County Grind readers may not be very familiar with West Palm Beach four-piece, Making Faces, but they should start taking note. This '90s throwback alternative rock act is arguably one of the hardest working bands in Palm Beach County.
Although they don't grace our alt weekly pages often, the quartet has managed to land over 250 gigs in the last two years. Making Faces' feel-good, straight-ahead rock, sprinkled with reggae accoutrements, has struck a nerve with local audiences. Evocative of groups like Sublime, 311, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with an added spiritual undertone, this local band specializes in agreeable and approachable tunes that radiate mass appeal.
Together for only two years, Making Faces has already booked numerous festivals across the state of Florida -- headlining Juno Beach's Turtle Fest, Orlando's Florida Music Festival, and the Delray Affair, to name a few.
Keeping its nose to the grindstone, Making Faces is even performing a SunFest after-party at seafood eatery and performance space Tin Fish. Not only that, but the group is performing SunFest after-parties almost every night of the five-day fest; look for them Dr. Feelgoods on Thursday, Friday at World of Beer, and Saturday at Bar Louie.
"We have to be careful not to wear ourselves out," said John DeMatteo, with trepidation, about his band's major back-to-back gigs next week. The personable lead singer started the rock act back in 2011 while running a recording studio out of Summit Christian School. At the time, DeMatteo began to feel aspirations of starting his own project. "I was stuck in the studio for hours on end; I began to get the itch to put my own band together."
New Times caught up with the lead vocalist and guitarist while the gifted musician was at his home studio working on new material for his band. With such a demanding schedule, we wondered how the foursome found the energy to perform night after night, especially after putting in a day's work at their jobs? (DeMatteo says he sells roofs.) "It's exhausting sometimes," admitted DeMatteo candidly. "I'll have plenty of time to sleep when I'm dead."
Making Faces issued its debut record Bright Roads Ahead last February. Written while DeMatteo's wife was fighting Leukemia -- she is in full remission now -- the spiritually inclined songwriter wrote many tracks about putting trust in God. "He is all we had to count on during that time," explained DeMatteo.
"Media Puppet," "Cemetery," "Win Me Over," and "The Journey," are some of the numbers on Bright Roads that touch on faith. Some Making Faces fans may be surprised to find out that the act has such a deep-rooted spiritual side, but DeMatteo is quick to point out that his group is not a Christian rock act.
"We avoid being pigeonholed as a religious band," DeMatteo admitted. "It's not really about religion, but about our Creator and his love."
A new album is in the works for the band. The album will be more of a collaborative writing effort, according to DeMatteo. He also tells us that the group will be adding more elements to its self-described reggae funky punk sound. "Our next record will have more keyboards, and will be much more organic, as we will be experimenting with guitar and drum tones."
We asked if the group felt any pre-gig jitters before SunFest. "No fears right now, but anything can happen between now and Sunday at 1 p.m."
Finally, we wondered if DeMatteo even liked the Barenaked Ladies. "I love their style, they put a smile on your face," he says. He feels that music with a slice of humor is a good thing. "We tend to be goofballs on stage, too, and never worry about being 'cool' or what people think."
Making Faces performs at 1 p.m. on the Ford Stage at SunFest, situated along the Intracoastal Waterway in downtown West Palm Beach. The festival grounds are on Flagler Drive from Banyan Boulevard to Lakeview Drive. Day Passes (for ages 13 and up) cost $30 and $37 at the door. Call 1-800-786-3378, or visit sunfest.com.