Singers from bands Thursday, Bayside, Saves the Day and more will play a benefit show in Dayton on Wednesday

On Sunday, Dayton resident Dave Obenour attended Dave Chappelle’s “Gem City Shine” event, with big-name speakers and performers such as Stevie Wonder, Chance the Rapper, Talib Kweli and Jon Stewart, not to mention an appearance earlier in the day from Kanye West. 

The show, which drew a crowd that numbered in the tens of thousands, was a response to the mass shooting earlier this month in Dayton’s Oregon District. “Today we’re gonna show the world that nothing will get us down,” Chappelle told the crowd. “No matter how tough these times get, we hold our heads up high.”

The entire scene felt surreal to Obenour. “In the back of your mind you're thinking about the reason that this is happening, which almost makes you feel like, ‘Is it OK to fully enjoy and kind of lose yourself in this moment, knowing why it all came about?’” Obenour said. “But it just seemed like [Sunday] was a day to come together and feel that unity and get an amazing feeling associated with the area. And I think that's how people responded. … I don't think you can ever truly dwarf the impact of a mass shooting, but that's as darn close as you're going to get to it — the kind of magic that was in the air.”

Obenour first heard about the Dayton shooting that claimed nine lives while driving back from Indianapolis, where he and his wife had been attending a gaming convention. Soon after, he heard from Ricky Terrell, frontman of Dayton band Starving in the Belly of the Whale. Terrell wanted to throw a benefit concert with a bunch of bands at the Yellow Cab Tavern, but before long, enough bands had signed on that Obenour recommended moving the show to the Dayton Masonic Center’s larger theater.

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On Wednesday, Aug. 28, Terrell, along with Obenour’s Ten High Productions, are hosting a Dayton United benefit for the Dayton Foundation, featuring acoustic performances from the singers of nationally known, emo-leaning rock acts Thursday, Saves the Day, Bayside, the Movielife/I am the Avalanche and the 1984 Draft.

“It's really amazing to see the genuine interest that people seem to have to come here and try to help us do something nice for the community — people that don't even have any connections locally,” said Obenour, who hopes this benefit can echo some of the messages he heard and felt at Chappelle’s Gem City Shine. “Some of what was being said was just like, ‘You're not forgotten. You matter to people outside of this city and state, and when these types of tragedies happen, it hurts us all.’ … It’s a way to stand in unity with your neighbors and the greater community, too. You really see how universal the connection is.”

Obenour also wants this event and other Dayton United benefits to lead to something else: action. “I hope that it's going to galvanize enough of us to make the country better and see if there are ways that we can use our tragedy and try to push for some meaningful change so it doesn't happen anywhere else,” he said.