The year ahead: A look at Dayton’s music scene in 2023

With another year behind us, it’s time for a quick look at 2023.

You don’t need a crystal ball to tell you the Miami Valley is looking at another big year for live music. After a concert-filled 2022, it will be much the same this year with major stars, rising artists and legacy acts back on the road.

In February, Dayton Live will present a Funk Unplugged concert from the Deron Bell Band at PNC Arts Annex (Feb. 10). Wynonna Judd will kick off the concert season at the Nutter Center on Feb. 11 with The Judds: The Final Tour. The venue will also host the return of TobyMac’s Hits Deep Tour on March 20.

Credit: Greg Allen

Credit: Greg Allen

After being rescheduled multiple times due to COVID-19 and other issues, Kettering Health Foundation is finally able to hosts its 32nd Heart to Heart Concert. Singer Amy Grant headlines the fundraising event at the Schuster Center on Feb. 28. Proceeds benefit Kettering Health System’s heart and vascular program.

Outdoor amphitheaters like Fraze Pavilion in Kettering and Levitt Pavilion in Dayton haven’t posted their summer seasons. Rose Music Center in Huber Heights hasn’t made a full announcement either but already has dates on its website for Chicago on May 6 and Buddy Guy on June 25.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Funk Center

Dayton Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center, also known as The Funk Center, has found a new home at the former Salem Mall site in Trotwood. After being without a physical location since 2019, the multipurpose facility is part of the major Sears Redevelopment Project in partnership with the City of Trotwood and Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation (CIC). The project received $2 million in congressional funding from Ohio to support the capital redevelopment of that building. The funds will be available later this year.

In the meantime, Funk Center president and CEO David Webb will continue to spread the gospel of the region’s funk music history. Even without a brick-and-mortar spot, Webb and his team continued the mission through the long-running television program, “The Funk Chronicles,” and the syndicated, “The Dayton Scene Radio Show.” There is also community outreach through educational programs and the traveling Funk Box Experience, which is being presented by Dayton Live at PNC Arts Annex in Dayton Feb. 6-10. More info: thefunkcenter.org.

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Brainiac

Against all odds, Brainiac is back on the road in 2023. The Dayton-based band was on the cusp of inking a major record deal when frontman Tim Taylor’s died in a single car accident in 1997. Interest in the band has not diminished, as the indie darling’s seminal releases for Grass Records and Touch & Go Records continue to capture the imaginations of new generations of music fans.

Focus on Brainiac’s legacy intensified following the release of Eric Mahoney’s 2019 documentary, “Transmissions After Zero.” The surviving members reunited for a few shows to support the film, joined by Tim Krug of Oh Condor and Hexadiode and various special guests. A new round of limited-edition archival vinyl releases like “Attic Tapes” (2021) and the forthcoming EP, “Predator Nominate,” has put the group back in the hearts and minds of record collectors.

Now, the revived band is back for a dozen February dates in the United Kingdom, most in support of Scottish group Mogwai. Brainiac will end the tour at the end of that month with shows at The Brightside in Dayton and Woodward Theater in Cincinnati. More info: https://brainiac.bandcamp.com.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Hawthorne Heights

Hawthorne Heights is hosting its second annual Ohio Is For Lovers Festival at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati on Sept. 9. The hometown group with an international following had a big year in 2022 and looks to top it in 2023. In addition to a couple of massively successful tours, the Emo’s Not Dead Cruise and some festival appearances, the band hosted three of its own For Lovers festivals in partnership with Live Nation.

Hawthorne Heights, which closed the year with a full-band acoustic set at HoliDayton 20 at The Brightside in Dayton, begins the year with a slot at Heartsupport Fest in Orlando on Feb. 19. The band will also be in the United Kingdom in May for appearances at the Slam Dunk Festivals in Hatfield and Leeds. More info: https://hawthorneheights.com.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Guided By Voices

Guided By Voices ended 2022 on a low note after frontman Robert Pollard sustained a knee injury, which forced a cancelation of four year-ending shows in Evanston, Illinois. Of course, while he recuperates, the GBV release train continues. The group’s 37th album, “La La Land,” which Pollard first teased last summer in an interview with Dayton Daily News, gets its official release on Jan. 20. The killer collection of songs is the 13th full-length from the current lineup and the official follow-up to “Tremblers And Goggles By Rank.” According to Pollard, these two albums are companion pieces that explore longer songs with more complex arrangements.

No live dates have been announced but Guided By Voices should be back on stage this year. In the meantime, Pollard is no doubt using some of this recuperation period to write new songs and plot ways to expand his catalog of more than 100 albums, which includes solo releases and side projects like Boston Spaceships and Circus Devils. More info: www.guidedbyvoices.com.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or donthrasher100@gmail.com.

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