Southeast Missouri group Rockface Barband battles for spot in Pointfest music festival

Friday, February 19, 2010
From left are Ben Grayson, Jeff Bell and Matt Sanders, three of the four members of Rockface Barband. Cecil Haley is not pictured. (Southeast Missourian file photo)

Rockface Barband is rattling cages and turning heads in the St. Louis music scene.

On Feb. 26 the Southeast Missouri rockers will go up against five of St. Louis' best bands at Pop's in Sauget, Ill., for the opportunity to play Pointfest, a long-standing music festival put on by 105.7 The Point.

"Rockface Barband will be the only band on the bill from anywhere but St. Louis, so it will be pretty intense for them," said James Samons, the group's manager. "This is the top six bands out of the whole competition, so it's an honor just to play this show, but we'd love to come home and be able to tell everyone to gear up for Pointfest."

The winner of the competition will play the second Pointfest event, which is usually held in late summer or early fall. 105.7 The Point had not announced the date of the concert as of press time.

"The winner will be decided by a panel of judges, all of whom are involved with the radio station and the local music industry, and the bands are judged on criteria like stage presence, originality, quality, etc.," Samons said.

"The playing order of the night is determined by the number of tickets sold, so we won't find out until that night what time we are playing. Basically, we encourage everyone to come early."

Rockface Barband is a bit different from what St. Louis sees in the local band scene.

"It seems like there are a ton of 'emo' and heavier bands in the area, while RFBB is straight-ahead rock," Samons said. "We think it's an advantage because when you are playing against five other similar bands, it helps you to stand out more."

The guys in Rockface Barband wouldn't be the first Southeast Missouri group to take the title. Last year's contest was won by Isabella, a hard-core group based in Cape Girardeau.

The bands get 30 minutes to play the night of the show, so showcasing their best material is critical.

"First impressions are everything, so the guys are gearing up to really impress the judges," Samons said.

The Pop's shows also are giving the band a chance to expand its audience.

"I've felt that St. Louis' impression of Southeast Missouri is that we're full of cover bands and that booking a band from our area isn't worth it," Samons said. "We're working to change that with Rockface Barband, and we hope that the exposure at this show and if the band wins will help to change some folks' impressions of Southeast Missouri bands."

Rockface Barband features Jeff Bell on guitar and lead vocals, Cecil Haley on keyboards and auxiliary instruments, Ben Grayson on drums and bassist Matt Sanders, the Southeast Missourian's online products manager.

To purchase tickets for the event, get in touch with the band at as well as on Facebook. Tickets are $6 each or two for $10.

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