The fifth annual Dayton Is For Lovers show was held on July 12th at Yellow Cab Tavern in Dayton, Ohio. Organized and hosted by Hawthorne Heights every year, this special hometown show takes months of planning all done by the band personally. This year they even collaborated with Warped Wing Brewing Company to create a special Dayton Is For Lovers IPA which was featured on tap for the night.

With twelve bands split between two stages, the music almost never stopped. Sidekick Complex, Seth Canan & The Carriers, BlackWater, Heavy Things, GoodnightGoodnight, and RIND played the stage in the side room. The bands that took the stage in the main room were Crosley Court, Paper Soldiers, Nightbeast, Life In Idle, Weathervein, and Hawthorne Heights. Parked outside the venue were two food trucks (Harvest Mobile Cuisine and Bricky Barrels Smoked BBQ) serving delicious options throughout the night.

Starting off the show was Sidekick Complex. Mixing rock and hip hop, these guys kicked things off with a burst of energy and got people ready for more. Up first in the main room was Crosley Court. They are no strangers to this annual show and they rocked the stage while warming up the crowd. Seth Canan & The Carriers were up next in the side room and pleased listeners by showing off their unique brand of indie rock. Up next was Paper Soldiers, and this was their debut show. They captured the crowd’s attention with their predominantly pop-rock sound and their nostalgic cover of All Time Low’s “Remembering Sunday”. BlackWater played next and impressed listeners with their hard rock sound reminiscent of today’s modern rock with their own twist. Up next in the main room was Nightbeast. They are a very unique and entertaining band. Defying genre labels, the best way to describe them is a party band that wants everyone to have fun at a show no matter who you are or what you look like. They got the crowd amped up, moving around, laughing, and having a good time.

Pop-rock band Heavy Things brought their emo vibes to Dayton from Columbus, Ohio. They represented their city well by rocking the side room stage next with songs that were full of emotion while still being upbeat and catchy. Life In Idle was up next. They showed off their pop-punk sound by covering blink-182’s “Dammit” while the crowd sang along. GoodnightGoodnight brought their own brand of shoegaze to the show next in the side room. Up next in the main room was Weathervein. These guys gave their set their all and sounded amazing along the way. They played a cover of My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” that got the crowd singing loud enough to nearly drown out the band’s vocals. These guys are a band to watch for sure. The last support band of the night was RIND and they rocked the stage with tons of energy as always.

Finally, it was time for Hawthorne Heights to take the stage. Anticipation was building throughout the night as each band performed one after the other. As they set up and did a final sound check, the crowd packed in close while anxiously waiting. Starting their set with “Life on Standby” and “Dissolve and Decay”, we all got a taste of the ‘Silence in Black and White’ 15 Year Anniversary Tour they have been taking from city to city. While half of their set came from the album that launched their career, they also played songs that spanned the rest of their discography including “Pens and Needles”, “Beneath the Silver Strand”, and “Just Another Ghost”. Before playing “The Transition”, lead vocalist JT Woodruff dedicated it to anyone who has decided to pursue any kind of art as a career despite what anyone may tell them. Later in the set, before playing “Bring You Back”, he gave an inspiring speech about the importance of just being nice to people and about how it is okay to be different. Ending the show with “Ohio is for Lovers”, the whole crowd was screaming the lyrics as loud as they could. These emo rockers have never lost their spark. Despite hard times, their light has always shined through and they have always given their fans hope.

The annual Dayton Is For Lovers show is one that I personally look forward to every year. There is something so special about it. From the guys of Hawthorne Heights putting it all together themselves to all the friends I see and the people I meet, there is always an energy that is unparalleled.