311 @ THE BIG EASY & r & When I imagine the afterlife, I imagine P-Nut beatin' that thang for ever and ever. His Shiva-like singer friend twists his arms into eternity as Mr. Sweat plays an imaginary turntable that spins so fast we open the 4th dimension.
Layers of time peel back to 1995. We live in a house at the edge of Spokane's never-ending Northside. Everyone drives a Jeep that's so tight two Kicker 12's can't rattle it. Muscles, goatees and bleach blonde hair never go out of style. Busch Light is the drink of choice and a 13-count keg stand provides eternal glory for those who dare to try.
Too good to be true? No way.
"Metal fans are loyal," says Carey.
I guess there is something to be said for liking what you know and knowing what you like. This thought brings me to the best idea I've ever had in my whole life: 311-heads.
When was the last time you saw some hippie do a 13-count keg stand? Those freaks follow around Phish and Ratdog but can't even see through their beer!
I'm serious about this. We need to revolt. We need to pack a suitcase-of Busch Light- and hit the road. 1995, here we come. -- Michael Kenney
So, there I was at the Big Easy listening to the safest, lamest honky-reggae nonsense still being made by Omaha's 311, widely credited (or responsible, depending on your take) for the rap-rock phenomenon from which many are still trying desperately to recover. The fans on Tuesday night were serious consumers of the 311 product. I thought to myself, how seriously can you take a band that's been playing the same song for nearly 13 years? Then I witnessed the pogo. And that goofy arm-dance thing that usually happens at a moe concert. You know the one I mean. Then the band played a Cure cover. Please. Your cred is stretched thin as it is.
Lead singer Nick Hexum pulled the crowd through an evening of greatest hits, many from 1994's Grassroots and 1995's eponymous 311. And that's fine. He seemed to be enjoying himself and so did the crowd. I just couldn't get past that Wheaties t-shirt he was wearing. But I could do the math. Wheaties=(Omaha) Heartland=Pure=Legit, right? I know posturing when I see it. And I won't even start on your single white wristband. I must comment on your guitar "playing," however. When you use the instrument about every seventh song, it's a prop, much like your wristband. And what's with that Rockettes-style kick, dude?
Vocalist/turntablist SA needs to make a choice regarding his contribution to the band. He obviously prefers the vocals to the scratches. And he definitely prefers the dancing that he does to either.
I knew the night had descended into parody during Chad Sexton's drum solo. Yeah, I said drum solo. The last time I saw a drum solo was Motley Crue's 1989 Dr. Feelgood tour. And that was Tommy Lee. If that weren't enough, the rest of the band came back onstage to play along with their own individual snares and cymbals. At that moment, the remaining band members became four different versions of Sheila E. I knew I'd seen enough. But I did go home and watch "Purple Rain." And for that, I owe 311 one heartfelt bit of thanks. -- Carey Murphy