The 29th biannual edition of the ever popular St. Louis music festival called Pointfest went off Saturday minus what was prevalent during May’s rendition; cold and rain. Like that edition, however, a St. Louis band nearly stole the show. This time instead of just one St. Louis band, it was several. Aside from established favorites The Urge performing on the main stage, the 2 main side stages included 5 of the 11 bands hailing from the St. Louis area. (There was another side stage on the other side of the Amphitheater which featured only local acts). Of those 5 acts on the main side stages two bands stood out.
Brookroyal, a hard rock band from St. Louis were on their top performance with songs like their newest single “Jump” and the established “There Was a Time”. The band’s performance was so spot on, they set the bar that forced the bands that followed to ramp up their performances as well.
Greek Fire, the hottest band in the region, answered the call and more. With members from nearly every band watching on the side, they brought their AAA+ game. (I would give the performance a higher rating, but Moody’s won’t allow for that)
They mixed up their setlist and opened with the phenomenal “A Normal Life”, complete with lead singer Moon doing his trademark backflip. They moved their powerhouse single “Doesn’t Matter Anyway” to the end of the set. In between Moon (and guitarist Ryan Phillips, bassist Mark Joseph Roth, and drummer Johnny Venus) gave a solid 30 minute set that never slowed down. With an arena filled sound that was infectious, it’s nearly impossible not to find your foot tapping along to the music at the very least. Coupled with that, Moon was offstage more than he was on it. This included bringing back the couch surfing that accompanies the song “Put Your Hands on Me” that was introduced at Pointfest 28 in May. He was up close and personal throughout the show – singing from the barricades in front and the side, and he even climbed up a fence and sang from the top next to an admin building on the amphitheater’s grounds. If he could climb it he was singing from it. As I have said many times before, it is not a matter of IF these guys are signed, it is WHEN.
With such a high bar set the next band, national act Janus, appeared doomed. Though their set was tight, and musically they performed well, visually they didn’t do much more than just stand and perform. It may not be fair to compare that aspect of their act as boring, but when you follow Greek Fire you have to ramp it up, not only musically, but visually as well. When you have most photographers leaving the pit BEFORE their three song allotment is up, I hope that says something and kicks the band into ramping up their stage presence.
Hurt followed Janus and performed very well. Performing a cool 6 song set that rocked hard as well as having the unique flavor from a violin that lead singer J. Loren Wince plays. This gives their sound a European twist that is different in the US, and yet has that feel that could be described as like a heavy Kansas. The band has gone through several lineup changes, but the edition they have now (with guitarist Michael Roberts, St. Louisan Rex Mohr on bass, and most recently drummer Victor Ribas) seems very well in sync and the sound was rich. I am anxious to hear their new album, tentatively due out before the end of the year.
The main side stage ended with 10 Years. The Knoxville, TN based band ripped the stage with an enlivening performance that almost got dangerous when the amount of fans crowd surfing nearly outnumbered the security assigned to cover the pit area. Lead singer Jesse Hasek enticed the crowd by repeatedly singing form the barricade to the crowd himself. Their 7 song set had the crowd ramped up from the get-go with “Now is the Time”, “At a Loss” and even further for “Fix Me”. I was actually surprised they were not on the main stage.
Hasek noted to the crowd that St. Louis is one of the best places to play with the festivals St. Louis has, like Pointfest. He said his Knoxville has nothing like Pointfest. It’s a good thing St. Louis has great festivals like Pointfest to showcase all of the young, up and coming groups to a large audience. Talented bands like Greek Fire, Brookroyal, Luca Brasi, Last Night’s Vice, Exit 714, Deny the Gravity, and others can make St. Louis the next hotspot in the newest wave of music . Without it, getting the attention would be much harder. It makes it easier, though, when they give great performances like they did Saturday.
10 Years Setlist:
- Now is the Time (Ravenous)
- At A Loss
- Fix Me
- Fade Into (The Ocean)
- Shoot It Out
- Ten Ton Brick
- Fighting Tao
- When It’s Cold
- Danse Russe
Greek Fire Setlist:
- A Normal Life
- Break Me Down
- Put Your Hands on Me
- Dreaming in Deja Vu
- Doesn’t Matter Anyway