in the books, we decided to head to the Oregon District to see the action there. The sun had settled into the sky, and moved over to let the moon have its moment. When we arrived to the Oregon District, we were lucky enough to see Ape the Ghost starting their set at Trolley Stop.
Remember that time when you first heard a song or a band that you just knew it would change your view of music? That sound coming from the instruments. That hunger for wanting more. ATG’s soft folk sound, mixed with dreamy lyrics made the large crowd feel that way. It was delightful to see throughout the set the crowd grew more and more. People stopped and marveled at what they were being witness to. If their influences were standing there at that time, smiles from them would go cheek to cheek. Incredible. Ape the Ghost’s set will go down as one of the top sets ever in Urban Nights history. If you miss it, I am truly sorry you did. If you did see it, I know you feel the same as I do.
Urban Nights provided everyone the sense of pride in the town’s music scene. It also showed everyone just how good we have it here in the Gem City. We have so many options for music. Folk, alternative, rock. Bands that play songs that take you back to the good old days. All these, and so much more.
Ladies and gentlemen-Urban Nights was a night that I will soon never forget…