Joe Rock & The All Stars
The Space at Westbury
June 8, 2018
Disc Jockey by day, Rock Star by night--Joe Rock is a man of many talents. The WBAB air personality is also an ordained minister, an instructor at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in Westbury and a renowned songwriter. As the leader of Joe Rock & The All Stars he is known for the high energy performances that he the band have been delivering to New York and Long Island area classic rock fans since 1981.
As a DJ on WBAB, Long Island’s #1 radio station, since 2001 (with a short two-year hiatus away from the station), Rock is no stranger to classic rock. As the leader, main vocalist and rhythm guitarist of his namesake band, Joe Rock & The All Stars, Rock has done his best to bring good-time party music and classic sounds to the Long Island area. The many music venues and festival stages that the band has graced include: The Paramount in Huntington, NY; The NYCB Theatre at Westbury (formerly known as The Westbury Music Fair); The Space at Westbury; The YMCA Boulton Center for The Performing Arts; The Oyster Fest in Oyster Bay, NY; The Huntington Lighthouse Music Festival; The Great South Bay Music Festival; The American Music Festival in Port Jefferson, NY; The Cedar Beach Blues and Roots Festival; The Barrier Beach Blues and Arts Festival; The Long Beach Roxx NY Festival and The Montauk Music Festival.
On a sleepy Friday evening in early June, along with the All Stars (Mark “The Animal” Mendoza, of Twisted Sister fame, on bass and vocals; New York Blues Hall of Fame member Lou Carrollo on guitar and vocals and Gene Linefsky on drums), Rock performed to a capacity crowd at Westbury, NY’s The Space. Opening for Long Island legends, Blue Öyster Cult, Rock and his cohorts mixed tasty originals with classic rock staples.
During the performance, the jovial Rock gave a shout-out to the good folks that run The Space, specifically Jeff Siegel, the venue’s Technical Director; to Michael Kelly guitars who supplied him with his beautiful faded blue 1950’s Series telecaster model; to his band mates making it a point to call attention to the nimble fingers and booming bass lines laid down by Mendoza and, of course, to the evening’s headliner Blue Öyster Cult.
The short, nine-song set delivered exactly what the audience members came to hear, a band that what the group’s website likes to say “…does it all-rock, blues, rockabilly, punk and general mayhem.” Opening up with the high octane rocker “High Priced Gasoline Blues” that segued into ZZ Top's “She Loves My Automobile,” the All Stars immediately got the crowd into a partying mood. A dynamic version of Johnny Cash’s “Fulsom Prison Blues” followed. “Superstition,” sung by Carrollo was originally made famous by Stevie Wonder. Presented on this night with a slightly more Texas blues feel, ala the Stevie Ray Vaughan version, the timeless tune gave the baby boomers in the audience a real thrill. The original, the bluesy “Life I Choose” followed and fit in nicely with the band’s set and aesthetic. U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as performed by The All Stars was at once a classic rock, modern rock and gospel-tinged tour de force. Visiting the Bob Dylan canon for a satisfying take on “Like A Rolling Stone,” the All Stars proved that no artist is outside of its reach.
The band really drove it home with the powerful and brawny 1-2-3 combination of The Allman Brothers’ “Southbound,” which would have done the late Gregg Allman proud, the Rock-penned driving original “Heart Like a Locomotive” and the Bobby Womack song “It’s All Over Now” originally released as an R&B single by Womack’s Valentinos and made famous as a more guitar-oriented rocker by The Rolling Stones as their first UK number-one hit (it peaked at #26 on the US Billboard charts).
As the last notes of the song faded into the ether, the crowd erupted into thunderous applause. The band took its bows and the lights came up. While many audience members were heard buzzing about what they had just witnessed, even more were seen rushing out to the merchandise stand in the venue’s lobby to engage in a little retain therapy and purchase Joe Rock & The All Stars t-shirts and memoribilia.
Joe Rock & The All Stars have a number of upcoming shows in July and August 2018. The band is scheduled to play at the Long Beach Pavillion in St. James on July 6th, The Lighthouse Waterfront Café in Glen Cove on July 21st, Oyster Bay Cruise Night in Oyster Bay on July 24th and at Tiki Joe’s Meschutt in Hampton Bays on August 5th. Additional performance information can be found at http://joe-rock.com/event/
Photo Credit : Christine Connallon