St. Louis band Holliday brings tunes to Joplin

Robbie Rash closes the concert with a song on the keyboard.

Robbie Rash closes the concert with a song on the keyboard.

Noelle Ott

With the lights lowered, the crowd quieted in expectation, and the instruments tuned, the band played its debut performance at Dioko Coffee Company.

On Jan. 28, Joplin heard a new sound, one that the band describes to be a mixture of rock and Indie. Holliday is a group of men with various backgrounds all coming out of the St. Louis area. Their passion is Jesus, but they want to present him in a way in which people can relate.

“We don’t try to preach,” said Robbie Rash, who plays acoustic guitar, piano and sings lead vocals for the band. “We try to be real about life.”

The group is composed of four others beside Rash.

Jonathan Shell plays electric guitar. Chris Koboldt plays bass guitar. Ross Brand plays the drums, and Brennan Loveless is the back-up vocalist and is also an electric guitarist.

They started playing together in the summer of 2003 when the group was called upon to lead the worship music at a summer camp. However, they didn’t decide to form a band until the following December when they had chosen to audition for a winter conference. They were hired right off the bat.

“It’s taken off from there,” Rash said.

They were brought to Joplin when Shell, the “big, creative force behind the music,” did design for another band called Fresh Sunday. When the members of Fresh Sunday discovered they were playing at Dioko, they invited Holliday to join them.

Holliday’s band members started to write their own music in 2004 and now they try to do all original songs, or at least add their own twist to a song.

They say it’s a group effort. However, they don’t want to write or perform in order to get signed or become known.

“You set yourself up for disappointment if you write something for the radio, or if it’s to be signed,” Loveless said. “We want to be happy with what we create.”

Although Holliday has performed for almost two years, the members say it still takes some courage to get on stage.

“You think someone up on stage is confident enough up there to get up there,” Loveless said. “[But] it’s very humbling.”

“I just like to play,” Rash said. “You get nervous. Your hands shake, but I enjoy it.”

Even though performing is what they love to do, they try to keep the focus on God, which can be heard in their lyrics and seen in how they act.

“He’s our inspiration, and the reason why we do everything,” Rash said.

The group holds great respect for each of its members and anyone can tell they are close, on and off the stage.

“Rob is very willing to do whatever’s asked,” Loveless said. “He’s more than willing to take suggestions. At one time or another, we were all under his teaching. We wouldn’t want to be with anyone else.”

They said Koboldt is “phenomenal” and a very talented bass player and Loveless is “the one who brings the looks to the group.”

Shell is recognized as the comedian in the band and the one who they can go to for advice.

“He’s the voice of reason, the owl,” Loveless said.

The band’s members haven’t just impressed each other. They made some fans at Dioko as well.

“I like how passionate the band is,” said Katie Kruse, one of the audience members, “You can tell that they really meant what they say, that their music is more than words.”

To learn more about Holliday, visit its Web site at

The band is currently making plans to release its first CD, titled, Even Trees Grow Tired.