Pointfest 2014 @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, St. Louis, MO

Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
St. Louis has had its share of music and food festivals but there is one that always kind of gets the festival ball rolling and that is Pointfest!  This was the 32nd installment of this annual, sometimes semi-annual, music festival.  This year’s festival lineup received some undue, harsh criticism.  I have to agree that this was quite a change from last year’s heavy hitter lineup, which included the likes of Hollywood Undead, Volbeat, and headliners Alice in Chains.  This year’s lineup was definitely more diverse than those of the past.  Some mellower bands such as the Head and the Heart and Airborne Toxic Event graced the side stages in the middle of the afternoon.
The side stages fired up roughly around noon with a couple of local bands bringing it hard and heavy!  Hollow Point Heroes and Arythma both stirred up a sonic cloud of dust with heavy guitar riffs and monster vocals.  So after a heavy duty warm up, Pointfest took a break with the somewhat darker sounds of Chelsea Wolfe.  I won’t say that I totally disliked her set, it just seemed to bring the mood down for just a bit.  Elmhurst, Illinois natives the Orwells brought a touch of revival to the afternoon with their feel-good, poppy goodness.  As a side note, the Orwells have gained some notoriety over the past year as the Arctic Monkeys picked them as an opening act for nine of their U.S. shows in 2014.  Sticking with the pop-type sounds, Pointfest slotted the band Morning Parade to follow up what the Orwells had started.  If I had to grade the overall health of the show by the amount crowd surfers up to this point, I would give it a C+ at best.

After a somewhat sluggish start, things were about to improve with some bands that I was anxious to see.  The midafternoon session opened up full throttle with Band of Skulls.  Coming to America from across the pond,Skulls are a great mixture of everything that was good from the opening half of the day.  Some songs were mellow, some were heavy, but Skulls played the best set of the day by far!  I was pleasantly surprised by the next band, Airborne Toxic Event.  I knew that Airborne Toxic Event had the potential to suck the life out the Verizon Amphitheater crowd but did a great job of keeping up the vibe set by Band of Skulls.  Crosses, formed in 2011 as a side project of Deftones frontman Chino Moreno, took their place on the Pointfest side stage.  Crosses continued the theme of the late afternoon bands:  good music that held the attention of those in attendance.  With great anticipation, I noticed during Crosses performance, the Head and the Heart were setting up on the other side stage. My anticipation soon turned to disappointment around the third song of the band's set. The happy, folk sound just didn’t translate well to the outdoor stage.  Blue October had the task of closing down the side stages and did a commendable job!  Lead singer Justin Furstenfield told St. Louis he wanted the level of crowd surfers to increase and they were happy to oblige.

After the trek across the Verizon Wireless grounds, I found my spot in front of the main stage to take in the always entertaining, always charismatic Neon Trees.  In less than 10 years, band leader Tyler Glenn has the showmanship of a seasoned veteran and quickly becomes the center of attention when the band takes the stage.  AFI proved to be a nice compliment to Neon Trees as their powerful goth-rock sounds filled the grounds of the venue.  Davey Havok, AFI lead vocalist, gave Tyler Glenn a run for his money in the charisma department, as he continually mugged for the troupe of photographers on-hand.  Once again, my anticipation would be tested when Queens of the Stone Age took the stage.  From the onset, their performance felt very lackluster and just plain flat.  Moving through each song seemed like a chore to the band and it was suspected frontman, Josh Homme, was not feeling it either as they cut their set fifteens minutes short.

This all somehow built up the suspense of Pointfest’s closing band, the Offspring.  There was a collective groan when the Offspring was announced as the headliner but I must say they revived and possibly saved the day!  Bringing 30 years of experience to St. Louis, there was no lack of sing-a-long favorites for everyone to enjoy.  So let me conclude with a couple of observations I took away from this year’s Pointfest.  I can say without a doubt that the overall mood, along with crowd size, was considerably less than years past.  I will also tell you that St. Louis music fans are some of the most fickle in the country and reluctant to change.  As we all know, change is inevitable and longtime listeners of the Point will tell you that over the years the station has slowly changed as well.  With that being said, slow and steady wins the race!  Photos of the festival are below:

Chelsea Wolfe
The Orwells
Morning Parade
Band of Skulls
Airborne Toxic Event
††† (Crosses)
Head and the Heart
Blue October
Neon Trees
Queens of the Stone Age
The Offspring

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Pointfest 2014 @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, St. Louis, MO Pointfest 2014 @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on May 26, 2014 Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.