Remembering when they blasted onto the SoCal scene and onto heavy rotation on KROQ in the mid ‘90s, I quickly started to feel really old when I realize that 311 has been together now for 30+ years. Each summer, they team up with friends and tour across the country—steamrolling through the landscape and bringing positive vibes wherever they land. This summer they joined forces with fellow rock-reggae juggernauts Iration on what would be a 36 date coast-to-coast tour dubbed “Live From The Ride”.
The west coast was the end of the line for this summer’s shows and Irvine’s FivePoint Amphitheatre served as LA/OC’s stop on Friday, October 15th. After an opening set by LA’s own Iya Terra, Hawaii’s own Iration put together a fusion filled 50-minute set that surely warmed up the SoCal crowd. Now based in Santa Barbara, the band’s combination of reggae, pop and rock (now technically classified as sunshine reggae) immediately brought the crowd to their feet with “Already Gold”, “Summer Nights” and “Time Bomb”. Their flow was extremely complimentary to the evening’s headliners, a definite highlight was “Seven Nation Army”, a thumpin’ cover of the White Stripes classic anthem.
Bathed in strong spotlights and celestial-filled LED backscreens, 311 hit the stage at 9:20pm for what would become a career spanning 21 song setlist that included tracks from at least 10 different studio albums. The constant energy onstage perfectly matches the band’s eclectic sound.
With lead singer Nick Hexum highlighted in bright light, guitarist Tim Mahoney and bassist Aaron ‘P-Nut’ Wills jammed out under a wave of neon light during the night’s opening track, “Freeze Time”. Drummer Chad Sexton was steady as ever and from one song to the next the hits kept coming as “Do You Right” and “Don’t Stay Home” immediately followed. Before Hexum and fellow vocalist SA Martinez took a breather they ripped through the summery flow on “Sunset In July”. As this was show number 34 of the tour the band did not show any noticeable signs of COVID rust.
The band typically gets a little deeper on their setlists but this tour they stuck to more of the mainstream hits but still made sure to sneak in a handful of tunes for the hard-core fans with “Applied Science” and “Homebrew”. The tropical take on The Cure’s “Lovesong” is always a nice break and had the crowd swaying from side to side. As the set came to a close they brought out the heavy guns with crowd favorites “Amber”, “You Wouldn’t Believe” and “Creatures (For A While)”.
311 always knows how to bring the party vibe, they are like the one friend who can turn a get-together upside down as soon as they enter the room. This night was no different, the boys from Nebraska made sure that as we continue to emerge from the COVID haze we are reminded that live shows are vital to our overall recovery.
Just last week, the announcement dropped for the annual 311 Day (well, actually two days 3/11 and 3/12, 2022), returning to Las Vegas at the Park Theater at the Park MGM. This two-night extravaganza is a true 311 marathon with setlists over 40 songs deep each night. Tickets go on sale this Friday (October 22nd), VIP packages are already live.
Freeze Time | Do You Right | Don’t Stay Home | Sunset in July | Wildfire | Homebrew | Come Original | Use of Time | All Mixed Up | Bass Solo | Beautiful Disaster | Stainless | Lovesong (The Cure cover) | Applied Science (with full band solo) | Beyond the Gray Sky | Amber | You Wouldn’t Believe | Creatures (For a While) | Livin’ & Rockin’
Encore: Tranquility | Down