30-member Allegheny River Monsters band reunited for a day of rock and roll
From strollers to wheeled-walkers, the crowd kept on rolling into a 10-acre venue on Conewango Creek Tuesday evening. Some might have wanted to party every day but they all wanted to rock and roll all night — and that they did.
Warrenstock 2019 took place Tuesday evening at Pellegrino’s Italian Market on Conewango Avenue in Warren. This was the second year the free concert took place at the 10-acre venue that borders the creek.
This year’s 30-member Allegheny River Monster band was made up of 15 vocalists, eight guitarists, four percussionists and three people on bass guitar, according to the event’s mastermind, Warren native, Pat Hackett.
The event reunites musicians, some professional and some amateur, in an event that “celebrates life and makes memories,” according to Hackett. The musicians selected the songs they wanted to perform and the stage constantly evolved as they took turns performing.
Following a rousing rendition of “The National Anthem”, Hackett took lead vocals on a Joe Cocker classic. He belted out the lyrics, “What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me?” There was no discord as the band all “got by with a little help from their friends.”
Mark Loren accompanied that first tune. He deemed himself a “baby river monster” in honor of his first occasion to join the group.
Loren has been a professional musician for about 40 years. He plays six- and twelve-string guitars and has a preference for Tom Petty and John Mellencamp.
He’s not a Warren native but he lived in the area for 20 years. He traveled back to Warren from Wilmington, N.C. to reconnect with Hackett and other old friends.
Some might recall the duo, “Loren and Hackett”, that played all over Warren in the 80s. “It’s nice to be back,” Loren said. “It’s great — just playin’ with guys I haven’t seen in 40 years.”
As Jim Cheronis, of Warren, took the stage for his selected tune, he shared some local history with the crowd. Three band members including himself, Hackett and “Johnny Sticks” all graduated in the same class at Warren Area High School. All three had their own band at the time.
Coincidentally, the high school held a battle of the bands during their senior year, Cheronis said. “It got kinda brutal at times,” he said. “Some posters got ripped down.”
“My band played this next song,” Cheronis said as he prepared to sing “Lonely is the Night” by Billy Squier. “My band won,” he added.
With the rivalry clearly set aside, when the song ended Hackett told the crowd, “I see why he won.”
As more musicians took the stage and the crowd grew, Hackett asked the crowd, “Who wants to see this again next year?”
Judging from crowd reaction, Hackett may be making the trip back from his home in southern California again next summer.