BRIDGEPORT — Ribstock winds down Valentine's Day weekend on Sunday with its heart in the right place, marking a full decade of rocking the Bridgeport Rib House for a worthy cause.

It's a milestone that the iconic “Day Of Peace And Music,” will celebrate, beginning at 2 p.m., with all-day performances by the heavy hitters of the local live music scene, including: The Hot Sauce Junkies, Former Strangers, Idlewild South, Nat Attack (featuring Norristown's Michael Natalini of The Trammps), Bonehead, Old School, Paul Hammond (from Get the Led Out) & Friends (including special guests Brian Quinn of Candlebox, Danny Beissel of Featherborn, and John McNutt of the Mile High Club) and Montoj.

This year the much-anticipated event will benefit the Bridgeport Little League and Norristown’s Expressive Path, a non-profit organization committed to enriching, educating, and inspiring adolescents by providing resources in the areas of theater, dance, music, humanities and the visual arts. Musical instruments were also donated to Musicopia, a local non-profit that works to build sustained partnerships with school districts throughout the region.

According to Bridgeport Ribhouse Owner Melissa Navitsky, nearly $6,000 was raised for the charities last year and she believes that,  the 10th Annual “Ribstock” could be even more successful.

“The Bridgeport Ribhouse is grateful to be part of such a wonderful community and we feel blessed that we are able to help out with benefits such as ‘Ribstock’,” said Navitsky. “We are so thankful for the participation of everyone involved who has volunteered his or her time and talent to keep Bridgeport strong.”

Ribstock co-founder Kevin Burk, lead singer of AM Radio — which specializes in familiar but frequently forgotten hits that dominated AM radio in the ’70s — had recalled how he, fellow musician Paul Hammond and sound engineer Dave Anderson had a simple idea to get a bunch of bands together for a Bridgeport-style music festival years ago.

It was then that publicist Denise Kovalevich and musician Brian Quinn suggested turning the whole thing into a fundraiser for Musicopia, a nonprofit that partners with school districts in providing after-school music education and other programs.

“Even going into the first year I had a feeling it was going to be big, and it was,” Burk said. “Because so many people like to come there and hear good bands, and here was a chance to come and hear the bands all in one day.”

In addition to the live music happening inside the bar, sandwiches and other food items will be served outside in the tented area in the Ribhouse parking lot.

Over the years Ribstock has produced some notable reunions, and the 2020 version is no exception.

Nat Attack, which focuses on ’80s rock, was originally cobbled together as a one-time band but it’s evolved into slightly more than that, noted founder Mike Natalini, Nat Attack’s drummer.

“We only get together once a year for a December show at the Water Tower in Oaks because everybody is in different bands,” said the Norristown native, who is also with The Trammps. “Melissa asked us if we were interested in playing at the Ribhouse and that’s how we got in. It’s really cool that we’re playing for the10th anniversary. We’re so looking forward to it because it’s a great event for a great cause. Everybody associated with the Ribhouse does such a great job. My wife and I have been at Ribstock for the past three years and it’s amazing how smooth it runs all day.”

 With the best of Van Halen, Heart, Whitesnake, Genesis, and Journey at the band’s disposal, whittling down the choices can be a challenge, noted Natalini, a Bishop Kenrick High School graduate.

“With six of us in the band and only getting 45 minutes to play that’s roughly seven or eight songs. I asked each member of the band to pick their favorite eight songs to play at Ribstock and I think there were five songs that everybody picked,” he said.

A gig at the Trocadero six years ago was the impetus for the band’s original formation, Natalini recalled.

“It was supposed to be a one-time thing, kind of a throw-together show because I was asked to open up for a band called Headbangers Ball. So I put a band together with my good friends in the area who were musicians. After that nobody said we should stay together. But the following year my wife wanted Nat Attack to get together for her 50th birthday. So we did a show at Reed’s in Blue Bell and we had over 400 people there. The following year we played the Water Tower and that’s how it all started.”

Personnel changes since then include adding a female lead singer, Tina Bellas, who also plays electric violin, to tackle a broader range of tunes.

In addition to Natalini on drums and vocals, Nat Attack also includes Freddie Geller, vocals; Michael Santiago, keyboards, vocals; Chris Moran, guitar and Joby Parandier, bass, vocals.

“There are so many great female-led bands in the ‘80s, we needed a female singer, so we were able to add songs by Heart, Pat Benatar, the Pretenders,” said Natalini, who added that a surprise love song from another era —  the ’70s, of course — should please the Ribstock crowd.

A $10 entry fee is required for the event.

For more information, visit ribhouse.net.

Bridgeport Ribhouse is located at 1049 Ford St., Bridgeport.

comments powered by Disqus