2016 was a great year for the Dayton music scene and Thursday December 29 at Oscars was the night it was celebrated. Music Connection Dayton celebrated the Best of Dayton Underground as three bands boogied and blazed out funk n’ groove on the stage as a mixed genre crowd watched the show and voted for their favorite band/singer to win prizes.
Krunk Town Boogie, Founding Fathers and The Sandwich jazzed up the place as patrons, fans and bands voted for their choice to win three promo prizes. Over 23,000 votes were cast in the first round of the underground series with 33 bands to choose from in 11 categories.
Three winners were tallied after the last band played awarding the two runner’s up with $50 in Music Connection Dayton promo services with the grand prize winner receiving a $500 gift card from Popside Recording, $130 in Sound City Music swag and $150 from Music Connection Dayton.
With 11 categories, the highest voted artist in each category were Kevin Milner (singer-songwriter/folk), Curse of Cassandra (Electronic), Thundertaker (rock), The Voice of God (punk/hardcore), Fire Circle (Roots), Scotty Bratcher (blues-jazz-big band), Menace 2 Sobriety (hip hop/rap), Goodnight Goodnight (pop/indie), Zane and the Sway (jam), Engraved Darkness (metal) and Abertooth Lincoln (experimental/avant-garde).
A diverse crowd of band members from all over Dayton attended to check out the bands and find out the winners. Country, bluegrass, rock and metal were represented among others. Todd The Fox and Johnnie Wallace from Engraved Darkness were seen in the same room several times.
Krunk Town Boogie opened bringing the high energy and velocity funk, cranking out danceable tunes for 10 songs. A cross concubine fusion of rock, blues, psychedelic swing, new age dance and reggae, the former backup for Scott Lee and the Whiskey River Boys took their own route with their musical chemistry called, tonic. Releasing an EP in ‘15 and a full length LP in 2016, they funk up every stage they play with a collectively eclectic mix.
They played a set full of songs about the good and bad in life and the street knowledge acquired by experience. “Funk’s not a Riddle,” it’s a jam. If you know how to dance and groove you “Got the Feeling.” They played their varietal sound laying “Footprints” across genres. Finishing with the funky groove blues string puller of that “Phat Note.”
Founding Fathers played their Filthy Animals LP beginning to end blending, funk, groove, ‘80s, new wave pulling out retro vintage MTV memories and vibrations. The Fathers played like a ‘80s Red Hot Chili Peppers with keyboards, keytar, matching shirts and a headband.
“Stop Drop and Roll” started off with the musical Kool-Aid and some friendly tussling on the ground for better sexy safety standards. “Mary” had more guitar and keyboard ambiance. “The Great Grimsby” took a retro keyboard ride into tranquil guitar bliss and magical feelings.
“Beauty” melded Duran Duran with Culture Club. “Don’t Stop” began with a Clinton presidential lie as the jazzy strings picked up the pace in celebratory fashion. “Sexxy Magik” got fierce and forceful bringing out the animal in man.
“Gringo Comanche” told the galloping, westernized story of the tireless soldier. “Too Hot” brought out the sizzling red steaming synth with smoking keys mixing rap and rock talking about that red hot babe.
“Solo’s” surf and shake groove carried an old calliope feel. “I can make you Dance” got a little down and dirty with the wah-wah.
They ended with “Welcome Home” an accordion sounding serenade to vocal harmony.
All the way from Nashville blending the B-52’s with a ’60s style delivery came the delicacies of The Sandwich.
“Soldiers of Misfortune” started out with the vintage ‘60s nostalgia feel of the hippie movement. You could almost imagine the lava lamp shapes on the walls. “I am the Rain” felt like a desert mirage, trailing in the footsteps of a well, road traveled drifter.
“Divide” had a hippie, retro feel flying with the Byrds and the Mama’s and Papa’s over Laurel Canyon. “Temporary” teased a long hair, ‘80s ballad vibe sliding into dreamy old fashion memories. “Weather Girl” was an ode to everyone’s favorite climate controlling cutie.
With the ballots counted, the night and 2016 winners were announced with runners up Todd The Fox and Scotty Bratcher with Thundertaker taking the grand prize.
Images by Mike Ritchie