Friday, October 29, 2010

311 at the Fillmore Tonight (Vibes - Music Blog)

311 A number of local acts make it their business to cover this band’s hits, but none is as good as the original. 311 continues to rock out on tour following its mid-’90s success with songs like “All Mixed Up” and “Down.” They’ll take the stage in the Q.C. to perform music that has enough guitar riffs to make you head-bang and beats funky enough for even the most dedicated hip-hop fiend. $67, The Fillmore Charlotte

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hexum and Co. still rock out pavilion (Cavilier)

“It’s good to be here! Let’s have some fun — what do you say?” shouted Nick Hexum — front man of 311 — after the band took the stage at the Charlottesville Pavilion last Sunday. Hexum never stopped thanking the audience during the show, which consistently delivered a performance that was both fun and musically satisfying.

Opening for 311 was BALLYHOO!, a band from Maryland whose musical genre was uncannily similar to that of 311: a mix of funk, rock, hip-hop and reggae. After a 40-minute set, BALLYHOO! left the stage, throwing CD cases and band paraphernalia as they went.

As 311’s crew set up during the long intermission, it was easy to reflect on how far the band has come since its humble beginnings in Omaha, Neb. There were more drums, switches and amps than could be counted, and the pavilion’s three areas — a lawn section, some tables and chairs and a front floor — were almost entirely filled with a wide variety of fans. Although the audience was made up of mostly college students and 20- to 30-somethings, there were a significant number of older attendees as well, in addition to some pre-teens and even the odd family.

When 311 finally took the stage a little after 8 p.m., the band walked on stage to spinning blue and white lights and a cheering crowd, then jumped straight into an energetic 90-minute set. Although the band’s summer tour and current fall tour highlight the group’s most recent album, Uplifter, they still played a wide variety from their catalog. Newer songs such as “Jackpot” and “Mix It Up” were interspersed with hits such as “Amber,” “From Chaos” and “Creatures (For a While).” Most of the songs showed the high-energy, rap-rock side of the band, but a few were slower and more experimental.

The show certainly showed passion and creativity, but there was still one thing missing: improvisation. There is certainly nothing wrong with a scripted live act — Lady Gaga comes to mind — but the band’s songs came so rapid-fire and were so lacking in grandeur and spontaneity that it almost seemed like the show was just a loud re-recording of their studio albums. Even the two-song encore felt scripted — the band only left the stage for two or three minutes and cranked out the final two songs in the same manner as the rest of the set.

That is not to say, however, that the show did not have its share of impressive moments. In the middle of “Applied Science,” for instance, all of the band members left the stage except for drummer Chad Sexton, who played an impressive six-minute drum solo. The other four musicians then rejoined him on stage with their own miniature drum sets for another four minutes of percussion-only music.
In similar fashion, bassist P-Nut remained on stage alone after “Beautiful Disaster” and played an extended bass solo. Later on, DJ/vocalist S. A. Martinez displayed his beat-boxing skills during “Purpose.” The remainder of the show followed the scripted, choreographed nature of the band’s studio albums, but the crowd remained thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Omaha's Finest: 311 comes to Knoxville (Tennessee Journal)

published: October 27 2010 11:05 PM

Knoxville's Tennessee Theater hosted famous alternative rock group 311 for an incredible night filled with many great renditions of the songs that formed their unique musical style and loyal fan base. 

Compared to other setlists from previous tour dates, 311 played a great set which included many songs from different times in the group's existence including a couple of tracks off their lesser known first album, Music.

They also played many of the songs that gathered people across the nation's attention such as Down, All Mixed Up, Come Original, and Creatures.

With their Southern California vibes with heavy bass, reggae backbone and progressive riffs, 311's unique sound, while usually distorted to perfection, was extremely melodic and catchy.

The combination of the band’s energy, their great song choices, and the excellent acoustics of the Tennessee Theater, made for a great night for the gathered fans. One should definitely see this group live if the opportunity is presented because everybody in the audience was dancing and grooving and the band played their hearts out.

Every year on March 11, 311 plays a 3/11 day show that consists of a live performance of practically the group’s entire discography, usually playing for up to five hours. This event was captured on the DVD 311 Day: Live in New Orleans.
Though, the show here in Knoxville wasn’t a full discography’s worth of music, it was highly energetic, great fun and an amazing performance by a great band.

