311 go back in time at the Comcast Center

A review of 311, The Offspring at the Comcast Center on Juy 11, 2010

, Editor-in-Chief

311 may longer be the most relevant of bands but there is no denying the band’s ability to still thrive on stage. It’s hard to believe the boys from Omaha, Nebraska have been at it for 20 years now, but their fanbase remains fiercely loyal and their kinship is real. It was all on full display at the band’s show at the Comcast Center in Mansfield on Sunday as part of their summer “Unity” tour with fellow 90’s favorites The Offspring.

Making their way to the stage amidst roaring approval, 311 quickly got their 7-11 day set on with their staple hit “Down” off their 1995 self-titled album. The band would remain in the 90’s for most of the night. In fact, they would only play six songs released in the new millennium and only two from last year’s Uplifter Album (the awful “Jackpot” and the more bearable “India Ink”). And during this time, the band was all business – and a quick “No power outages or nothing” quip front co lead vocalist Nick Hexum, referring to the band’s issues in town last summer. He would later sincerely thank the crowd, stating, “20 years as a band and Boston has been with us every step of the way.

It was alright by the crowd, who happily joined in for sing-alongs of “All Mixed Up” and “Come Original” or jumped in unison to tunes like “Freeze Time”. Remarkably, for a band with 20-years experience, their fanbase has not aged all that much with a nice mix of teens joining the twenty/thirty-somethings (though they almost all agree that basketball jerseys are fine to wear outside of the Garden). And that energy, seemed to fuel the band on stage. S.A. Martinez, Hexum’s partner in crime, led the way as he ran and rapped all over the stage. The only time he remained still was while working the turntables and by the time the band hit “Grassroots”, his shirt was literally drenched completely in sweat after only seven songs.

As a perennial summertime band, many fans know what to expect to see with a 311 show. The overwhelming highlight of the show remains the band’s drum off in “Applied Science”. Following a very solid three-minute drum solo from Chad Sexton, the rest of the band joined him by playing floor toms and cymbals of their own. Together, they combined for a thrilling percussion assault that was half drumline, half tribal.

Later in the night, bassist P-Nut would shine with a lengthy solo of his own, which gave way to “What Was I Thinking?”. The more mellow vibes of “Amber” followed before they picked things back up with “Feels So Good” and main-set closer “Creatures (For a While)”, which sent the pit in front of the stage into a frenzy. 311 soon returned for a encore that actually began with the into from their 1997 album Transistor before moving on to “Beautiful Disaster”. Bringing the night to a close, the band reached all the way back to one of their first songs in “Fuck the Bullshit”.

Prior to 311’s headlining set, the trip back to the 90’s alt-rock radio hit parade was hosted by The Offspring. They did not disappoint in the role, warming up the crowd with hits including “Bad Habbit”, “Gotta Get Away”, “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy) and the “Kids Are Alright”. Frontman Dextor Holland took to the piano to deliver a unique rendition of “Gone Away” and later in the set the band covered The Clash’s “The Guns of Brixton”. The hour-long set ultimately came to a close with a rocking run through “Self Esteem”.

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