BY: MICHELLE PEREZ-VEGA
Being a Rock Star has its advantages. Matt DiRito, bassist for Pop Evil, knows that first hand.
But those that know DiRito also recognize that he isn’t the kind of person who likes to use his name or connections to gain special treatment.
Wanting to deflect on the “larger than life musical persona,” DiRito chose to focus instead on people who need it, using the “power” of his name to help those in unfortunate circumstances.
That is the basis DiRito used to found Star Treatments, (http://startreatments.org/), a VIP transportation service for kids with cancer to get to their medical treatments.
Star Treatments has become a favorite charity of choice music fans have supported in recent years, and many bands have done fundraisers to aid DiRito in his quest.
Like A Storm is one of those bands, recently treating fans to a show at The Barristers Club in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The event was organized by band supporters Gina Zeck and Heather Melley, and aided by Marta Countess of Countess Communications, a video production and online marketing company also based in Allentown.
“Heather and I were chatting one day about having a private Like A Storm show together,” Zeck said. “We thought it would be a good idea to do something where we could also raise awareness and proceeds for a charity. We both loved the idea of doing something for the Star Treatments foundation. We started planning and brainstorming the end of July 2018.”
“Star Treatments is an amazing charity that helps children with cancer,” Zeck continued. “They provide children transportation to the facility where they will be getting their cancer treatments in a limo, tour bus, etc. It takes the fear out of the child and fills them with excitement instead of being scared. What’s better than that?”
Zeck contacted Like A Storm, who loved the idea and committed to help.
For the rare rock fan that doesn’t know, Like A Storm is a hard rock band that formed with the Brooks brothers from New Zealand: Chris Brooks – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, programming and didgeridoo; Matt Brooks – lead guitar, vocals, keyboards, programming; and Kent Brooks – bass guitar, backing vocals, guitar, keyboards, programming. American drummer Zack Wood joined the band around 2014.
“They were extremely helpful promoting it and they even made a promotional video from the Tokyo airport while they were in Japan,” Zeck enthused. “They donated several autographed items including a custom “Star Treatments” didgeridoo that raised a lot of proceeds!”
The sold-out evening started with a short video introduction from DiRito, highlighting the purpose and goals of Star Treatments, before Like A Storm took the floor. With various fans sporting the red-checked flannel shirts that have become synonymous of the band, the audience were eager and enthusiastic to embrace the band the moment Like A Storm picked up their instruments.
“This is really amazing,” stated Chris Brooks. “Thanks for coming tonight and giving us the opportunity to be here!”
Renowned as a tight musical entity, Like A Storm commanded attention when kicking off the acoustic set with “Love The Way You Hate Me,” followed by “Never Surrender.”
The band touched on other proven classics like “Become The Enemy,” which chugged hard with the audience participation of the classic shout of “HEY, HEY,” in addition to ballads “Alone,” and “Break Free” from earlier albums.
Like A Storm continued unwavering with “Catacombs” from the band’s latest album of the same moniker and also paid a sentimental tribute to the late Tom Petty with their rendition of “Learning To Fly.”
Natural comedians, the band members joked and interacted with the audience throughout the entire show. Matt Brooks regaled when he was a telemarketer to make ends meet, with little old ladies more interested in his accent and wondering where he was calling from, rather than the product he was selling.
“Playing in a band was a total pipe dream,” added Chris Brooks. “Our parents wanted us to go to University. They wanted me to become a lawyer. Too much reading! Dad is a psychologist…he should have seen this coming!”
The band continued to perform with other well-known hits such as “Wish You Hell,” “Ordinary,” and “Galaxy” before wrapping up the set with “Southern Skies.” Like A Storm then did a “Meet and Greet” with the audience, chatting and posing for pictures, as part of the band’s continued donation.
In addition to The Barristers Club and Countess Communications, other organizations that donated their services included Simply Smooth; Local Mama Catering; Anthony Limousine; and Berner Design and Consulting.
Like A Storm also donated items for attendees to bid on, such as autographed photos and a custom-made didgeridoo. Other popular items were an autographed Myles Kennedy photo; an autographed Alter Bridge CD; a signed Corey Taylor photo; a signed “The Machine Shop” book; and a signed Matt DiRito poster; in addition to many amazing baskets for a Chinese auction.
More than $3,200 was raised for Star Treatments and also raised awareness for the charity.
“A huge amount of thanks for all the support and donations from everyone, including Like A Storm,” Heather Melley said.
“Matt DiRito was thrilled that we raised money and awareness,” added Marta Countess.
The evening was so successful that The Barristers Club reportedly requested that Like A Storm return to do another show next year.