Monday, October 25, 2010

311 and Ballyhoo wrap up from Pier Six (Baltimore Examiner)

Nobody knows what to expect out of show crowds these days. Presales are going down across the nation, and Baltimore/D.C. is no different. So it was eery that just before Ballyhoo opened things up Pier Six remained sparsely filled. Ah, that didn't mean anything the minute Howi Spangler hit the stage with his guitar and beer, and led Ballyhoo into 50 minutes of energetic and finely tuned rock/reggae. The place immediately filled up, not quite to capacity, but encouraging nonetheless.

They were greeted warmly by the local throngs, nearly all of whom displayed enthusiastic support when urged by Spangler, "Make some noise out there if you know who we are." The response indicated Ballyhoo is rightly appreciated in their home town.

So with a strong turnout of 3500 properly warmed up, 311 took to the stage, spurring the crowd into stirring around, moving almost en masse as if collectively a liquid form, through the seats, up the aisles, and back out around the side again. And repeat. Fans wanting to get close to Nick Hexum got close time and again, only to be repelled by the all-business Pier Six security. (Note: why don't they just put in a barricade here? It would make things a lot easier for security and photographers alike.)

311's set was an hour and forty minutes long, and included their tried and true best material from earlier albums mixed with newer stuff from Uplifter (2009). All in all, they brought a solid set that pleased the crowd, but the heavier songs and sections sounded off, just so slightly. Melodic tunes like "Amber" were nearly pitch-perfect while songs like "Down" flattened out at the upper ranges, or so it seemed. The output didn't unsettle the fans, however, who remained right through to the final note.

All in all the show was a success for both bands. The nod goes to Ballyhoo, though, for the quality of their sound. Word has it they recently brought a new sound guy on board. If so, he has his act down.
311 continues on tour, visiting Knoxville, TN, tomorrow, then on to South Carolina, North Carolina and finishing up with their special Halloween show in Atlanta.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Day Rising (Diamondback, Maryland)

When police mobilize on an indecent exposure call in Omaha, Neb., the police code for the situation is a "311." The very nature of being cited for this so-called crime — being caught, for instance, naked in a local pool — is in many ways the definition of the freewheeling undertones in a band like 311.
Since forming in 1988 and exploding onto the national scene in 1995, 311 has often been considered a quintessential band of the 1990s, with classic tracks such as "Down" and "All Mixed Up" still receiving radio play 15 years after their debuts.
Now out on yet another tour, 311 will come to Baltimore's Pier Six Pavilion tomorrow, ready to rock and roll.
If it wasn't obvious already, 311, which originated in Omaha, took on its name after some members of the band committed the act described above. Certainly not a group to be ashamed of themselves, the band took its three-digit title and the intense energy of its live show to the national stage and never looked back.
"We don't play huge venues all the time," bassist Aaron Wills, known as P-Nut, said. "When we do, it certainly is [nice]. It's nice to know that people still care about us. They wanna hear the new music, and they wanna hear the old music, and they wanna watch us play our instruments in the particular way we do. It's crazy; it's going all according to plan, and it's exceeded all expectations a thousand times over."
P-Nut — whose name is derived from a similarly strange story about the shape of his head — has been a member of 311 since the band's inception.
In the years he's spent with the group, P-Nut has been able to build a life for himself, even among the commotion of insistent touring.
The stereotypical life of a rocker — drugs, sex, parties, long days and longer nights — would seem to be detrimental to a man trying to build a family.
However, the repetitive and draining cycle of live shows experienced by P-Nut and the rest of 311 only seem to make his personal ties stronger.
"It's only proven how important it is," P-Nut said of relationships. "You really gotta choose your partner and your circle of friends real wisely because there's temptations and pitfalls and a lot of money going around and jealousy. It's a thick soup of intellectual pratfalls. You gotta have the right person with you. I've known my wife since 1993; we've lived together since 1995, so she's seen it all."
Now the father of a 7-week-old boy, P-Nut is excited about both his life and career.
As for the music of 311, the band, which is recording a new album for release sometime next year, still considers itself to be a perfect example of hybrid rock. Since the '90s, 311 has been playing everything from reggae to hard rock, even covering bands such as The Cure with 2004's "Love Song" for the 50 First Dates soundtrack.
Even with all the diversity of its sound, it seems fair to assume that 311's image would be fading after so many years on the music scene.
The music world is constantly reinventing itself, simmering down or demolishing the popularity of many artists. If nothing else, 311's biggest battle these days is figuring out how to stay relevant.
P-Nut, on the other hand, said the band's live energy and constantly expanding catalogue keep new fans coming and old fans coming back.
"At least in the first eight or 10 or 12 rows are a perpetually college-aged crowd, or maybe even younger — older high school kids just going to their first shows, getting a little taste of freedom and some money in their pockets," P-Nut said. "I think that's one of the things that's kept us along is that we do have a certain amount of excitement and energy level that makes it easy for college kids to have a great time at our shows. We are kinda perpetually stuck in that ourselves. We wanna rock out."
To 311, the live show is as much of a mental task as it is a physical task. The band has often written songs about more worldly subjects than most groups' normal fare.
As P-Nut describes it, a person with a big voice, such as 311 and its microphones, should use it to talk about issues that might otherwise get only one-sided activism.
For P-Nut and 311, the decriminalization of marijuana has become an important issue, which is understandable considering the band's position with youth and counterculture.
"I don't think anyone can really defend that it is better to arrest stoners than not," P-Nut said. "It's tying up our legal system; it's costing penitentiaries space for actual criminals. It's an important thing to talk about; the tides are starting to turn. We got 14 states doing medical marijuana, and when I get back home to California, I'm gonna vote to decriminalize marijuana across the board. ... It's such a stupid law. People need to be educated more than they need to be incarcerated."
Regardless of political positions, it is 311's music that keeps the band thriving.
With one beautiful disaster after another, 311 hopes to keep bringing its raucous live show year after year, venue after venue, for as long as anyone cares to see them.

