Despite one of the earlier set times at Radio 104.5’s 12th annual Birthday Show last weekend, Des Rocs drew a fairly large crowd, especially given the fact it was an outdoor b-stage (more commonly known as the Mall Chevrolet New Music Discovery stage), tucked in the corner fo the BB&T Pavilion grounds.
2:30PM hit and Radio 104.5 DJ Jammmin’ Jessie took the stage to welcome alt-rock act, Des Rocs, hailing from New York. I had caught the them opening for The Struts last month and it was honestly the most excited I’ve been to see an opening act in a long time. I was confident they would deliver like Domino’s again at the Birthday Show.
Doc on bass ran to the far side of the stage with Tully seated opposite at his drummer’s throne; and then, in black jeans and a dark brown moccasin vest, frontman Danny Rocco storms onto the stage like a bat out of hell, signature white Stratocaster in-hand, instantly having the crowd in the palm of his hand.
The raucous opener, “Outta My Mind” set the tone for their all-too short half hour set, getting the crowd clapping along in unison and headbanging on the “mind-mind-mind-mind” choruses. Des Rocs flawlessly segued into a thumping, driving beat and again had the entire crowd clapping along to the first of many cuts off their debut Let the Vultures In EP, “Used to the Darkness”. Danny’s ability to switch from leading the crowd in one united motion then switch seamlessly back to his guitar is a treat to see, and you can tell by the grin on his face, he loves what he does.
Continuing on in the set, Des Rocs then hit the crowd with the smoldering, sexy guitar riffs of “Maybe, I,” also from the debut EP out last fall. It’s almost a crime to state “Maybe, I” has sexy guitar work and not also acknowledge SO DOES EVERY OTHER DES ROCS SONG. The music Des Rocs puts out has a certain swagger and can switch from sexy bluesy guitar to pumping jams that get you up, movin’ and a-groovin’ in no time, flat. After the band just did that following up with “HVY MTL DRMR,” Danny shared he was going on two days with no sleep and had just flown in for the show from Colorado that morning! A true showman, no one in the crowd could even fathom that with as much energy as the entire band was pouring onto the stage.
“Whatta we got, a few minutes left? Philly, do you guys mind if we fuck around a bit?” Danny suggestively asked before he and the band launched into a glorious, uplifting Beatles cover—done in the style of Joe Cocker & Friends, because let’s not forget those sexy guitar riffs aforementioned in the last paragraph—of “With a Little Help From My Friends,” culminating in a beautiful crowd sing-a-long and band jam session.
Des Rocs pulled out their biggest hit to date, “Let Me Live / Let Me Die,” next, continuing the loud choruses/sexy subdued vocal deliveries trend that makes their set so special to see live. AND THEN DANNY GOT FANCY. He threw his guitar behind his back, hip-thrusting his way to and fro across the stage in a fashion that The King would have been proud of, all while riffing on his guitar. Just when everyone thought we saw the most climatic point of the set and it was over too soon, Danny announced that someone once told him “always close with a new song nobody knows.” They must’ve also told him to make sure it was a live killer and would knock the crowd out, because that’s exactly what Des Rocs did with “Give Me the Night,”—a single he said that will be out late this summer when I caught up with him after their set. The second or third climax of this exciting live set (I lost count because the whole show is AMAZING) came in a sing-off/drum-off game between Tully and Danny, seeing Tully toss his sticks and Danny whip his belt off, pants drooping dangerously low. You can see what went down for yourself in this video of the performance (no, it was not Danny’s pants), before Danny approached the mic, closing on “I’m Des Rocs and I’m not fuckin’ around” and exiting the stage.
If you missed out on this Philly-area show for our latest obsession, Des Rocs, no worries!! You can see Danny, Tully and Doc on a stage better suited to their skill level Tuesday, July 23rd when they open for The Rolling Stones at Lincoln Financial Field!! Make sure if you do have tickets to this event, you’re not late. I promise you, if you miss Des Rocs opening things up, you will be upset with yourself!!
Outta My Mind
Used to the Darkness
HVY MTL DRMR
With a Little Help From My Friends (The Beatles cover, including a band jam)
Let Me Live / Let Me Die
Give Me the Night