–By Sean Derrick
The Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights was the place to be this past Saturday as 20,000 music fans crammed into the amphitheatre grounds to partake in the annual Pointfest music festival.
This year’s version (the 36th installation of the popular festival held by local alternative rock radio station KPNT) kicked off the 2018 summer season at the amphitheatre and was a bit different than in years past. Instead of two side stages by the parking lot alternating bands for a solid afternoon, this years’ incarnation featured just one side stage and alternated between there and the main stage, which hosted its first band at 3:30, rather than waiting until 5 or 5:30 as has been customary in the past.
While this system seemed to work well for getting the stages prepped in between acts, for fans who wanted to see all the acts perform they had to walk from the main stage back to the side stage (not exactly close by) and repeat over and over.
On the plus side I got all my steps in for the day, and many more.
But after an extended arrival of spring it turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year already (what happened to spring??) and all the excess walking made it feel more like the Vans Warped Tour than Pointfest. Albeit, with a vastly bigger lineup and evening performances.
The side stage consisted of Common Jones, The Glorious Sons, Candlebox, and Blue October. While each group parlayed their individual sounds into a unique performance this kept the sets from blurring into one another as can happen when too many of the same sounding bands are booked.
Candlebox, with their grungy/blues/rock sound is currently on tour celebrating their 25th anniversary of their debut self-titled CD. Lead singer Kevin Martin’s voice was still strong as the he and the rest of the band cranked through a half-hour set that included “Far Behind” and “You”, among others.
The Glorious Sons’ sound and feel harkens back to the early 70’s with their blues inspired rock, but with a modern feel to it. This is especially evident on tracks like “Sawed Off Shotgun” and “Kill the Lights”.
The band with the most energy, however, had to be Blue October (who just announced a stand-alone performance at The Pageant October 12 on the heels of their standout performance Saturday). Their energy transcended through the crowd with their 7 song, 40-minute set. It was just enough to tease out what a full-set would be with high energy songs like “Say It”, “I Hope You’re Happy” and “Leave It in the Dressing Room (Shake It Up)” topping out.
Over on the main stage local boys Brookroyal opened with a usually solid set before giving way to The Struts led by flamboyant vocalist Luke Spiller. With an infectious and lively set The Struts can make any show fun. Spiller channels his inner Freddie Mercury while prancing around with moves that would make Mick Jagger proud, and you can hear their influence in the songs. Led by the rousing “Kiss This” and “Could Have Been Me” we all are anxiously awaiting a follow up to 2014’s Everybody Wants. Though they did showcase a new song “Primadonna Like Me” which they have been playing since late last year. (Still waiting for the album, guys)
A revamped Stone Temple Pilots (Version 3.0 if you are counting) followed and showcased their newest lead singer, Jeff Gutt. Gutt, a former contestant on The X Factor has some huge shoes to fill after Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington, but from his performance Saturday it seems they found a singer who could do Scott and Chester proud. From “Sex Type Thing” to “Big Empty” Gutt made it feel like he belonged.
Even though Shinedown didn’t hold the last slot they sure made it feel like they were headlining. Their 12 song, 90-minute set came with full on pyro, lasers, smoke and everything a fan would want in a rock show. Touring in support of their latest album Attention Attention their set was solid, and standouts included “State of My Head” and “Second Chance”. Highlights can’t be discussed without mentioning a bone chilling rendition of “Simple Man” where the crowd did a very impressive sing-along to the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic. Vocalist Brent Smith sounded fantastic as did Zach Myers’ fretwork on guitar. Eric Bass and Barry Kerch held down the heavy rhythm on bass and drums, respectively. It was a tight set from a band that never disappoints.
Smith at one point got down from the stage and got cozy with the audience, something I wish more bands would do. The only downside on this performance was that they only briefly touched on “45” from their debut album Leave A Whisper, only playing one verse. Just teasing us with the old classics is rough, man.
Where Shinedown’s stage was the epitome of a stellar rock show with over the top bombastic ecstasy, Alice In Chains chose a more subdued format. Backlit for most of the show with a wall of lights the Seattle metal band let the Low E notes run heavy and tight throughout a 90-minute set that was impressive to say the least. Lead singer/guitarist William DuVall does a masterful job in the huge role that the late Layne Staley once held. The rest of the band, including guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell, drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Inez, were spot on. And with standouts like “Again”, “Down in a Hole”, “Man in a Box” and “Would” the crowd was sent home happy.
Check out the photo gallery after the setlist.
Stone Temple Pilots Setlist:
Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart
Roll Me Under
Interstate Love Song
Piece of Pie
Dead and Bloated
Sex Type Thing
Sound of Madness
Cut the Cord
Kill Your Conscience
State of My Head
I’ll Follow You
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover-acoustic)
Alice In Chains Setlist:
Check My Brain
Dam That River
Down in a Hole
We Die Young
Man in the Box
The One You Know