Sucess adds up for 311 (Stroudsburg Weekender)

You could call the history of 311 a story in numbers. Six albums that made it into Billboard’s Top 10. More than 14,000 fans coming out to shows in major markets like Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C. Sixty-three songs during a 5-hour performance in 2008 at the annual 3-11 Day.
Another important 311 numeral is 20, as in the number of years the hybrid alternative rock/reggae/hip-hop band has been recording and touring.
“It’s weird, because after 20 years, we’re kind of on our second wind,” says 311 lead guitarist Tim Mahoney, taking a break from the band’s sessions for a new album at its North Hollywood studio, The Hive. “Holy shit, we’ve been doing this so long. I think for me, personally, I always want to write better and play better and execute better. So it’s a challenge. I think everybody (in the band) has kind of had that approach.”
311 formed in Omaha, Nebraska, before exploding into the mainstream with its third album, the 1995 self-titled release that featured the hits “Down” and “All Mixed Up.” Despite the fading of alt rock’s glory days, 311 has managed to stay popular, turning a 2004 cover of The Cure’s “Love Song” into a radio mainstay and launching its well-attended Summer Unity tours in 2006.
On Wednesday, October 20, 311 — vocalist/guitarist Nick Hexum, vocalist/DJ S.A. Martinez, bassist P-Nut, drummer Chad Sexton and Mahoney — will perform at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, the smallest venue on the band’s fall tour. After speaking with Mahoney, it seems like both diehard fans and more peripheral listeners only familiar with 311’s hits should be pleased with what they hear in Stroudsburg.
“Now, we soundcheck a couple songs, maybe songs that weren’t played in a while,” Mahoney says. “We try to incorporate variety. Some want to hear B tracks, some only know radio songs. A song like ‘Down,’ which is like a ‘thank you’ song anyway, we probably play that every night.”
311 is again working with Bob Rock, whose production resume includes Metallica’s self-titled “black” album and Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood.” The band first worked with Rock on “Uplifter,” its most recent album which was released in 2009. With introductions out of the way and Rock and the band now accustomed to working with each other, both parties were able to get straight to business this time around. At the time of the interview, Mahoney said 311 and Rock were in the preproduction stage.
“He’s great,” says Mahoney. “I can’t say enough nice things about him, his work ethic. We just learned so much about him and had a great experience with him on ‘Uplifter.’”
The band has yet to set a release date for the new album.
The fact that 311 made its big early commercial mark while MTV was still playing music videos and record labels were thriving is not lost on Mahoney, who is grateful for the timing of the whole thing.
“Oh man, definitely,” he says, laughing. “The reason why I laugh is because we got in at the very tail end of it, when a band like us could sell three million records. The blue record (‘311’), had we not sold a bunch of records, I wouldn’t have been able to put a down payment on my house.”
311 considers a 1990 opening slot for Fugazi at Omaha’s Sokol Auditorium to be its first-ever show. Mahoney, who went to high school with Hexum and Sexton, wasn’t yet a member of the band, but he was at the show — to see Fugazi — and didn’t see 311’s set. After some lineup shifts, Mahoney, and later Martinez, who had been collaborating with the band, joined 311.
Pinning down the 311 sound is a difficult proposition. But the diverse influences Mahoney cites in his guitar playing might shed some light: Jimmy Page, Dr. Know from Bad Brains, John Scofield, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin — “probably the best player on the planet,” Mahoney says — Dimebag Darrell, Jamaican reggae artist Ernest Ranglin, the band Nashville Pussy and Phish’s Trey Anastasio, whom Mahoney says he listens to every day.
Despite the continued chart success, 311 makes most of its money from touring, and the band spices up its schedule with special events, like 3-11 Day in New Orleans. About a week after the Sherman Theater show, 311 will play its “Music” album, a fan favorite from 1993, in its entirety during a show at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. It’s a way for 311 to further a relationship with its audience, a relationship that is as strong as it’s ever been.
“I think we’re fortunate that our fans will follow us as far as what we do and we write and come out and see us play,” says Mahoney. “That’s how we make our living.”

