The WNCX 25th Anniversary Concert Series continued this past weekend at Clay’s Park Resort in North Lawrence, OH. Three days and nights of bands made it an unforgettable weekend for those who attended!On the first day of the event, a quintet of bands performed all day and into the evening, rocking out to a diverse group of fans including the local Cleveland chapter of the Hell’s Angels. Jackyl was the final band of the evening, and their performance was preceded by L.A. Guns, The Godz, and Cold Truth.
Cold Truth got everything started in a big way during their set, showcasing some serious stage presence while tearing through their set of southern rock-flavored songs.
Mr. Classic was on hand to introduce the next band to play, The Godz (from Columbus), and that band certainly lived up to their moniker. Godz singer/guitarist Eric Moore arrived onstage armed with a rifle/microphone stand and a backup punch knife, as his band delivered a heavy audible assault to those in attendance. “The Godz are Rock ‘n Roll machines!” the band proclaimed while ripping through their final song of the day, “Gotta Keep ‘A Runnin’.” Moore’s intense gaze and affinity for firearms may have prevented anyone from entertaining any thoughts of ever questioning that claim…
L.A. Guns was next, and that band did not disappoint the fans who waited to see them play as they rolled through their set of hits. The Sunset Strip band did not seem at all fazed by their grueling travel schedule (Which began at 3 A.M. PST), showing no signs of jet lag as the guitars screamed and vocals soared through the P.A..
The final band of the first night especially appealed to the bikers who participated in the day’s motorcycle rally. Jackyl worked the crowd into a frenzy with ease as singer/guitarist Jesse James Dupree performed the chainsaw (yes, chainsaw!) solo for his song “The Lumberjack.” The band played a number of hits from its platinum-selling 1992 debut album to a great reception from those in attendance.
The second day of the event was headlined by Michael Stanley and the Resonators playing all the MSB classics like “My Town” and “He Can’t Love You.” Hundreds of fans crowded around the stage during the band’s set, showing their dedication. But the final show of day two was merely the cherry on top of a day packed with amazing performances from a cadre of artists including The Eric Gales Band, The Pat Travers Band, The Rick Ray Band, and Crack the Sky.
The Rick Ray Band (hailing from Painesville, OH) was the first to play on Saturday, with their prowess. Lead guitarist Rick Ray’s fretwork was simply outstanding, and despite playing to a less-than-capacity crowd, the band undoubtedly made new fans out of everyone who did hear them play that day…
Eric Gales was next, and the guitar virtuoso showed his prowess through soulful blues riffs and extensive use of the wah pedal, evoking visions of Jimi Hendrix. The 36-year-old Gales began playing live at the age of nine and has ten studio albums to his credit, including such hit songs as “Sign of the Storm” and “Paralyzed.”
As a former child prodigy, Gales had no problem welcoming 12-year-old bass guitarist Katelin Deutsch to play with him during his set. The pair thrilled the crowd as they performed a rousing rendition of Hendix’s “Voodoo Child.”
Pat Travers played many of his hits from the 70s and 80s, thrilling the diehard fans who came to see the Canadian singer/guitarist perform. It wasn’t hard to see why Kirk Hammett of Metallica has cited Travers as one of his favorite guitar players!
Rounding out Saturday was Crack the Sky, who used its trio of guitarists to great effect during extended jams. During the band’s set the Hot Air Balloon Festival was also underway, and Rockstock attendees marveled at the brightly colored balloons soaring above the park as the band rocked the stage.
On Sunday, the theme was 70s, and the night certainly belonged to Blue Öyster Cult. BOC was simply on fire during their set (epitomized in their second song of the set, “Buring For You”), and the crowd responded in kind. The band saved their best for last, and their final song “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” was indistinguishable from the studio recording except MUCH louder and with an extra dose of metal.
Chuck Negron from Three Dog Night and Starz each rocked the stage on Sunday, and both were well-received by their respective audiences. Negron may not have played a strictly Three Dog Night set, but he had no trouble belting out hits like “One” and “Joy to the World.” Starz, meanwhile, thrilled their devotees with a throwback setlist that included hits like “Detroit Girls.” Some of those devotees traveled long distances just to see Starz – including a pair of fans who made the four-hour drive from Buffalo, NY – dedication, indeed!
In all, a long weekend, but quite the rockin’ time! While many of the bands that played may have been a blast in their respective pasts, each band that played showed that their present (and future) is just as bright.
Ed. note: This article was also published on WNCX.com, available here.