Canal Street Tavern, Dayton, Ohio Laura Delaney photo 1985

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Canal Street Tavern, Dayton, Ohio Laura Delaney photo 1985

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Canal Street Tavern, Dayton, Ohio Laura Delaney photo 1985

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Canal Street Tavern, Dayton, Ohio Laura Delaney photo 1985

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b pictures

dayton oh 1984-1985

26 Jan 1985
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13 Apr 1985
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11 May 1985
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23 Aug 1985
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1985​ show dates

jan 26 — canal street tavern, dayton oh

feb 20 — canal street tavern, dayton oh

apr 13 — canal street tavern, dayton oh

may 11 — canal street tavern, dayton oh

may 30 — canal street tavern, dayton oh

aug 23 — canal street tavern, dayton oh

In the latter part of 1984, B Pictures sprang noisily to life on the suburban, eastern fringe of Dayton, Ohio. Assembling in drummer Kevin Fennell's basement, guitarist Jim Harper, bassist Paul Payiatas, fledgling singer and lyricist Jeffrey Bright and Fennell hammered out a series of raucous original songs that would propel them into 1985 and culminate in a number of memorable performances at Dayton's Canal Street Tavern. Midway through the year, Payiatas relocated to Florida and Paul Comstock took over on bass. 

 

The band's approach followed the ethos of late 70's punk and new wave, but their sound grew from the post-punk and neo-psychedelic movements of the era, bearing sonic similarities to such acts as Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, Dream Syndicate and cow punk practitioners Rank and File. Eventually, on the back of Bright's rust belt romanticism and eccentric stage mannerisms, the band stretched into territories pioneered by literary song stylists such as the Smiths. 

 

The Fennell and Payaitas/Comstock rhythm section was dependably rock solid — and it would have to be. Harper's sharp, angular playing pushed and and pulled at the songs with edgy abandon, and Bright's singing was adventurous, at best. But what the combo lacked in technical proficiency they made up in intensity and bravado. Live, each musical moment teetered on the brink of disaster. Each song was a melodrama in concept and execution. With Harper's urgent guitar figures as counterpoint and foil, Bright's howled words sketched the trials of a young man in emotional and philosophical crisis, his being on the line, a misfit grasping for a stand worth making. 

 

B Pictures' stake in the long rush of 20th Century American pop culture, minor at it was, was to create a compelling, dramatic, existential musical poetry. Their's was a brief but poignant splash on the Dayton alternative rock scene, a scene that would within the two decades following produce a handful of noteworthy bands and artists, among them, Kevin Fennell, as drummer for Guided by Voices.  

 

By the end of 1985, the group had disbanded, and seeds for The Pleasures Pale had been sown.

 

Read on