This is one of those stories that can't help raise even the most cynical journalist's cockles a few degrees: Band fresh out of high school, with a disposition as sunny as its melodic brand of pop-rock, wins a spot at one of America's biggest, most important music festivals. Any Hollywood producer would pass because it couldn't possibly be true.
Of course it is. Point to Infinity, a four-piece out of Katy, will have 30 minutes in front of the Lollapalooza crowd at Chicago's Grant Park Sunday afternoon. Set time is 12:30 p.m. on the Google Play stage, where the likes of Gaslight Anthem, The Big Pink and Of Monsters and Men will go on later. It will be about their seventh or eight time to play in front of a live audience.
Point to Infinity is barely a year old, at least according to Facebook; they joined on July 28, 2011. But the band's nucleus of Joshua Adams (vocals/guitar) and Kyle VanDevender (guitar) have been friends since grade school and musically active since junior high. Bassist Richie Choung began playing at his church at age 11, and drummer Josh Cho is the latecomer among them. He started at 14.
"There's so much creativity, so many options," says Adams of being in a band. "You're not controlled. You can write music and do whatever you want, pretty much a free space for creativity. There are no rules, maybe some guidelines. It's also a second family."
Point to Infinity professes an interest in Buddy Holly, the Shins and 2012's other feel-good pop-rock story, Brooklyn's fun. The group's one recording to date, a demo of "Twitterpated" posted on their Facebook page, is certainly in that sweet, sock-hop-ready vein.
VanDevender estimates Point to Infinity has written about ten songs so far but will only play five in their 30-minute set; Adams adds the band is already heading in a "different direction."
The Shins happen to be playing Lollapalooza this weekend too.
"I'd love to meet the Shins," says VanDevender. "[Front man] James Mercer and their lady guitarist have done some sounds that I absolutely love, and I'd love to pick their brains on that, in a hopefully non-annoying fashion."
Of course a story this good has to have an element of comedy. Point to Infinity wound up at Lollapalooza because drummer Cho entered an online contest he thought might lead to a scholarship opportunity. Instead, it turned out to be a battle of the bands sponsored by dosomething.org, a Web site that encourages teenage activism and entrepreneurship, and VH1's Save the Music Foundation, which helps raise funds for cash-starved music-education programs in public schools.
First prize was a spot on the Lollapalooza stage. Cho forgot that he had entered, and never told the rest of the band, so they had no idea. Then one day...
"I get a call from Josh, and he says, 'Hey, I entered us into this contest like two months ago, and we won," recounts VanDevender. "[I said] 'Won what?' 'It says that we're playing this show in Chicago called Lollapalooza.'"
Adams confesses he even had to look up Lollapalooza on the Internet -- that he thought "t sounds like a sketchy bar or something.
"Then I go on the Internet, check it out and fall out of my chair."
During the three-day festival, Point to Infinity will be treated like any other Lollapalooza performer -- the Black Keys, Florence + the Machine, Avicii, Bassnectar, Passion Pit, even the Shins. They'll have access to the artists' village and, besides the early load-in time, free roam of the city.
"I love the lineup this year," says VanDevender. "I'm curious to see what the behind-the-scenes is like, so it will be cool to experience that and see if there'll be any chance to rub shoulders with other artists who have probably influenced us even if we don't know that they've influenced us."
Rocks Off will check in with the band next week to see how it went. But with Lollapalooza under their belts, Point to Infinity's next task will be breaking into the Houston music scene.
"I haven't had a chance to catch many acts over there," admits Adams. "I like Fitzgerald's of course. The Continental Club looks cool. I haven't had a chance to go there yet, though. Mango's Cafe looks like it's a decent spot to have an intimate concert setting.
Especially after things wind down after August, we'd love to hit the Houston scene pretty hard," he adds. "We'll be all polished up and ready to go."
Point to Infinity is also hoping to enter the studio this fall to record enough songs for an EP and collect enough video footage for an electronic press kit, while negotiating the loss of Choung and Cho to Texas Tech and Texas A&M, respectively.
"It really stinks losing players, but we've gone through bass players before," says Adams. "We have another guy we've been looking at who's been playing with us throughout the year who's really solid.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
"Drummer-wise, Josh has been really good about giving us a backbone to our songs," I'm sure we'll be able to find another drummer during the year to help us out."
Spoken like a true musician. How can you not root for that?