Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nick Hexum: Man on a Mission (Washington Post)

Move aside, Brad Pitt -- 311's Nick Hexum is on a mission to tackle global warming.

"I agree with Al Gore's statements that global warming is a bigger threat than terrorism," the singer told us yesterday. Hexum launched Liberal Hexum in April to inform people about environmental issues and to raise money for the cause.

"I first got interested in forming a political action committee, but the red tape was too much," he said, before unleashing enough global warming statistics to make a scientist envious. Hexum said he had been mulling the idea of working for environmental causes for some time, but when his house in the Florida Keys was hit by four hurricanes in 2004, he decided to take action.

While he isn't ruling out taking his cause to the Hill, Hexum says he's mainly focused on getting the word out. "A lot of people don't understand the urgency of global warming," he said. "It's a struggle for our Earth, to save it for our grandchildren."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Promise Keepers (Santa Barbara Independent)

When vocalist Doug “SA” Martinez told The Independent that 311’s show at the Bowl would be one for the history books, it may have seemed like a bold statement, but let it be known across the land that the Omaha, Nebraska quintet does not lie.

With a résumé boasting nine full-length albums, 17 singles, and 18 years, 311’s live shows have become a powerhouse of diversity that revolve around their deadliest weapon: the set list. Even the few bands who can match the depth of their discography often fail to display the same diversity in their live shows, making 311 a constant fascination even to the fans who have been following them since the beginning. With more than 80 songs in rotation for their Unity tour, the set list offered by the boys last Saturday was the best I’ve heard at the Bowl in years.

Following a kinetic jumpstart by Pepper, the day began with a historic footnote as the Wailers returned to the Bowl for the first time in 27 years. Though the absence of Tuff Gong was noticeable, the reggae ensemble presented a concrete performance, checking off the hits one by one until they were joined by Pepper for a closing performance of “One Love.”

311’s lengthy set maintained a gymnastic balance among all of their albums, beginning with the mellow grooves of “Welcome.” Of course the necessities were present, including “Beautiful Disaster,” “All Mixed Up,” “Come Original,” and “Down,” but what really sent the show over the edge were the tracks normally forgotten in the live circuit. Much to the delight of old-school fans, 311 played a plethora of old jams, including “Prisoner,” “From Chaos,” “You Wouldn’t Believe,” “I’ll Be Here a While,” and “What Was I Thinking?”

An eclectic encore put the finishing touches on the night as 311 returned to stage with the Wailers, joining forces to jam out to the classic Bob Marley song “Exodus.” The 11-piece ensemble transformed back into five rockers, who finished off the night with “Creatures.”