A celebration of local music.
From the moment I walked into Gilly's I knew this was going to be something different. I don't know what Louie does to get Fuerst Florists to donate the flowers, but folks, I've walked into funerals that didn't smell as good as Gilly's did Friday night. The air was as perfumed as the fields filled with Spring flowers surrounding our fair city. It was magical. And while I'm on the subject of venue, I want to say what a great place for music Gilly's really is. They have a great stage, large enough to handle any number of musicians comfortably and I love the theater style seating. Gilly's isn't just another bar hosting bands. Its a showcase for musicians. Musicians aren't just a part of the scene, they are the focus of the scene. I confess that it had been a while since my last visit, but after Friday night's show, I'll be frequenting them on a much more regular basis.
Acoustic jam to get the evening rolling.
The acoustic jam to get the evening rolling really set the stage for what was to follow. Each of the performers participated in a kind of Round Robin format where they each had to perform an eighties cover song as well as an original song from their normal playlist. My favorite moments from this part of the show had to be the guitar styling of Joe Gillis and the brilliant vocals of Ashley Stacy. Ashley is one of those performers that simply command the attention of a crowd. She reminded me of Janis Joplin. I don't mean to say she sounded like Janis, she simply had so many of the vocal qualities that made Janis Joplin so popular during her all too brief career. Ashley can flat out sing and she has a charisma on stage that makes her a musical force to be reckoned with. She's working with a new band called High5 Riot and I can't wait to see what they'll be bringing to the Dayton music scene come October.
Ashley Stacy and yours truly.
One of these days I'm gonna post this picture and say, "Yeah, I told you this girl was gonna be somebody some day." She absolutely made me a fan with this song. Taking a classic and making it your own, that takes real talent, and folks, she's just flat out loaded with it.
Belly dancing? At a rock show?
Yup, that's what I thought too, but then Belly Dance by Bronnwen put on a beautiful performance that truly caught me unawares. It dawned upon me after a few moments into their performance that I'd never actually seen a belly dancer perform. It wasn't like anything I expected and brought me a whole new respect for something I'd read about often enough yet never experienced first hand. Their performance was beautiful and graceful. They expanded my horizons and I can't say enough good things about these dancers, they were really amazing.
Cat Swift, Catherine Ralston, myself and Reyna Spears.
These three girls worked their butts off the entire evening and were a joy to behold every time they took the stage in whatever configuration of musicians they performed with. Cat Swift is the quintessential drummer. She bounces around with so much energy she makes Tigger look lethargic. When you talk to her it's fist-bumps, "Hell yeahs," and rock and roll. She's the kind of girl you love to party with until you both throw back a shot and then she head butts you and knocks you flat on yer ass. Catherine Ralston just made me smile the whole night. She's the wiggly-jiggly girl you think is onstage just for her looks until she starts singing and then you realize she has some serious chops. Reyna Spears is smoking hot. She also plays some serious key boards and can sing too. Check her out here.
Louie Wood, the man is on to something good.
I first met Louie a few years ago on facebook and we quickly became good friends. He's got a great sense of humor and genuinely cares about so many things and people. He loves the music scene, he loves musicians and he understands how to make the ordinary extraordinary. As I stated earlier in the piece, from the moment you stepped into Gilly's and were embraced by the perfume of flowers in the air, you knew something magical was going to happen. The place didn't smell like a bar, it smelled like a Spring meadow. The eighties numbers required of the bands really produced some great musical moments and forced bands out of their normal comfort zones. The show format had bands playing acoustic sets and then interacting with each other on the stage throughout the evening producing a very unique musical experience you just don't find in Dayton, Ohio often enough these days. It was a jam. I loved every single moment of it and I haven't even touched on some of the amazing moments this show produced, like The Tracers doing Rush covers like they'd been playing the songs their entire lives or Crazy Damn Good rocking out George Harrison's Got My Mind Set On you. Folks, this is a show I won't miss in the years to come. Louie Wood has something special going on with these shows and they aren't to be missed. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.