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Wayback Pointfest Doesn’t F*** Around

by Danya Artimisi

First of all, FUCK RAIN.  Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, on with the review.  I’ll get back to that later.

105.7 The Point’s Wayback Pointfest stormed Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on Labor Day weekend with bands from (for some, like me) a simpler time.  A time when you would anxiously await a record release at Streetside Records, show up hours before tickets went on sale for your favorite rock show in order to secure the best seats possible, and for god’s sake, hang out at 416 North Ninth Street at St. Louis’ beloved American Theater in hopes of getting an autograph (NOT A SELFIE) of the larger-than-life rockstar who so casually strolls amid the masses, carefree and careless;y.

Once again, The Point outdoes themselves with what might be the best Wayback lineup yet.  Several concertgoers willingly concur while sharing stories of their favorite artists on the bill in relation to a time in their lives.  

Allow me to add that Wayback Pointfest isn’t simply just another festival with a handful of bands thrown together haphazardly.  It’s just not. It’s so much more than that. It’s a day and night dedicated to bringing together a generation who is currently breaking their backs to stay afloat; A generation who is trying feverishly everyday to fulfill the unreasonable expectations put upon us to be better;  A generation who has seen the emergence of darker, deeper, and more emotional musical movements like alternative and new wave, as well as angst-ridden grunge as a result of their personal struggles and adversities. To me, Wayback Pointfest is a common place for all of us survivors to gather, high-five, and celebrate how far we’ve come while watching the live bands in action who provided the soundtrack to our lives when we were just barely starting to figure shit out.  The emotionality that envelops you during times of nostalgia is cathartic.

The festival commenced with an in-your-face performance by Cowboy Mouth.  There was definitely no “easing into” the show when this is your first band in the line up.  The crowd was all in and responded in kind to the rock love shown to them.

As with most festivals, the line up bounced back and forth between the “side” stage which was located near the entrance gates to the venue and the main stage.  

Band number two for the day had hits like Follow You Down and Hey Jealousy.  The Gin Blossoms played a 35 minute set filled with all of your faves.  They sounded like they haven’t missed a single second over the last 20+ years; bring the shiny, happy vibe to set the tone for the main stage space.  (Hint: “Shiny, happy” foreshadows another moment in the festival.)

Bouncing back to the side stage for one of St. Louis’ finest and most endeared bands, Stir.  Along with the three original founding fathers, members who are near and dear to their hearts (and other musical projects) joined them on stage, filling out the sound that we’ve loved for 25 years.

Jake Elking (El Monstero and Graffiti Bridge, et.al.), and Michael Eisenbeis (Fine To Drive, Whiskey Morning, Shooting With Annie, The Hard Promises, et. al.) added extra volume to the set on keys and guitar, respectively.

Stir’s set was a supertease for some upcoming dates for which we will anxiously await.  

Everclear held down the main stage as the fourth act of the day.  My initial reaction to the set was great! They were tight and sounded just like they did upon the release of Sparkle And Fade.  On the contrary, a few concertgoers disagreed, stating that their sound quality was subpar and they seemed to be out of key at times.  Ultimately, I feel that a solid performance was brought and so many memories stirred.

And then……

The forecast for the fiesta de la nostalgia promised clear skies and temps around the lower to mid 80s.  That was the ‘fore’-cast. Let’s go to the ‘now’-cast where you’ll find Goldfinger fans’ fiery rock flames doused by massive amounts of sky sweat. 

Fucking GOLDFINGER destroyed the side stage, opening their set with a cover of The Cure’s Just Like Heaven which was so incredibly well received.  If you’ve ever experienced their live show, you already know that the amount of energy brought to the stage is nearly immeasurable.  All four dudes with guitars simultaneously catching air and it’s super fast paced.  

Despite some sound complications, these guys recovered beautifully.  For a situation that could easily drive someone to homicide, they dealt with it and overcame.  But then…..the lightning. Man, not cool.  

The powers that be made the executive decision to put the set on hold until it was safe for everyone to be amid the elements once again.  Due to the torrential downpour, the remaining acts were pushed back 30 minutes and unfortunately, many folks decided to split when efforts to access shelter were met with finding nothing but areas that were already overflowing with people trying to stay dry.

Back to the main stage, where long-time Point DJ, Donny Fandango, made the stage announcement and ardently declared that it was time to ‘PLAY THAT MUTHAFUCKIN’ URGE SHIT’.  

The Urge has been tearing your shit up for over 30 years.  30 YEARS!! At a glance, the guys in the band seem as though they must have been 6 years old when they formed the group.  The energy level over the years has not even remotely been compromised. The lively stage presence displayed by every single one of their players was invariable, lending the element of affirmed consistency to ‘Urge die-hards.  Thus, completely annihilating their performance as always.

Another veteran Point staffer, Jeff Burton, did the honors of introducing one of the most archetypal fusion groups of our generation.  Living Colour tore it up. Comments from concertgoers were that of “Holy shit!”, “They were infuckingsane!”, and some even claimed that was the highlight of their day.  

Agreement in the spectacular nature of the show went across the board.  Given the pleasant surprise that was observed on the faces of the crowd, suffice it to say that few have probably followed the band since they first hit the mainstream scene with their groundbreaking debut album, Vivid.  And despite their noticeable age progression from the release of the monumental video for Cult of Personality, the physical mannerisms displayed in that video were recognizable and undeniable.   Living Colour absolutely crushed it.

Collective Soul rounded out the festival with all of the recognizable hits and one very special, super duper, exciting highlight when Robin Wilson (lead singer for the Gin Blossoms) graced the stage to join the band in a cover of R.E.M.’s “The One I Love” from their 1987 record, Document.  

Wilson’s performance was exceptionally authentic, as he sounded exactly like Michael Stipe.  The cover was doubly delicious as Stipe has roots in the area and R.E.M. was vital in their contribution to the time and genre for which we call “Wayback”.

Collective Soul’s current lineup brings an overt sense of cohesion.  Jesse Tripplet was extraordinary on guitar and the brothers Roland continue to cultivate the essence of what was and is Collective Soul.  

Unfortunately, the band did not have the chance to perform an encore due to the rain delay.  However, overall they vastly made up for it by delivering a remarkable performance.

Wayback Pointfest 2019 was an inside-the-park homerun.  The rain forced us to work a little harder, but in the end, we got it.

Congratulations to 105.7 The Point for pulling off another unforgettable season of shows.

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Danya is a music junkie and an accomplished producer and writer. With over 20 years in the music and media industry, she worked in St. Louis radio as an on-air talent for 16 years, in television as a writer/producer/assignment editor at KMOV-TV, and started her own podcast at Radiodanya.com showcasing St. Louis’ local music scene, is currently the host of
Arch City Live and is an on-air talent on 105.7 The Point. She received her Bachelor Degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and her Masters Degree from Saint Louis University. In addition to contributing to Arch City Media, she is a writer/editor/photographer for an online publication dedicated to documenting live shows throughout the U.S.: The Spectatour: We Spectate, We Tour. Aside from music’s spectrum of genres, she is also an avid hockey, baseball, and soccer fan.

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