311 Brings the Heat to HOB: The veteran alt-rock outfit steamrolls into A.C. with a new attitude (Press of Atlantic City)

Like so many veteran bands, 311 finds itself at a bit of a career crossroads. The alternative rock group's last recording, "Uplifter," reached No. 3 on the Billboard Album Chart - 311's highest position in its 20-year history - but also marked the end of its long-term deal with Jive's Volcano Records.
The band, which is appearing with Philly-based alt-reggae troupe The Movement Thursday, Oct. 21, at the House of Blues at Showboat Casino-Hotel in Atlantic City, is in the studio working with "Uplifter" producer Bob Rock on the band's 10th release.
Ahead of the show, co-founder and lead singer Nick Hexum spoke to At The Shore about the band's creative process and his renewed focus on the music.
Question: Will you be playing any new tracks in Atlantic City?
Answer: In this day and age, if you play something live, everyone is going to hear it that day. Sometimes we like to make sure they hear the studio version first. Sometimes we keep the new stuff under wraps.
You never know, maybe we'll try to bust something out.
Q: You decided to team up again with Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi) for the new record. What do you look for in a producer?
A: I think the best music comes from an unscripted place, where you set the business aside, and you just tap into that kid who was excited about music and you're following your heart.
If you try to write a hit or what people want to hear, it doesn't work. People give us input, and we definitely listen. But it would be impossible to write a record from a focus group.
Q: You took nearly four years off before "Uplifter." Was that necessary to clear your heads?
A: We felt it was time to renew things and to just live and be normal for a little bit. Now we feel like we're in the zone. New ideas are popping up all the time, and we feel focused.
It feels comfortable making music right now. I think we'll keep following it up faster than we did before.
Q: What does it mean to be "normal?"
A: The road is a kind of a fantasy land where you're constantly busy and catered to. Mentally, it can be challenging, and everybody's on top of each other all the time.
Just being domestic, it's a big part of life. Now I've got a wonderful baby girl (who's 1) that I take care of a lot. That's the challenge - being able to have both worlds.
Q: Was part of finding that balance deciding to give up running your own label and your clothing company?
A: I found it was better for me to simplify my life and just focus on a couple of things - that's songwriting and family and touring. 311 is plenty of a brand - if you've got a big brand and a small brand, maybe it's better to focus on the one.
311 is more than a band - it's a movement. Fans call it the 311 Nation. They come together, it's about a scene. We're watching them as much as they're watching us. Our fans support our more positive ideals and points of view.
Q: Does the movement extend to your getting political from the stage this fall? You were a big supporter of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
A: Honestly, I've backed off that stuff. Opinions vary so widely, and our buzzword has always been the name of our tour - unity. It's very easy to wedge people apart by taking strong stances on various things.
I have strong views, but we keep it out of the music. We want all comers, the more the merrier.
We want to make it a big gathering.
Introducing ... The Movement
Opening for 311 is the Philadelphia-based alternative reggae-rock quartet The Movement.
The band consists of Jordan Miller on guitar and lead vocals, Gary Jackson on drums, Jay Schmidt on bass and newcomer John Bowling on keyboards. (Co-founder Josh Swain, who was a childhood friend of Miller's in their native South Carolina, left the band earlier this year.)
Philadelphonic Studios producer Chris DiBenedetto largely brought together the current roster after original member Jon "DJ Riggles" Ruff, who was featured on the The Movement's debut, "On Your Feet," departed in 2006.
Two years later, DiBenedetto introduced the remaining members to Jackson, who brought in his buddy, Schmidt.
The group is still touring behind its 2008 release, "Set Sail" (One Bald Egg Productions), which featured contributions from Garrett "G. Love" Dutton and Slightly Stoopid's Oguer Ocon.
Miller has described The Movement's sound as being reflective of its members' "personal non-reggae interests," which include The Pixies and below-the-radar alternative music.

