Concert Review: 311’s Live From The Ride Tour


311 features the talents of lead singer Nick Hexum, guitarist Tim Mahoney and drummer Chad Sexton, who all attended Westside High School.

On Sept. 8, 311 played at the Pinewood Bowl in Lincoln for their Live From The Ride Tour. Thousands of people gathered at Pioneers Park, waiting in anticipation for the headliners to start at 9 p.m. This was an especially important show for 311 because of how close it was to home. 311 is arguably the biggest band to emerge from the Omaha music scene, which has built them a large local following. On top of that, lead singer Nick Hexum, guitarist Tim Mahoney and drummer Chad Sexton all attended Westside High School. 

Gates for the show opened at 7 p.m. and crowds of fans quickly filed in to get to their seats or to get in line for the merchandise tent. To start off the night, Iya Terra opened with a great set. The Los Angeles-based roots, reggae, and dub band made their first ever appearance in Nebraska, and you could tell they were excited to be playing. The energy from the band was contagious, and the group easily engaged the crowd with fun banter in between songs and during interactive call and response segments. Iya Terra recently released a new full length album, “Ease and Grace,” so they had plenty of new material to show off in a live setting. 

Next up was Iration, a reggae pop group hailing from Hawaii. By the time they took the stage, significantly more people were in their seats and ready to go. I saw several groups of people with Iration t-shirts, and it was clear that they were there to specifically see them play. I don’t blame them either, Iration played a fantastic show. All the members of the band played super tight, and I was particularly impressed with their soloing abilities. I was pleasantly surprised with their horn section, which I wasn’t expecting to see at all. They rounded out the band’s overall sound and I’m glad they incorporated those parts. 

Once Iration finished their set the anticipation reached a pinnacle. A 10-minute countdown timer appeared on the visual board as the technicians began tearing down Iration’s stage set-up and started building 311’s. As the timer wound down to the final minute, smoke billowed out across the stage, and the members appeared. 

The set opened with “Omaha Stylee,” a song that was specifically picked first for the older 311 local fans. Chants of “311” echoed from the crowd as the song began, and you could feel the energy building in the venue. I was very happy with the setlist selection for this show, they primarily played songs off of their earlier albums, which was fun to experience. From my seats I could hear die hard fans reminisce on old 311 shows that they had attended in the past. 

One of the best moments from the show occurred midway through the set when they played “Freak Out.” This is one of my favorite 311 songs, and the whole crowd came together and sang the chorus in unison with the band. Another high point was P-Nut’s bass solo. The rest of the band cleared off the stage, and P-Nut soloed over his interpretation of The Weeknd’s song “Blinding Lights.” The crowd seemed a little lost because of the unfamiliarity of the song; keep in mind the target audience was primarily middle aged reggae-rap fans. However, I thought it was a super interesting song to use, and it displayed P-Nut’s soloing abilities well. 

311’s overall sound was very impressive. During Iration’s set I was a little concerned because the mixing seemed very bass heavy and it muddled the rest of the group’s sound. But it seemed the problem was rectified before 311 took the stage. The sound engineers have to walk the balance beam of whether to sacrifice sound quality for volume, and in this situation they managed an impressive amount of both. The music punched right into my chest, but it wasn’t overwhelming. 

Another facet of the show that I enjoyed was the background visuals and lighting. The ambience and visualization created a third dimension for the music, and it was an awesome experience. At one point in the set there was a giant alien singing along with Nick Hexum and S.A. Martinez. Other times the band appeared to be flying through space and there were a multitude of geometric patterns. 

This was easily one of my favorite concerts I’ve attended. The whole experience from start to finish was very enjoyable, and 311 put on an amazing show. I would highly recommend checking out some of 311’s material, and if you ever get the chance to see them live I would definitely capitalize on the opportunity. 311 is a show you won’t want to miss out on.