Since 1997, 311 have been hosting their annual Unity Tour, with this summer’s tour recently kicking off in Chicago. This year in addition to 311, the lineup also brings Pepper and the Offspring to amphitheaters across the country.
Originating from Hawaii, Pepper was the opener of the evening and it’s no surprise this is their third tour with 311, as the act’s energy-fueled rock reggae roots strike a similarity to some of 311’s work and is a perfect fit on the bill. Pepper made sure to not completely leave behind their beachside culture, as their stage setup revolves around beach props, lifeguard getups, and roadies posing as lifeguards, all of which add to the experience.
The Offspring managed to bring the energy levels up by starting off their set with tracks such as “The Kids Aren’t Alright”, “All I Want”, and “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid”. Being the longest standing band on the tour, The Offspring certainly had enough material to choose from to keep the audience going for their hour long set. A well-received surprise by the punk-influenced band was a cover of The Clash’s song “Guns of Brixton”, which they managed to mix into the middle of their set.
Once 311 took the stage, the band’s bass player, P-Nut, got an enthusiastic approval from the crowd as he walked out in a Chicago Blackhawks jersey, an ode to the team’s Stanley Cup win. The band didn’t need to win anyone over, however, as right after the first few notes hit, the crowd’s excitement was fueled further once they realized the band was launching into the fan favorite, “Down”. The group’s energy was channeled through both of the band’s vocalists, with SA Martinez running swiftly across the stage and Nick Hexum high-jumping at any break he could get between verses.