Backstage with Nick Hexum (Cavilier Daily, Univ. of Virginia)

311 has drawn a loyal following through its singular blend of hip-hop, rock and reggae sounds. But it also provides its listeners with something more: a full slate of concerts each year, allowing fans to consistently connect with the group, known as one of the best performing acts around.
tableau had the opportunity to chat with Nick Hexum, the band’s frontman, in anticipation of its Sunday concert at the Charlottesville Pavilion. Hexum and I discussed musical influences, the band’s upcoming music and the dynamics of its live shows.
311, pronounced “three-eleven,” played its first show in 1990 in Omaha, Neb., but has since moved to Los Angeles. Six of its albums have reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200 and eight singles, including “Amber” and “Love Song,” have reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Alternative Rock chart. Much of 311’s fame, however, derives from its reputation as a touring band. 311 has finished its summer tour and is in the studio recording an unnamed album set for release in 2011.

tableau: Obviously your brand of music is something that is certainly unique. What influenced you and how did that impact the music you are making now?
Hexum: It’s just such a different world today, where you can get access to any music, any time. In Omaha, we had one cool downtown record store where we would go and hang out and listen to punk rock, reggae, ska, funk and early hip-hop, but you really had to dig to find it. To me, it was all about combining different styles, and there were only a few bands in the late ‘80s that were making hybrid music, which is really what got me excited.
tableau: Did growing up in Omaha affect your development as a band?
Hexum: It had to have. I think that because we weren’t a part of any established scene there was a kind of innocence and a kind of “no-rules” [atmosphere] since we were so much on our own. It was definitely an uphill climb, and we had to work our butts off. There was no feeling of entitlement. Incidentally, though moving to L.A. brought us together as a band and allowed us to practice a lot, we were actually signed off a demo we made in Omaha. It shows that you can make it from anywhere.
tableau: 311’s 2009 album Uplifter and your upcoming album were both produced by Bob Rock, who has worked with bands like Aerosmith, Metallica and Bon Jovi. What role has he played in the development of your band?
Hexum: Our level of involvement remains the same with every producer, but I have never learned more about music from anyone than I have Bob Rock. We are now halfway through working on our second album with him, and we’re just having a ball working with Bob.
tableau: What’s the new album like?
Hexum: There’s some high-energy songs that are going to be great for live, and then there’s some experimental stuff, some trippy stuff. We just follow our hearts so its kinda hard to give an exact description.
tableau: Oftentimes with 311, fans focus on your live music and on the experience of going to a show. Where does your personal focus lie?
Hexum: Fortunately we have focused a little more on live, and some people say that albums don’t capture what the live show has. And that’s cool with us. It’s good in this day and age because there’s so much piracy that the industry is collapsing on itself. We’re going to tour every summer whether we have a hit single or not, and it keeps us in touch with our fans. Some of these new artists get on stage and, well, they suck. We’ve been on the road so much, and that’s the kind of experience that you can’t fake.
tableau: Which do you prefer, touring or recording?
Hexum: Recording’s great, too, but if we had to pick one, I would say touring. That exchange of energy between the crowd and the band, where we’re getting off on them as much as they are us, that’s just an amazing thing and sometimes it becomes a very spiritual thing. It almost goes back to prehistoric times when people would just get together and get down and that’s just something that doesn’t exist as much in the studio setting. I know we’re definitely looking forward to coming to Charlottesville and having a great time with the fans.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

311 Carribean Cruise Line-Up (The Pier)

311 always likes to go big on 311 day each year & on 3-3-11, 311 will set sail on the Carnival Destiny & embark on a cruise bringing with them artists, in both musicians & comedians, to set the stage for a memorable event that will span 4 days. The cruise, going from Miami to Turks & Caicos, is labeled as Sold Out, but just incase some idiots want to back out, theres a waiting list to sign up for and you can do so by clicking on the poster!

