I met Des Rocs in the bowels of the Lincoln Financial Field, I was on assignment to shoot his performance tonight which just happened to be in front of 60,000 people as he was opening for The Rolling Stones on this stop of the No Filter tour. Des Rocs is a Brooklyn-based American Alt-Rock band formed in 2018 by former Secret Weapons (band) member Danny Rocco as his solo project. Backed by a tight two-man rhythm section consisting of the leopard headed Will Tully on drums, and Eric Mendelsohn on Bass which produces a massive modern blues rock sound.
As I entered the dressing room, I felt a quiet tension in the air, not many people can say they opened for the Rolling Stones especially at such a young age. The band went through the pre-show rituals of voice exercising and choreographing to make sure that they were on point.
Now it was soundcheck time! As the band set their gear up on the massive stage and in front of various covered gear for The Stones. As quick as it started, it was over the soundboard tech echoing through the empty stadium, testing each mic level. Standing on this massive stage was quite the experience, even if we weren’t allowed to take a picture.
The official escort arrived precisely at 15 minutes before show time to walk us through the maze of hallways, tunnels (insert Spinal Tap joke here) before finally arriving at “the pit”. The pit was the back portion of the catwalk, and where is my 600mm lens used for pit shots? Of course, back in the dressing room. Five minutes to go, cue the rain.
The band enters the stage waving to the fans filling the stadium. Des immediately runs on to the wet stage, and after a brief slip, embraces his new perspective and rips through the opening of “HVY MTL DRMR” lying on his back, to the delight of the blue-collar crowd. Work through it! “HVY MTL DRMR” a future anthem song for the band. Des wearing a black fringed jacket reminded me of the same white jacket worn by Hendrix, coincidence? The set featured an unleashed Des Rocs using the entire stage and a large portion of the catwalk (usually reserved only for the headliner), in a performance full of confidence and swagger.
During the 45-minute set Des played behind his back like Stevie Ray Vaughan, soloing on his knees (Did I hear a “Fly Eagles Fly” in there?), and jumping from the bass drum into the air to strike a pose like a Rock n Roll Baryshnikov! “I’m Des Rocs and I’m your humble servant for the evening, tonight you can do whatever you want!!!
So, what’s next for Des Rocs? He just finished playing Lollapalooza, KABOO, and Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, and will be opening for The Struts in September, then jumping over the pond to open for K.Flay in Europe. You can find everything Des Rocs HERE!!
Article and Photographs by: Bob Linneman