Let’s just say that what I have to write about seeing 311 has probably been said in some form or fashion in a show review at some point, and that’s not because of anything remotely to do with 311. If you were at the Dallas show, then you know what a perfect performance the band played for a close to capacity crowd. You also walked away feeling the same way I’ll bet 90% of us felt; satisfied, happy and fulfilled to have witnessed one of the most iconic bands of my generation: live and in the flesh.
Like literally, I saw their flesh; NICK HEXUM, TIM MAHONEY, SA MARTINEZ, PNUT AND CHAD SEXTON were right in front of me: I could see them and not on a jumbotron-like TV screen. Now, I mention this for a specific reason; seeing them in the flesh, and it’s not some weird reason or super-stalker-mega-fanatical fan reason. (Of course it didn’t hurt that for the first 3 songs I was in the pit taking pictures, which through the lens, I could see them even closer.) Side Note: I am always so humbled to have the privilege of taking pictures at a show in the pit (the space between the crowd barrier and the stage). I am humbled because it’s at those moments, like… when PERFECT MISTAKE is about to end and you can’t recall taking any pictures during the song…and you realize that you are in a zone that only you, the band and the audience is experiencing right at that moment and no one else is. It just allows me to feel present. If you know what I mean, clap your hands! And if not, well just keep reading…
When I can see expressions or the flesh move with the movements of the bones underneath, the experience becomes real for me. It’s not some crazy video or that I can just hear what is happening on stage while my mind drifts off to god only knows where. I can see what’s happening, I can watch the expressions, I can see the humanity of those that have been put on pedestals or that some view as being differently, I can see them for who they are, where they’ve been and what experiences they can share with us through music. Being able to see people performing draws what connects us to 311 even closer. Now, I know I have jumped off into the deep end without my floaties or nose plug,…stay with me and I’ll circle back around, I promise.
Watching 311 perform, is like watching a well-oiled machine. Well, one of those well oiled machines from that movie with Will Smith – the steampunk-like Western themed one – a machine from that movie that has different leg lengths and moves like a drunken spider is imitating stop start videography…yes, like that!! You know what I’m talking about? The machine is oiled, tuned and does it’s job perfectly but just goes about it in a beautiful spasm. It’s not a choreographed to an 8 count, because these five guys are doing what they feel. Watching TIM MAHONEY play is so rad. He almost twerks playing that f’ing guitar, but he doesn’t miss a measure and he pops those moves that I swear he created back in the day. NICK HEXUM and SA MARTINEZ bounce, rock, jump, spin all while managing to sing in perfect unison with those beachy harmonies that we fell in love at first listen back then and continue to do so. I could watch CHAD SEXTON play all night just to see if he’d crack any other expressions than the 3 he placed on his face at different times. Y’all. Seriously. Can you just look at his kit? Massive. I think I read where there were 16 or 18 drums on just the chromed like a 1957 Chrysler drum rack. Not to mention those not attached. PNUT never comes out of that cool strut playing the bass as he helps to hold down the tempos and the beats with CHAD.
My favorites from their set here in Dallas were: TOO MUCH TO THINK, ALL MIXED UP, AMBER, DON’T STAY HOME, DOWN & CREATURES. I really think “MOSAIC” is solid. As records go for 311 this one debuted at #6 on July 6, 2017 and is the band’s 10th Top 10 debut album on Billboard. Impressive…most impressive. What’s even more impressive, NICK HEXUM recently attributed the success of the band and the 10th Top 10 to the loyalty of their fans. But it’s reciprocal; look at their Facebook page and tell me that the fans aren’t appreciative? Look at how they interact with us and not only do they give us the music, but they give of themselves. The 311 CRUISE, Fan Pics Page, Contests, Tour Dates – it’s 311 giving to the fans and igniting that connection between them that has literally been continually charged and stoked into a roaring flame that will continue to burn.
Here’s the kicker and what is ballz out in the wind badass: this is a band that has been together consecutively for 27 years. For TWENTY SEVEN they’ve pumped out the hits, these songs that defined a genre of rock alongside bands like SUBLIME, SLIGHTLY STOOPID and the other bands that have come up listening and playing with them like PEPPER, DIRTY HEADS, SOJA & many others.
Almost three decades ago, 311 took what they started in Nebraska of all places, and despite a multitude of styles that changed in rock, continued to do what they do. I don’t think I have done anything but breathe, pee & poop consecutively for 27 years. That is a long time and this band deserves a f’ing medal or a hand engraved plaque that says “This Is What Awesome Looks Like” and make it into 311 t-shirts, sell ‘em and we will all be awesome together! That’s an awesome idea, no? (Ⓒ Cherri Bird, all rights reserved – wait. I forgot, totally can’t claim that idea as mine. I remember where that came from – I have a t-shirt that says that on it already…my bad!) And I’m not being sarcastic, I really have a shirt that says “This is what awesome looks like” on it. No joke!!!
As I was saying, 311’s pot boils over with each new record. Call it what you want – IDGAF. What I do GAF about are the adjectives that personify every member of 311 both on and off the stage, relating to the music of the band: committed, loyal, creative, compassionate, empathetic, patient, brave and courageous, risk-takers, talent, over achievers, and probably the most important – dreamers. Because you can have all or a couple of those qualities I mentioned above and be whatever it is you want to be as long as you are a dreamer; one that defies the odds.
And I’m betting that if you’re a 311 fan like I am, you’re already a dreamer and a maker of magic. You can’t help but be happy listening to their music.and can’t help but want to spread that love and light wherever you go. So if you love the band 311 and haven’t seen this tour – go. Make plans and just go. I can promise you, if you do see this tour, what connections drew you in from a song on the radio or a mix tape you got from a friend back then, seeing 311 at a show on this Summer Tour will allow you to recall and relive. You’ll experience how 311 isn’t just a band, but the firestarter of sorts to living life!
DALLAS SETLIST: Perfect Mistake, Beautiful Disaster, Do You Right, Too Much To Think, Freeze Time, All Mixed Up, Too Late, Come Original, Hey Yo, Bass Solo, On A Roll, Amber, Wildfire, Don’t Stay Home, Applied Science, Til The City’s on Fire, You Wouldn’t Believe, One & the Same, Unity, Hive, Down, e: Omaha Stylee, Beyond the Grey Sky, Creatures
Photos by Cherri Bird
“MOSAIC” is out and can be purchased anywhere music is sold. Here’s the video to “TOO MUCH TO THINK”, just because:
Til Next Time – MRML