It’s one thing to have 311 play, its another to be accompanied by such an amazing line-up!

The Line-up:
Pato Banton
The Movement
The Expendables
Full Service
Trailer Park Ninjas
DJ Soulman
Doug Benson(Comedian)
Graham Elwood(Comedian)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

311 and Ballyhoo to play Pier Six this Saturday (

Fresh off their Summer Unity Tour with OffSpring and Pepper, 311 are getting right back on the road this October, playing cities throughout the Eastern Seaboard. Visiting locales they didn't get to on their June/July tour, 311 will bring their funky fusion of rock, reggae and hip hop to Charm City this Saturday at Pier Six Pavilion. Joining 311 to open the evening will be Aberdeen, Maryland's very own Ballyhoo.

This show venue is a welcome departure from the large venues that hold 10,000 or more, which 311 typically packs out for their summer Unity Tours. WIth a capacity of just over 4000 people, the show won't quite have an intimate feel, but the ambience and acoustics of Pier Six make this a must-see event.

It is refreshing that a band like 311, one of the most influential and popular live acts of the past several years, realizes that their formula still works wonders. That formula is hard work, producing great music and caring about their fans. Having toured all Spring and Summer, they could have easily hunkered down in the studio for the next several months to work on their tenth studio album, but they decided to tour in the midst of recording with legendary producer Bob Rock.

It's been a long, ground-breaking road for 311 from their grassroots beginnings in Omaha, NE to now. From undergroud heroes to mainstream mainstays, they have enjoyed the fruits of their work and talent in the form of 8 singles and 6 albums placing in the Top 10 on the Billboard charts. And they have endured the hard miles and heartbreak of the road - a fire destroyed all of their equipment, personal items and the RV they toured in years ago - yet they continue to be relevant and hugely popular with a diverse cross section of fans more than twenty years after they formed.

And there is no better fit to open the show than Ballyhoo, a band that has gotten their start in a similar fashion to 311. Their rootsy and catchy rock/reggae approach has earned them a core following throughout the country. They are one of very few bands from the Baltimore/DC corridor that have the drive, motivation, talent and knowledge to establish themselves in markets outside of their home turf, as evidenced by several successful runs through the West Coast and other parts of the country. Ballyhoo will soon be on to bigger and better than the Baltimore beehive, so be sure to get their in time to see them open things up.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Musicians Wow Crowd at De Luna 2010 (Vanguard)

I entered De Luna Fest 2010 with a positive attitude hoping for an event that was worthy enough to become a tradition. The atmosphere was small but positive with the giant beach ball water tower acting as a trademark of sorts for the event.
Toward the entrance was a small stage designed for smaller acts, and then on the beach were two major stages side by side. This design allowed for one major act’s equipment to be set up and sound checked while another was playing.
Here at the main stage my De Luna experience began as Michael Franti played joyously to an enthusiastic crowd Saturday afternoon. This excellent show was soon followed by the bland rumblings of 30 Seconds to Mars who repeatedly insisted in the De Luna Fest guide that the group is not “emo.”
I felt unconvinced by actor Jared Leto’s constant stream of obscenities spewed in between songs that I deemed an effort to make the band appear more “adult.” On the small stage, Better Than Ezra played an excellent set to a small-but-devoted crowd.
“Any of you who may have troubles with fainting or seizures need to move to the sides of the crowd as what my hands are about to perform on the fret board may just blow your mind!” singer and guitarist Kevin Griffin warned.
311 became the event of the night as the beach area became packed.
Even far behind the sea of people, the music was still loud and clear with a concert screen planted in the beach area for easy viewing. 311 ran through an impressive set of hits, including many fan favs off their album Grassroots.
311 claims to have never played on a beach before, which accentuated the song “Amber” as it reverberated through the night sky with the waves in the background.
After 311 concluded, a mass exodus of people began to stream out of the venue. I had expected many to stay for headliners Stone Temple Pilots, but Scott Weiland, lead singer of STP, has faced lip synching rumors fueled by a YouTube video in which Weiland takes a stage dive and the vocals keep rolling. Eric Kretz, the band’s drummer, claims to the De Luna guide that Weiland made a heroic attempt to keep singing even once he fell off the stage, thus causing the confusion.
STP’s performance at De Luna became an important test of the band’s validity. The Deleo brothers improvised their guitar and bass solos on every song. Weiland appeared sober and sounded great. Whatever public perception, STP’s performance was an undeniably live rock and roll show.
The influx of concerts in the Gulf area is fostering a burgeoning music scene. Festivals like De Luna and the Hangout are no exception, and this growth also brings tourism dollars to the damaged economy of the Gulf Coast.
I hope to see De Luna return next year bringing positive vibes back to the beautiful beaches of the Gulf.

