311 performs at Usana Amphitheater in West Valley City, Utah, on July 30, 2013. (Photo by Bard Barlow)
311 finished up their second show in as many nights at The Fillmore in Silver Spring on Tuesday, July 25, proving the band are still going strong after nearly 30 years!
Over the past three decades, 311 have certainly made a name for themselves and developed a loyal following. What may be more impressive is that they have had pretty much the same lineup for all of those 30 years. The band consists of Nick Hexum (vocals, guitar), Doug “SA” Martinez (vocals, turntables), Tim Mahoney (guitar), Chad Sexton (drums), and Aaron “P-Nut” Wills (bass).
If you are a musician, chances are you know at least one of these names even if you aren’t a fan of the band. These guys are serious musicians, well liked and well respected throughout their careers.
On June 23, 311 put out their 12th studio album Mosaic via BMG. While their sound has changed over the years, the music isn’t watered down or molded to a certain industry standard. The band played some music from this album but also mixed in many of their older songs. At this point in their career, they don’t seem too concerned about promoting their newest album in their shows, but more just sharing their music and giving back to their fanbase. Still, 311 were excited to make the live debut of their track “Forever Now” from Mosaic in the latter half of the show.
Surprisingly, they did not play “Amber” or “Don’t Tread on Me” — two of their more “mainstream” songs. (Nor did they perform them on their first night on Monday, July 24, according to a quick check of Setlist.fm!) That said, they definitely demonstrated the right stuff. The crowd went crazy for their three-song encore — “Omaha Stylee,” “Down,” and “Fuck the Bullshit.”
Leaving the parking garage, “Amber” could be heard coming from a concert-goer’s car so maybe not everyone was pleased with the song selection. I imagine it’s tough to please everyone when it comes to creating a set list for shows. With 12 full albums of material at this point, 311 have many great songs to choose from.
311 also gave us some fun individual performances. P-Nut played a bass solo and Chad performed one of the better drum solos I have seen live. Following the solo, the whole band jumped on percussion instruments and had a short drum jam session. It seemed that these guys all still really love what they do. The sound levels were excellent at The Fillmore Silver Spring, which helped that love shine. You could hear Nick’s vocals perfectly. That is key for a band like this because those unmistakable vocals are one of the things that really make 311 stand out.
The guys all seem to be in pretty good shape (especially Nick who wasn’t shy about showing off his six-pack abs), and it wouldn’t surprise me to see these guys keep this up for another 30 years. When I saw that 311 were coming to town, I knew it was a must-see concert. If you were a rock fan growing up in the ’90s, you knew 311. They will go down as one of the greatest groups of the ’90s, and you should make it a priority to enjoy their show next time they come to your town.
Watch the official music videos for a few of my favorites, including “Down” and “All Mixed Up” by 311 on YouTube:
Watch the official music video for “Too Much to Think” and listen to “Too Late” from the new album by 311: