NEPA Scene Staff

NYC rock ‘n’ roller Des Rocs plays free Cinco De Mayo show at Ritz Theater in Scranton on May 5

NYC rock ‘n’ roller Des Rocs plays free Cinco De Mayo show at Ritz Theater in Scranton on May 5
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From a press release:

It was announced today that New York City rock ‘n’ roller Des Rocs will headline a free concert at The Ritz Theater in downtown Scranton on Sunday, May 5.

Presented by Hazleton rock radio station 97.9X, the Cinco De Mayo show features opening sets by local bands Death Valley Dreams, Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen, and Tori V & The Karma.

Doors at The Ritz (222 Wyoming Ave., Scranton) open at 5 p.m., and the music begins at 6 p.m.

Free general admission and pit tickets can be reserved in advance via Eventbrite. General admission will also be available at the door on the day of the show. Noir Dark Spirits, located inside in The Ritz building, will offer a “Black Margarita” special for $9.79 for those 21 and over.

“I’m here to drag rock and roll into the 21st century kicking and screaming if I have to. It’s what I was put on this Earth to do.”

If that sounds ambitious for a skinny misfit from New York, consider the following – in the first three years Des Rocs began releasing songs from his New York City bedroom, he racked up more than 150 million streams, cracked the Top 30 on alternative radio, and even opened for The Rolling Stones. In 2021, he released his pulse-pounding, genre-bending full-length debut, “A Real Good Person in a Real Bad Place.”

Self-recorded in his homemade studio, the album is a bold and intoxicating slice of bedroom arena rock fueled by defiant, magnetic performances that hint at everything from Freddie Mercury to Elvis Presley. It’s a collection that’s as addictive as it is unpredictable, a wild, cathartic work of liberation and escapism that thrives on breaking the rules and subverting expectations at every turn.

A fourth-generation New Yorker, Rocs began his career playing in a variety of groups that toured with the likes of Weezer, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! at the Disco before going solo in 2018 with his debut EP, “Let the Vultures In,” which amassed more than 50 million streams on Spotify alone. He followed it up with two similarly well-received EPs, 2019’s “Martyr Parade” and 2020’s “This Is Our Life,” which helped earn him dates with Muse, Grandson, The Struts, and The Glorious Sons, among others.

Rocs has become a fearsome force of nature, a self-invented rock ‘n’ roll star for a new age and a generation seeking direction, a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm on a mission to search and destroy people’s social media-addled brains. The artist otherwise known as Danny Rocco is an original – sui generis, taking elements of the past and forging a fresh destiny for high-energy electric music on guitar, bass, and drums.

“Dream Machine,” his second full-length studio album and first for legendary rock indie label Sumerian Records, is his vehicle to take audiences along to that place – where life is heightened and rock ‘n’ roll once more rules the zeitgeist. Released on Aug. 25, 2023, he’s not going to be a best-kept secret for long. His brand of self-titled “bedroom arena-rock” – which captures a blend of DIY intimacy and large-scale vision – is ready to infect the masses, to find the artistic tightrope within that populist thrust. Every performance is “on the edge of life and death” for Des Rocs, who works without a safety net in a “Never Ending Moment.” As he said, he was born to do this.

“‘Dream Machine’ is the beginning of the journey into the Des Cinematic Universe, my vessel of escape. I’ve spent my life dreaming a rock ‘n’ roll vision that is grand and entirely modern, standing on the shoulders of giants, but filtered through my own lens and life experiences,” he explained.

Produced by both Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, PJ Harvey), Matt Wallace (Faith No More, Maroon 5), and Danny Rocco, the record offers a bold invitation to follow Rocs down his rock ‘n’ rollin’ “Alice in Wonderland” rabbit hole, a journey to the center of the singer/songwriter/guitar hero’s messianic mind, leading listeners out of our doldrums and back to the glory days of classic rock, psychedelia, metal, punk, grunge, hardcore, and into the future.

Once again accompanied by his fellow power trio members, bassist Eric Mendelsohn and drummer Will Tully, “Dream Machine” evokes the thunder and lightning of metal gods past (“Bad Blood”), the widescreen whisper-to-a-scream mythmaking of the cinematic string-orchestrated set piece “In the Night,” and the Flamenco-flavored acoustic guitar solo that intros the first single, “Never Ending Moment,” in which Rocs anticipates the ending of a relationship with a kind of reverse nostalgia.

Boasting the hip swivel of vintage Elvis and the playful sneer of Johnny Thunders, this proud New Yorker found his true calling after dark on the streets of New York City’s downtown club scene and around the country, playing with the same bug-eyed intensity to the back row, whether in front of 90 people or 90,000, opening for The Rolling Stones at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field in 2019. He also opened for Muse in arenas across Europe.

“Making music for us is existential,” said Ros, a proud heir of the NYC rock tradition that spans The Velvet Underground, KISS, Ramones, Sonic Youth, and The Strokes. “We spend our whole life just making it possible to play music without a real day job. We’re just so happy to be on stage.”

That joy of primal rock can be heard all over “Dream Machine.” The title track opens with a bone-weary driver, “It’s 2:10 in the morning / I’m on the BQE,” referring to New York’s Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. It’s a fever dream that boasts a singalong chorus and psychedelic trip that recalls the doomsaying of Jim Morrison. “Come on take a joy ride / In my dream machine.”

“Natural Born Thriller” and “I Am the Lightning,” both dealing with Rocs’ shaman-like passion to entertain and perform as well as a personal self-empowering pep talk, boast ominous bass lines and thunderous metallic guitar riffs that distinguish a vision that is equal parts messianic, dystopian, and apocalyptic.

“This music is the antithesis of that too-cool-for-school, navel-gazing indie rock scene,” he insisted. “I grew up worshiping that big sound and theatricality, watching Queen at Wembley as a little kid in my underwear.”

“I firmly believe your chances of success are the same whether you try to imitate something else and join the herd or do something unique,” he continued. “So you might as well be true to yourself and your vision.”

Des Rocs reigns as a disciple of rock ‘n’ roll, wielding his musical prowess to conjure a spellbinding bridge between past and present. “Dream Machine” is the thrilling vessel for his journey, the finely-tuned engine of transformation he’s prepared to unleash on the world. The electrifying force of rock is his life, his salvation – and he wants to make it yours as well.