311, Columbus, OH, Promowest Pavilion, July 13, 2004
311 is just one of those bands that seems to be better every time they play. With more and more songs in their arsenal, 311 can play a 2-hour gig and still never seem stale. Which is almost odd, as it has been said more than once that all 311 songs sound the same. But live, the band is able to pull off hours of reggae-fused, alterna-rock where beats are pouring forth and bodies are bouncing along to the thumps 311 pours from the stage.

311 has made their way through Columbus more times than most can remember, and each and every time there is a large crowd to witness the event. This is partly because 311 brings to the stage quality music with a decent message. But more so than that, 311 has found their niche in the rock world as a great party band appealing to a wide variety of fans. Well, a wide variety of fans that make smoke a little something, something before, during and after the show. So, this time around, 311 found another great opening act, in which bands like Incubus and Hoobastank have been known to reside, in Medeski Martin and Wood. With such a contrast in sound, one could wonder how 311 came up with this band, but there is a deep love of both 311 for music and musicians for 311 that it worked to be a perfect fit. Where 311 puts on the obvious upbeat show, Medeski Marin and Wood opened with an organic sound deeply rooted in the city in which they formed in the early 1990s, New York.

With a short set change, 311 came out to a still sun-lit sky and for the entire night, kept the upbeat pace grooving with their riffs. As the sun set behind the crowd, 311 seemed to rise like vampires and the show took on a very different vibe as the lights could blend with the music for a full live concert effect.

311 is out touring to support their Greatest Hits CD, and that is exactly what they did for almost two hours, and that is play their greatest hits in front of some of the greatest, hardcore fans. The popping snare of Chad Sexton has definitely become a signature for the band, but what 311 does perhaps better than any other band out there today is use two vocalist effectively. Where many have a screamer and a singer, 311 uses both Nick Hexum and SA Martinez as additional instruments. Sure, Martinez does do the rapping, but he adds such a different voice to the band that he demands to be heard when his parts come to fruition.

It seems that the same review can be placed on almost any 311 show because 311 is always on target with their live show. 311 brings out the beat and the dance in almost anyone in attendance. They have a freeing sound that makes fans always feel good and emotionally liberated at the same time. It seems to walk into a 311 show, all hang-ups and social awkwardness is checked at the door like a weapon trying to be carried in the venue. There should be a wording on the ticket that says, ‘No cameras or inhibitions allowed.’ But by all means, bring your eccentricities