BY: MACKENZI BROWN
Right now–311, an American alternative/reggae rock band, is on their Unity Summer 2017 Tour with special guests New Politics and The Skints. They played two shows at the infamous Tabernacle in the heart of Downtown Atlanta on July 28th and the 29th, both of which were sold out. However, I only attended their first show on the 28th (sadly). I was already excited to see these bands live for the first time, but was even more excited that they were playing in The Tabernacle since this is one of my favorite venues. The fact that the building used to be a huge Baptist church built in the early 1800s makes this venue one like no other since it has so much history and beauty incorporated into it.
Although their tour consists of two openers, the show that I attended only had one—New Poltics. This was exciting news to me because I already knew this band and had a few of their songs in one of my favorite playlists titled “it’s ALT good” on Spotify. They came on stage playing “Everywhere I Go (Kings and Queens)” which happens to be my favorite song of theirs. Therefore, I was hyped from the get go. In the middle of their set, they did an instrumental version of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes which I thought was awesome for two reasons. One– I will forever love Jack White. Two– During this instrumental, David Boyd (lead singer) breakdanced throughout the entire thing and was actually really awesome. They also did a cover of “Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys. I admire the fact that they performed songs by other artists to appeal to a larger portion of crowd that did not know their music. I can not put into words just how energetic and fun this band was to listen to and watch. They completely electrified the crowd and had pretty much everyone jumping up and down or vibing to the music. They were one of the best, if not THE best opener for a concert that I have seen.
Now, let me start out by saying that before this show–extra emphasis on “before this show”– I was by no means an avid 311 fan. Yes, I liked them and listened to some of their songs, but I probably would not have spent $60 to see them play if it was not for the fact that this is one of my older sister’s favorite bands and she wanted me to go with her. While waiting for 311 to come out, I decided to make small talk with some of the people around me. I quickly found out that (a) this band had some hardcore devoted fans, all of which were so cool and nice and (b) this band was bigger than I thought.
I met one lady from Kansas City who had already been to a few shows of this tour and followed them to Atlanta to see them perform at The Tabernacle. Another group I talked to had already seen them over twenty-five times before this show. I asked them if it ever got old, but they informed that no one show is the same. They always switch up the setlist and their overall performance which I thought was super neat especially considering this band is TWENTY SEVEN years old. Back in 2000, 311 created an unofficial holiday on March 11 called “311 Day.” The reason they chose March 11 should be obvious hence when writing that day numerically, it is written as 3/11. Every other year on this day they perform an extended concert for thousands of fans where they perform an average of 60 songs. This blew my mind! The years in between the extended concerts, they have a 311 Caribbean cruise. This cruise is typically 4-5 days and includes performances by 311 (obviously) along with other alternative/reggae rock bands. After finding all of this out, I knew I was about to witness something iconic.
Since their setlist always changes, my sister and I were making guesses with the people around us about what song would be their opener. I guessed “Perfect Mistake” which is one of their newer songs and when they came out on stage—they opened with none other than “Perfect Mistake.” (**side note: I had a mild heart attack when Nick Hexum (one of the lead vocalists) came on stage because I swear on my life that he is the sexiest man that I have ever laid my eyes on. Pictures do not do him justice). Anyways, I digress. The entire performance was exhilarating, spirited, and very entertaining. From start to finish the band made sure to keep the crowd hype by getting everyone involved and playing some new songs and old songs. I was kind of sad because they did not play the very first song that I was introduced to by them which was “Sunset in July.” I thought this was kind of dumb because ummm hello it’s July, but they did play the majority of their hits including my two favorites which are “On a Roll” and “Omaha Stylee.”
After seeing their outstanding performance, I can now see why people would follow them on tour and go to show after show just to see them over and over again. If the tickets were not already sold out for the following night, I definitely would have gone again. So, next time 311 rolls into town, I would highly recommend going to see them because it is well worth it…and then some.