Grand Rapids, Michigan (October 19, 2017) – Thursday’s 311 Performance at 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, Michigan, brings an intimate gathering of fans. After 27 years together as a band, the crew of 311 still doesn’t seem to miss a beat, nor do they appear to have aged a bit. Nick Hexum, S.A. Martinez, P-Nut, Tim Mahoney, and Chad Sexton all appear tonight, as chillaxed and fresh-faced as they did 27 years ago. And so it would appear that, contrary to the popular saying, time (and fame) have indeed been kind to them.
Upon entering the General Admission area at Grand Rapids’ newest concert venue, 20 Monroe Live, the easy-going, yet enthusiastic crowd was found mingling and drinking while slowly merging their way closer and closer to the stage. The large pixelated screen that served as a stage back-drop slowly pulsated to the gentle beat of drums. As show time approaches, the lights pulsate a bit faster and the drum beats grow a bit louder. The lights slowly dim and the crowd erupts into cheers and applause before 311 even takes the stage.
The band is touring in support of their 12th studio album “Mosaic,” which was released on June 23 of this year. The 311 crew enters the stage with waves, peace signs, and overall vibes of love for their gathered fans. Nick and crew kick off their set with “Do You Right,” off of their 1991 “Unity,” album. It is clear that they are full of intense energy as Nick (lead singer) dances in circles at center stage, S.A. (vocals) hops and jumps about, and guitarists P-Nut and Tim bang their heads to the beat of Chad’s drums. The intimate gathering of fans erupts into the equivalent of the ultimate sing-along. The crowd sings, jumps, dances, claps, fist pumps, and sways throughout the evening. From behind the crowd, hands in the air, as well as the occasional crowd surfer, can be seen. Nick is in clear awe of his fandom on this particular evening, as he constantly stops to soak up the applause as well as to address the audience. “Hey Grand Rapids, Let’s have some fun,” and “Y’all are partying up out there. I love it,” are just a couple of the many things he says to the gathered mass of super fans. S.A struts about the stage as he sings, pausing for various poses and dance moves. Tonight’s set list is comprised of an asstounding 21 songs, which consist of the following: Do You Right, Beautiful Disaster, Transistor, Extension, From Chaos, All Mixed Up, Perfect Mistake, Jackolantern’s Weather, Prisoner, Too Late, Too Much To Think, Inside Our Home, Freeze Time, Applied Science, Ti’l The City’s On Fire, Who’s Got the Herb, Come Original, Amber, Days of ’88, What Was I Thinking, and Livin’ & Rockin’ (not including the 2 encores which included the band’s first #1 single on the Billboard Alternative Charts, “Down,” performed by a shirtless Nick Hexum), and the guys’ energy never falters or skips a beat.
Highlights of the show include the bass master, P-Nut’s ever-popular guitar solo, which on this particular evening consists of a stellar cover of 21 Pilots hit, “Heathens,” as well as the famed Chad Sexton (ridiculously genius drummer) drum solo followed by the ever-popular 311 “drum line,” and a boy band style dance between Nick and S.A. to the tune of “Days of 88’.” Also the crowd sang along to the oldie but goodie, “All Mixed Up,” so loudly that they could be heard above the voice of Hexum, himself and not be forgotten, “Who’s Got the Herb,” brought about a smell so skunky and thick, that there was no denying what the song could possibly be referencing. 7 songs from MOSAIC are spread throughout the setlist including, Too Much To Think, Perfect Mistake, Extension, Inside Our Home, Til’ The City’s on Fire, Too Late, and Days of 88’.
The show leaves fans with little energy after over 2 hours of non-stop fun, and even still fans and the band alike, hang out around the stage as Nick asks the remaining crowd if they “would y’all like to take a picture with us!?” Everyone pushes closer to the stage as the band crouches down and turns their back to the fans, ensuring that as many gathered as possible make their way into the photo.
311 has successfully spent the past 27 years, doing what they love. Spreading messages of unity and love through music. Their love of what they do is clearly reflected in the way they treat and appreciate their fandom, and that is what will always bring them (and this fangirl as well) back for more.
Senior Photojournalist: Mary Elliott
Journalist: Julie Richardson