Industry vets 311 on the secret to musical success (The Hook)

To all aspiring musicians or hopeful up-and-comers in the music biz, Omaha natives and industry veterans 311 have some advice for you: keep working hard, and your glory day will come. Or will it?
311 came of age in the early 1990s, when the band members drove themselves to out-of-town gigs, financed their own tours, and played their hometown every night. Nearly two years of hard work paid off in a record deal, and the band recorded such classics as “Down” and “Amber” (”whoa, Amber is the color of your energy”). They worked with producers as prestigious as Bob Rock (whose clients include Metallica and Bon Jovi) with a mixture of rock, reggae, ska, and punk to diverse audiences as amphitheater headliners.
But they hit a rock recently when their 18-year relationship with label Volcano Entertainment came to an end, bringing the band, now based in L.A., to a “new phase,” according to guitarist Tim Mahoney. Where does a band go when cut loose into an industry landscape that operates so differently then when it first began?
The Hook: Well, you’ve been around for 20 years now. Are you finally feeling fulfilled and ready to call it a day?
Tim Mahoney: I’m ready to keep it going. We’re out of our record contract, and it’s exciting to see what happens here. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel fulfilled, there’s a lot of things we’ve gotten to do, and I don’t want that to end.
The Hook: 311 started as a real grassroots creation, so how did you stay true to your music and your goals?
TM: In Omaha, we played every Monday night for a long time until we developed a following. It’s always about playing live— it’s easy to get music out there and have people hear it, but as far as earning money, that’s harder.
The Hook: With the number of musicians ever increasing thanks to platforms like MySpace, how do you continue to challenge yourself and remain relevant?
There are a lot of people living here in L.A., and it’s very humbling to see all these great guitar players, and it reminds you that you’ve got to work and continue to grow to get better. All five of us are still inspired to keep the band sounding better. Finding inspiration is the key.
The Hook: If it’s easier to get yourself out there today, what’s the secret to success?
TM: I could go on the internet and quickly hear something new as we’re on the phone. Spreading the word about your band is getting easier, but you still have to go out and play and enjoy playing a lot.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

311 still 'firing on all cylinders' after 20 years (Tennessan)

Next year will be a big one for rock/reggae/rap group 311. The band — which plays Nashville on Thursday, Oct. 14 — already has a concert cruise planned to celebrate “3/11” (March 2011). But 2010 brought reason to celebrate too, as it marks 311’s 20-year anniversary.

“It’s one of those things that you don’t even realize it’s been that long until you think about it,” says vocalist and DJ SA Martinez. “I can’t say it seems as if it were yesterday that we were starting to rehearse. … Going back to the mid-’90s, it doesn’t seem like that long ago, but it’s getting some age on it.”

The mid-’90s was 311’s commercial heyday, yielding massive rap-rock hits including “Down” and “All Mixed Up.” These days, they keep a devoted audience with a reggae-influenced sound that’s smoother than the riffs-and-rhymes approach that earned them heavy rotation on MTV.

“I think we’ve mellowed some over the years,” Martinez says with a laugh. “I think you have to — you have no choice. But at the same time, you get on stage and you kind of feel 19 again when you get into that moment, that environment, and everything is firing on all cylinders.”
Martinez and his band play War Memorial Auditorium (301 Sixth Ave. N.) at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $40 through the TPAC Box Office or by phone at 615–782-4040.