New York rapper, Ohio indie rockers come together for WYSO benefit concert



Yellow Springs resident is organizing the support.

Miami Valley music fans don’t often get a club bill with high-powered acts like New York rapper Talib Kweli and Cleveland-based indie rockers Cloud Nothings. To make the bill even more enticing, Sonic Springs: A benefit concert for WYSO at The Brightside in Dayton on Friday, July 22, also features Brooklyn-based Monograms and Dayton’s own DJ Fatty Lumpkins.

“It’s a pretty unique bill,” said organizer Eric Mahoney, who is not affiliated with the station. “There’s a lot of crossover between people that like that older hip-hop and indie rock. The eclectic nature of WYSO also allows for a lineup that’s not so one-sided.

“We can have different types of music and mix audiences together because the station plays such diverse styles of music all the time,” he continued. “I love that ‘YSO is an independently-owned station that plays music you won’t, otherwise, hear on the radio around here.”

Mahoney, a Dayton native, is the director of the 2019 Brainiac documentary, “Transmissions After Zero.” He had been living in New York since 2006 before relocating to Yellow Springs with his wife and two children in 2021.

“Having moved back to the area, I really wanted to plug back into the music and arts scene,” Mahoney said. “I was part of that for most of my upbringing and all through my 20s. It was also a way for me to do something helpful for the community while putting on a show I’d personally love to see and I could bring some national acts to Dayton that haven’t been here for a long time.”

Inspired by Dave Chappelle’s shows at Wirrig Pavilion, Mahoney originally thought of hosting the show on his own property in Yellow Springs. Instead, he wisely opted for The Brightside, an established venue.

“We have several acres so we have the space for it,” Mahoney said. “I initially thought it would be fun to try to stage something here but the logistics and the expense were just out of reach. I pivoted to The Brightside. We had done the Brainiac show there (in 2019) so I’m familiar with that place.

“I really like everyone that runs the venue,” he continued.

Proceeds from Sonic Springs will go toward operating costs for the independently-owned radio station in Yellow Springs.

“WYSO has been very supportive,” he said. “They were very appreciative and it’s been great to connect with everybody there to figure this whole thing out. It’s been a really great experience so this is something we could build out. This will be a trial run but I’d, honestly, love to make this an annual fundraiser for them. That would be really cool.”



Here’s a brief look at Friday’s headliner Talib Kweli and featured guests Cloud Nothings.

Talib Kweli

As a friend of Dave Chappelle, Brooklyn native Talib Kweli is a natural for this benefit. The rapper has not only visited Yellow Springs to perform at events sponsored by the comedian but also to just hang out.

Kweli is forever linked to his hometown but he has long ties to the Buckeye State. Even before breaking through with Mos Def in Black Star in 1998, he was making some noise in Ohio. The rapper was featured on three tracks on “Doom,” the 1997 debut full-length from Cincinnati group Mood. The album featured production from Cincinnati-based Hi-Tek, who worked on the several tracks on the Black Star album. The producer and Kweli also formed the group, Reflection Eternal, which released a number of projects in the 2000s.

At the same time, Kweli continued to perform and record as a solo artist. He released his debut, “Quality,” in 2002, followed by “The Beautiful Struggle” in 2004. His eighth solo album, “Radio,” was released in 2017.

More recently, the rapper has focused on collaborative projects like 2017′s “The Seven” with Styles P and “Gotham” with Diamond D from 2021. In May, “No Fear of Time,” the long-awaited second Black Star album was released.

Artist info:

Cloud Nothings

Dylan Baldi was in the first semester of his freshman year at Case Western Reserve in 2009 when he started the dorm room recordings that led to Cloud Nothings. He played all of the instruments on the band’s 2010 debut, “Turn On,” which he recorded in his parents’ basement in Cleveland. The 18-year-old dropped out of college and Cloud Nothings quickly evolved from a one-man recording project to a fully functioning band.

Baldi soon started what seems like an endless stream of tours with new recruits TJ Duke (bass) and Jayson Gerycz (drums), who are still with the group. Original lead guitarist Joe Boyer left in 2016 and was replaced by Chris Brown.

Cloud Nothings’ longtime home, Carpark Records, released the Steve Albini-produced “The Shadow I Remember” in February 2021. It is the follow-up to “The Black Hole Understands” from 2020, which was recorded remotely by Baldi and Gerycz in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The album was self-released on Cloud Nothings’ Bandcamp page.

Artist info:

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at


What: Sonic Springs: A benefit concert for WYSO with Talib Kweli, Cloud Nothings, Monograms and DJ Fatty Lumpkins

Where: The Brightside, 905 E. Third St., Dayton

When: 7 p.m. Friday, July 22

Cost: $50

More info:

About the Author