Columbus, OH, Lifestyles Community Pavilion, August 8, 2006

 

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman

 

311 is quickly becoming like the out-of-town lover who drops in for a night, and everything that happens both leaves one as satisfied as well as wanting more. It seems that August is becoming 311 month in Columbus, and as usual, the summertime do not seem complete without a stop off from the Omaha, Nebraska reggae-rock band.

 

Led by Nick Hexum, 311 took the stage around 9:25pm to a packed house at Lifestyles Community Pavilion and proceeded to play a near-perfect set list filled with popular hits and true fan favorites.

Opening with Freak Out, it only took minutes before the horde got rabid and followed Hexum's signature dance moves and became a molded flailing ambience of limbs. After Freak Out, 311 went straight into All Mixed Up, and continued the crowd frenzy, which at that time found some time to light up and smoke in between jumps.

 

Although it seems Hexum has become the noted frontman of the band, the rest of 311 should never be ignored. DJ and co-vocalist SA (Douglas Vincent Martinez) brought is usual soaring personality and near-spastic movements. Meanwhile drummer Chad Sexton has steadily become a top-performing drummer, as his reggae rhythms mixed with his rock style formed a signature sound for Sexton and the band.

 

311, named after the Omaha police code for indecent exposure, began their career opening for Fugazi in 1990, and since then have steadily built a fan base much the same way, by playing quality shows year after year and giving those same fans a chance for belonging, community and unity.

 

Although 311 puts its politics and beliefs in their music and lyrics, this band still creates an atmosphere of belonging for music lovers, but at the same time have not drilled fans with its views. The 23-song set was filled with music that allow 311 to make stands on issues about racism, tolerance and open-mindedness, and at the same time allow those listening the freedom to open up and be themselves.

Yet there was no surprise that when the encore was started with Who's Got The Herb that the pavilion went ballistic and whatever energy was spent during the first 21 songs was siphoned in and shot back out like a slingshot at the performers. As quickly as 311 can bring the crowd to silence with the song Amber, they can put them in frenzy as well and can almost control the crowd like a puppetmaster controlling a marionette.

 

However, even with that control, 311 does not use their influence of performers to sway public opinion on stage, rather Hexum started a environmental group that is run from the heart, not from the stage.

311 is one of the very few bands that are as real in person as they are on stage. Part of the experience and exhilaration that 311 provides is its apparent openness and approachability that help to give the 311 addicts the one last reason to open up and free themselves from the everyday grind of life.

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