A few weeks back The Roxy announced several special shows featuring bands that would normally fill much larger venues. Those bands being Capital Cities, The Dandy Warhols, and 311, and lucky me, I got a chance to attend 311’s second night at the historic Sunset Strip venue.
The last time I saw 311 was more than 15 years ago. I was in high school, and San Francisco’s Live 105 had their annual BFD, usually featuring the same lineup as KROQ’s Weenie Roast. I was way in the back of the crowd and was blown away by how much 311 rocked it. I still remember my mom not letting me buy their album because one song said “fuck the naysayers,” but I still got my hands on it. I remember thinking how awesome it would be to see them in a more imitate venue. Upwards of two decades later, they definitely met expectations.
When the members of 311 came on stage, the crowd went nuts. Hands were in the air, people were waving hats and phones, and about half a dozen puffs of smoke danced above the crowd. The band came out with “What Was I Thinking” off Transistor followed by “Silver” off Grassroots, one of their earlier albums from 1994.
This is how much of the night went. Outside of two songs from their new album, Stereolithic, 311 played older material and mostly songs you wouldn’t hear on the radio. I chuckled a little when I heard a girl on the way out say, “Why didn’t they play ‘Amber’?” I wanted to turn around and tell her to go see them the next time they played at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, but I restrained myself.
This was not an “Amber” or “Love Song” kind of a show; this was a show for 311’s dedicated fans. They played songs hardcore fans would want to hear. They played stuff like “Guns,” “Jackolantern’s Weather,” and “Electricity.” Songs that those who have followed them for years would sing along to. And by the time they were done, the entire crowd was a sweaty mess.
311 rocked it. I can’t admit to being the rabid fan that many of the other attendees were, but I was blown away by a group who knows how to rock a show. The evening included amazing guitar and bass solos, huge funk breakdowns, and a killer drum solo that featured everyone in the band playing some sort of percussion in sync. It was clear the members of 311 have been playing together for more than 20 years. It was loud, funky, tight, and just plain awesome.
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