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311 with Matisyahu

Sunday, July 24th, 2016 – Red Hat Amphitheater

It was a busy weekend for the staff of RDU Music with two shows in two days. The best part was that each show was planted firmly on the opposite end of the musical spectrum. From the depressive, pummeling noise-metal spectacle of Dragged into Sunlight to the good-time, rockin’ alterna-funk style of LA-by-way-of-Omaha’s 311. What a time to be alive.

Due to our late night on Saturday, RDU Music was a little late to the program so we missed the lion’s share of the Matisyahu set but that wasn’t the last time we saw him take the stage as he would join 311 a bit later in the evening to add a verse to 311’s cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”857″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”847″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

311

During most shows I attend, I spend a good portion of the evening taking notes on my phone in the hopes of bottling faint flashes of brilliance for later. During 311, I found myself waxing philosophic. What is it about 311 that has kept me with them for 20 years, even after the weed smoke blew away?

People say that 311 is just “party music” but I haven’t even been to a party in years. Not like the kind we used to have in the 90s at least. But now that I hate parties, why do I still love 311? I’m a different person now. Is 311’s music simply timeless? Or do they evoke the nostalgia factor for those of us who were teens in the 90s? I don’t think 311 even cares. They have been too busy simply rocking the party for 26 years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”856″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As night began to fall, the capacity crowd proved that Raleigh was definitely ready for some Omaha Stylee but what surprised me most was the wide age range of the concertgoers. I was in my early teens for Grassroots and The Blue Album (it also helped that I am from the Midwest) but there were a lot of fans in the same age range as the band: Mid-40s. Then you have the fans gained through hits like “Amber” and “Creatures (For a While).” But what about the latter day records? As much as I enjoy them, they don’t carry the same weight as the classics so do they generate as many new fans? Or are the new fans the children of the late 90s wave of 311 fans?

So many thoughts rattling around in the ol’ brain-cage but they immediately flew out of my head as 311 opened with “Freeze Time” then jumped right into “Do You Right” for us OG Midwesterners. They managed to touch upon a good portion of their back catalog throughout the set. They kept me guessing as to what would come next, leaving me with pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise. From looking at other dates on this tour, 311 have been changing the setlist drastically each night which is a treat for long-time fans.

SA broke out his patented robot moves around song 5, “All Mixed Up.” While on the subject of SA, I was worried for his health. His shirt became more and more saturated with sweat as the set went on. By the end, he looked like he just came off a waterslide. When he would bend his elbow to put the mic to his mouth in order to spit hot fire, sweat would pour comically off of his arm. I was hoping he was drinking copious amounts of water during P-Nut’s bass solo lest he pass out from the soupy North Carolina summer heat.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Speaking of P-Nut, does he have some kind of clause in his contract that says he gets to play a solo at every show? We get it P-Nut. There’s Les Claypool, Flea, then you. You’re a fantastic bassist. No need to oversell it. [Editor’s Note: For my money, it’s Eric Avery. That groove is so thick you can cut it with a butter knife.] In fact, all members of 311 are at the top of their respective games in terms of instrumental prowess. After the P-Nut solo, 311 kicked it back up a notch with “Don’t Stay Home” then decided to get spacey with Transistor’s “Use of Time.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”854″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Let’s take a moment to recognize the fact that Transistor is criminally underrated. It is my 3rd favorite album of theirs after Grassroots and Music (obviously) though don’t count out From Chaos. I feel that Transistor was the album they really wanted to make. Coming off of the major success of the self-titled Blue Album which, let’s face it, was mediocre on the whole but managed to spawn a couple of huge singles, Transistor was the “artsy” pet-project that 311 wanted to use to show that they had more depth than “Guns (Are for Pussies).” I remember Transistor being almost universally panned by critics and Blue Album fans alike upon release but that did not deter me from vehemently defending it since its 1999 release.

Around the 16th song in the set, Nick Hexum decided that we had reached the wife-beater portion of the evening as he stripped off his outer layer. Say what you want but that is one handsome and talented man. I have always said that if I could be one person for a day, it would unequivocally be Nick Hexum. [Editor’s Note: I am still waiting for a Vice Versa scenario to present itself in my life. I should start looking for more magical skulls.][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”858″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]To close the set, 311 made sure to tell us, “Still we’re down like that,” and rocked the house with “Omaha Stylee” before retreating backstage to allow the fans time to whip themselves into a frenzy cheering for a encore. 311 obliged with “Tranquility” off of Stereolithic before closing with “Creatures (for a While).” Their encores have been varied throughout this tour which is a testament to their 26 years of rocking the party.

If you managed to make it through this long-winded piece, thank you. If not, I would like to leave you with this one, simple fact: I will always see 311 when they come to town. Always. (And I wouldn’t mind attending the 311 Caribbean Cruise either but I’m not cool enough to even board the ship.)

4/5 stars = Great
311 setlist
311 has still got the boom, y’all.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”861″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”860″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”855″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”853″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”852″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”859″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”851″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][/vc_row]