Reviews

311 + The Offspring: 3 July 2010 - Bonner Springs, KS

Overall, both bands proved that they can put on a respectable show during a weak economy and despite having most of their major hits in the 1990s.

The Offspring

311 + The Offspring

City: Bonner Springs, KS
Venue: Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone
Date: 2010-07-03

311 and The Offspring, two punk-oriented bands, brought their Unity Tour into Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone. A stormy afternoon evolved into a decent and exceptional evening for both bands with respect to performance. It’s a safe bet that 311 fans are typically Offspring fans, and vice versa. It was a good strategy, then, in an inordinately dismal and hideous touring summer, and amidst a recession; a time when artists like U2, Simon and Garfunkel, Limp Bizkit, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and Sarah McLachlan decide not to tour or to cancel dates.

Although both bands’ musical styles are, broadly considered, similar (e.g., both cite The Clash as a notable influence), and both had major hits in the 1990s – 311 with “Down” and “All Mixed Up”, and The Offspring with “Come Out and Play” and “Self Esteem” -- the audience turnout at this gig was an utter farce indeed, and the obvious PR strategy failed miserably; the lawn area at Sandstone was totally vacant.

311 played at this venue in the late 1990s, supporting its “Blue Album”, and back then 311 filled nearly every seat, walkway, privy, and patch of grass in the place. The band’s show tonight only packed about half of the large, outdoor venue; approximately some 7,000 odd fans attended. Sets by 311 and The Offspring were, on the whole, unmistakably successful, but unfortunately not enough people were present to actually appreciate these established acts and relish the summertime holiday. Not good.

The Offspring opened, supporting Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace(2008). The Huntington Beach pop-punk band played a set that covered ground from its more recent albums; four songs were from the band’s breakthrough, Smash (1994): “Come Out and Play”, “Bad Habit”, “Self Esteem”, and “Gotta Get Away”. Three of these guitar-driven, louder songs were successful and encouraged a fair bit of crowd surfing and moshing. Fans were festive but not fanatic; a woman flashed her chest to Dexter Holland, but he didn’t acknowledge it. New songs “Hammerhead” and show opener “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” were well-performed but not as stimulating and hard-hitting as the band’s earlier hits.

Guitarist Noodles played with great precision and vitality, as per usual; as he smoked offstage during a break, he appeared eager to get back in front of the crowd. Nonetheless, his PR skills could use some fine tuning. He told the audience that 311 would be up soon, and that The Offspring’s set would imminently conclude. Fans knew that 311 would be playing after them, so broadcasting that you’re almost done isn’t too judicious and Noodles’ statement sounded subtly resentful.

The second song of Offspring’s set, “Bad Habit”, was entirely problematic. Its slow, bass-reliant beginning does not work well live; the larger problem was that fans simply weren’t having it. It seemed few knew about it or had heard it. When lead singer Holland asked the crowd to sing the lyrics at a critical point, it was tantamount to getting your cat prepared for a bath, and it was a true chore. A band like Fuel nowadays can get the crowd to sing without drastic methods. “Bad Habit” thus was a sad disappointment live. The piano version of “Gone Away” turned many fans off as well.

Curiously, it was two songs from Americana (1998) that truly affected and impressed the mysterious mood of the audience. The comical songs “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” and “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” were indisputable standouts. The Americana tour it was not, but for some reason these songs had considerable resonance; after more than a decade their cultural humor, mixed with a keen sense of pop melody, still carries weight.

Holland brought his witty, schoolboy observations to the crowd. “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” is cute and laughable in this manner, but its singsong sonic nature stems from “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” off The Beatles’ White album. These two aspects nicely characterize The Offspring’s hallmark sense of lyrical play and clever, musical indebtedness. The band also covered The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton” which went over pretty well.

311 played an absolutely unrelenting set comprised of twenty-two songs. The reggae-rap-rock band is supporting Uplifter (2009), but mercifully only four songs came from that pedestrian LP: “Mix it Up”, “India Ink”, “Hey You”, and “Jackpot”. At last summer’s near-disastrous Kansas City gig the band played an embarrassing nine Uplifter songs and neglected to perform several of the big hits. Few songs were played from Grassroots and Music.

Last summer’s “Hey You” didn’t work and sounded too generic and poppy. Tonight the song had genuine potency to it. Tim Mahoney’s guitar bit sounded tighter and more compelling, and singer Nick Hexum’s passion was evident. “India Ink” is becoming quite reliable live, but probably “Never Ending Summer” should have been played in its place. Or, maybe the nostalgic, holiday-friendly “Homebrew”. “Never Ending Summer” successfully opened last summer’s Kansas City date; it nicely exemplified the band’s musical intensity and trademark optimism.

Largely, 311 made amends for last year’s show by playing three fairly rare live songs: “Taiyed”, “Brodels”, and Soundsystem’s closer, “Livin’ & Rockin’”. It was something else to witness the band’s rendition of the machismo-laden songs “Brodels”, from the Blue Album, and “Livin’ & Rockin’”. It’s been a long time since singer Hexum firmly rapped “Well I'm 6 foot 3 and like Mohammed Ali / I float like a butterfly and sting like poison ivy / Drive a 69 Lincoln suicide doors,” as he did during “Brodels”. This was an exquisite diamond; the band must play other songs in this vein more frequently. “Taiyed”, from Grassroots, underscored SA Martinez’s vocal flow, not to mention Mahoney’s funky guitar playing. Certified hits like “Down” and “Beautiful Disaster” were performed well too. Both Hexum and Martinez danced about the stage, and at times, lead singer Hexum stood up on a center platform; also, the gig entertained the crowd when Hexum and Mahoney played guitar next to one another. And SA Martinez was atypically talkative, especially during the latter part of the show. But 311 simply needed to play more critical and relevant songs, such as “Freak Out”, “Omaha Stylee”, “Lucky”, “Homebrew”, “Jackolantern’s Weather”, “Plain”, and “Who’s Got the Herb?” The band played several of these songs at its Fall 2009 stop in Grand Prairie, Texas; the funk-rock song “Plain” was the best played song at that show, and Hexum was most certainly more energetic and enthusiastic as well, dancing in every which way possible.

Overall, both bands proved that they can put on a respectable show during a weak economy and despite having most of their major hits in the 1990s. Both have a devoted and forgiving fan base. However, 311 in particular must cut the weaker songs from its set list. When is “Guns (Are For Pussies)” going to get played live? And what happened to “My Stoney Baby”, “Nix Hex” and “8:16 AM”? Someday.

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image