Friday Feb. 12, the Miami heat came back to Dayton in the form of GEARS. The Florida foursome brought two EP’s worth of material to the stage, a seasoned work ethic and an arena sized delivery. Mother nature’s foul mood didn’t keep the faithful from showing up to watch them churn out an hour long set, accompanied by Dayton, regional support Mothers Onion Band, 80 Proof and Shotgun Surprise.
The night started with Dayton’s Mothers Onion Band playing a tribute to the immortal Lemmy Kilmister and the “Ace of Spades.” The rest of the early evening originals started with “Somewhere in the Dark” ending with the sweet leaf laced punky, Butt Hole Surfers vibe of “Light it Up.” Horror themes joined mid-set on “The Creeper.” They gave the hat wearing, winged, back roads body- dumping/decorating creature his due, while Sabbath rich punk blew out the exhaust of the reapers ride prowling the roads at midnight.
M.O.B kept it a little grungy and a little oily with some Disturbed and Danzig added in. “Dayton is what Dayton is,” vocalist Jim Alexander said starting the next tune “Nowhere Safe” about the mean streets of whatever city you live in.
80 Proof came out with a loud wallop summoning the power of the metal gods, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater and other rulers of the interstellar cosmos. Power metal with a NWOBHM attitude as Dayton’s Bruce Dickinson, Tony Oliver hit the stage with a banshee wail to the skies.
They shouted a five pointed pentagram salute to recent retirees Motley Crue. “Lay it Down” pulled out the hairspray and 80s favorite spandex-clad rodents. The British metal gods have warned about the all-seeing “Electric Eye” for years. Patron Saint of the horns Dio was honored with “Rainbow in the Dark,” as the instantly recognizable notes of “Pull Me Under” hit the speakers.
“Book of Lies” started with a hard Sevendust punch bringing the Miami machine back to Dayton exposing the political systems BS. Singer Trip- Six echoed the spirit of Lajon Witherspoon through the mic. “End This” gutted souls with some Fear Factory mechanic crunch while “Seasons” slowed down, tripping on melodious strings, getting lyrically emotional, hitting a soft spot. “Let Go, Go Crazy” sounded like a mad scientist experiment putting Rage Against the Machine together with Sevendust with potentially malevolent intentions.
The cynical, tainted POV of the power Facebook and social media give us all on “Face Down” spilled the beans on the person behind the screen name projecting personal disgust. In a virtual world of impulse posting, social drama, perpetual selfies (and of course cute animal pics) one can only take so many game requests before something bad happens. “Burning Both Ends Out” hit with some nu-school metal delivering a power bounce. They tossed out pics and sticks ending the show in true rock star fashion.
From Eaton, Ohio Shotgun Surprise topped off the evening with a set of covers and originals combining family blood with the father, daughter combo of Dale (vocals, guitar) and Dali Spradling (guitar, backup vocals). Starting with “Black Days,” a lip snarled “Rebel Yell” and some Seven Mary Three. The fairer Spradling sported a look beyond her years bringing the runaway fashion of Lita Ford and Joan Jett modern day. Two fans were brought up for backing vocals on the next song, turning into an onstage Valentine weekend proposal. She said yes!
The “Funky Cold Medina” was brought out to celebrate. New one “Little by Little” came off their upcoming CD. The purple one made an appearance. A choice cut came from the first CD for anyone that’s had a bad day, bad week or bad year, including the weather. It’s all “Just Fucked Up.”
The band also runs and endorses the Aria Marie Foundation sponsoring children who have lost one or both parents. Founded in 2014 by Dale Spradling the organization helps raise money for college funds for each child also ensuring Christmas cheer every year.
Images by Mike Ritchie