Columbus, OH, Promowest Pavilion, August 14, 2005

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman


For 311, it was business as usual: bring along some diverse opening acts (Unwritten Law and Papa Roach), nearly sell out Promowest Pavilion and then play a tremendous, fan-raving set for 90 minutes. With the release of 311's eight studio record, Don't Tread on Me, coming just days after the show, fans were more than energized to hear some of the new material mixed in the set.


Although having eight records can be a great source of music to draw from for a 90-minute set, for 311 it can almost be a curse as each crowd member has their own favorites, most of which were not the singles watered down by radio play, making it a near impossible task to put together a set list that doesn't have someone wishing one more song was included.


But the celebration doesn't end with the release of Don't Tread on Me, as the band is now in its 15th year as a collective, and those 15 years. 311 is not just a fan-friendly band, but they are considered a major influence by almost any rock band, both in terms of music and work ethic in the business.


Once the sun started to set behind the lawn-filled pavilion, blue lights and smoke covered the stage as Nick Hexum and the band broke into Hive. It seemed for once, the crowd was shocked with an opening number as arms flailed, voices yelped and bodies began to crawl over those in the pit. But as one person put it on the 311 board not soon after hearing Uncalm was played, "You lucky bastards."


Attending a 311 show is almost like being part of a private, subterranean group such as Yale's Skull and Bones. Fans trade set lists and experiences like six-year-olds swap baseball cards. Sometimes you get a Mickey Mantle, and others get a Ken Phelps. It is the luck of the draw, but the anticipation of what song will be played next keeps each addict itching for their favorite song to be played next.


And it wasn't just Hexum who was sporting his Wheaties shirt who seemed to have the breakfast of champions that morning, the entire band was it's usual near-perfect self ... well, except maybe for the mishap of SA losing his mic at one point. But other than that, and a fan climbing the speakers only to be chased off and escorted out by security, the show was almost perfectly boring if that is possible.


Watching 311 is like watching a great drummer, almost impossible beats are being played but there is no sweat breaking out and no harsh movements to follow. But the end result is fascinating to many senses. Whether it is Hexum's vast movement, P-Nut's somewhat bizarre motions and facial expressions or guitarist Tim Mahoney's almost stoic stance, 311's blend of characteristics and musical stylings is what makes not just their records, but their live show something worth the price of admission.

Nick Hexum
SA Martinez
Aaron "P-Nut" Wills
Nick Hexum
Nick Hexum
Tim Mahoney & Nick Hexum