by Bryan Holland
The line wrapped around the corner and up the side block next to The Paramount in Huntington, NY. Costumes of all sorts and people eager to get inside, waiting to get in. I was standing in line talking to some folks dressed in cowboy attire, mentioning that I hoped they played “Hive” from 311’s self-titled album (which, they did) and how it was nice out for the end of October.
Finally inside, I realized how packed this show really was. There were a ton of people and the realization that I have only seen them in bigger venues was setting in. 311 in a more intimate setting was something to be excited about.
This was the most unexpected and different set I’ve ever seen them play; and, not at all in a bad way. There were no hits played as far as I could tell. No “Amber”. No “Down”. No “All Mixed Up”. It may not have been for everybody but the range of other songs they played was a breath of fresh air. Although I will admit I was hoping to hear some of those popular songs, it allowed introduction to lesser-known-but-just-as-great songs.
Opening with the intro to “Transistor”, 311 jumped into the Halloween appropriate “Jackolantern’s Weather”. The guys were fully decked out in some great costumes, most notably singer S.A. in a Buzz Lightyear meets the Transformers contraption, with tremendous wings and LED lights.
After blasting through about 10 songs, including “Galaxy” and “Flowing”, my favorite part of the night occurred (possibly tied with “Hive” two songs later ) . The band left the stage, mostly, leaving bassist P-Nut on his own; which, he used to drop jaws across the venue. One of the coolest bass solos I’ve ever seen, it was intricate and caught everyone’s eyes and ears. At some points poignant and mellow, at others driven and wild, the bass solo was a highlight of the night. I was almost about to sneak a bathroom break two songs later when I heard the unmistakable into to “Hive” which I ran to the front to catch up close.
“Applied Science” saw the band all play percussion at one point which was something not many bands can do. 311 completed “Transistor” not too long after, which was the closest to a “radio song” from the set. They finished with feel good songs “Hydroponic” and “Feels So Good”. The chants of “Encore!!” were heavy; so 311 couldn’t help but oblige and pull out 3 more songs. “Livin’ and Rockin’” into “Who’s Got the Herb?” (an old classic) and finishing with “Fuck the Bullshit”.
This was an incredibly fun show to attend in the sense that it was so unexpected and everyone was decked out in costumes from every side of the spectrum. These rockers from Nebraska can pull off a two-hour set with no radio songs and still have the place jumping. Having been in the music scene since 1988, that says quite a bit.
For current tour dates and everything 311, visit their official site.