Last week BuffaloJams was given the chance to get on the road and see the 2012 Unity Tour with 311, two times, in two states! On Tuesday (8/7/12,) we made the trek down to Pittsburgh, PA’s Stage AE, a newer, open-air venue tucked nicely into downtown, between the Pirates Stadium and a college football stadium. Later on in the week, on Sunday (8/12/12) we shot down Insterstate 90 to our neighbors on the other side of the lake, Cleveland, OH for a great show at the newly named “Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.” This covered pavilion resides on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, and offers great scenery like the lights of downtown in the distance, and the many beautiful bridges lit up along the Cuyahoga at night.
Slightly Stoopid opened both shows for 311, and the crowd loved every minute of their California based reggae/hip-hop blend of jams. Stoopid just released their newest album “Top of the World has Landed” this past Tuesday (8/14/12,) and you can head over to iTunes right now to download it, with a link below. In both cities, 311 absolutely doused the crowd with their amazing energy and positivity, offering up many of their biggest hits, along with the lesser played crowd favorites as well. 311 features Nick Hexum on guitar and vocals, with Tim Mahoney on lead guitar, and Doug “SA” Martinez sharing vocal duties with Hexum, also scratching on his turntables at times throughout the show. They’re rounded out by one of the tightest rhythm sections in the music business today, comprised of Aaron “P-Nut” Willis on bass, and Chad Sexton on drums. Between the two shows we heard songs off every single album in 311’s catalog with the exception of 2005’s “Don’t Tread on Me.” In Pittsburgh, the weather was beautiful, and the vibes were right, and they kicked off their set by going way back to their first two albums. They threw down a crushing “Welcome” before heading into the follow-up album’s opening track, “Homebrew,” and then heading back to the 1993 album “Music,” for a crowd favorite “My Stoney Baby.” Throughout the rest of the night we heard other killer 311 gem’s like “Flowing,” “Nutsymptom” along with “Omaha Stylee,” and “Creatures” both played during the encore, enticing the people to give every last bit of their energy left from that wild night.
A few days later we got to Cleveland, and was welcomed by yet another awesome day of weather and great music. In cleveland, 311 kicked their set off with 1995’s “Down,” one usually reserved for later in the set, and dedicated to their longest stayed, most hardcore fans. Following “Down,” they stuck with the old school vibe, and delivered an amazing “Offbeat Bareass,” a tale of a police encounter that could have gone very wrong, but spiced up with 311’s brand of humor. Cleveland also saw other fan favorite jams played like “T&P Combo,” “Rub A Dub,” and an always welcomed “Who’s Got The Herb,” opening the encore. Both shows features the bigger radio hits like “Beautiful Disaster,” “Come Original,” “All Mixed Up,” and of course “Down.” They both also featured incredible Drum solos by every member of the band during “Applied Science,” a staple in their live shows, but ever evolving through the years. Also, a newer addition to the 311 live show, an amazing Bass Solo by bassist P-Nut, seemingly running through 4 or 5 awe-inspiring bass jams, before hitting us with the amazing coda, hiddin at the end of “Sometimes Jacks Rule the Realm,” on 2003’s “Evolver” album.
311 is still in the middle of their nationwide Unity Tour, with 13 shows left to play before it ends. Tomorrow night they’re in Chicago, IL at the Charter One Pavilion. They then head west through Colorado, California, before wrapping up the tour in Washington State on Sept. 5th at Marymoor Amphitheatre. Get out and catch these guys if you can, they’re on fire and you wont be disappointed!