Concert Sutra Sees Fireworks From 311

by terri sapp

Photographs by Leah Yetter

© Concert Sutra, All Rights Reserved

chad 2009

click photos for photo gallery

On July 4, 2009 at Lakewood Amphitheatre in Atlanta, Georgia, Nick Hexum, Tim Mahoney, SA Martinez, Chad Sexton, and P-Nut celebrated Independence Day with me, Leah, and thousands of screaming fans.  I love when Leah is available to take the photos, because she always gets such wonderful shots!  Her work is so beautiful, I have to start by directing you to check out the 2009 photo gallery here:  Her photos are fantastic!  It makes me even sadder at the thought that she will be going to Wyoming very shortly.  I am going to miss her very much, especially at the 311 shows!!!  At last year’s show, I was just out of a major back surgery, but now, I have had an extra year to heal, and feel even more ready to party and dance!  Ziggy Marley opened up the show, and being Bob Marley’s DNA, he always gives me a thrill!  In addition to many amazing Ziggy Marley solo originals like “Love Is My Religion,” “Still The Storms,” “Be Free,” “True To Myself,” and “Black Cat,” as well as Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers’ gems like “Look Who’s Dancin’,” he also blessed us with many Bob Marley covers including “Roots, Rock, Reggae,” “Africa Unite,” “Jammin’” (one of my all time favs!), and “Is This Love?!!”

311 began their set with a “3-11, 3-3-11” Intro, then right into “Never Ending Summer” from their latest album, sa 2009Uplifter.  A great new song to set the tone for a special 4th of July show.  “Beautiful Disaster” continues the show with perfect energy!  Another reason I really love when Leah is at the 311 show with me to take the photos is because during the beginning of the show, I get to enjoy the music!!  With disco style lights, and all of the re-mix fixins, “All Re-Mixed Up” continues getting the party started.  Keeping it going, 311 brings me my favorite from their newest album, “Mix It Up!”  This song rocks, and has sweet lyrics.  I adore rockin’ love songs!  SA and Nick’s harmonies also melt my heart.  After “Mix It Up,” Nick says people have asked him if the reference to Little 5 Points in the song “Never Ending Summer” is about Atlanta.  He says, “Hell yeah, it is!  This is our home away from home!!!”  A shout out to Ziggy Marley, and then “Come Original!”  I always dance to this one.  Not enough artists come original these days!  I am always a sucker for a reggae beat, especially mixed with rock and roll!  Another great song from Uplifter, “It’s Alright” keeps the energy high.  When Uplifter first came out, I listened to it a few times all the way through, and found a few tracks that stood out as ones that I couldn’t wait to hear what they did with them live.  As usual, 311 does not disappoint!  Ever since the first 311 album, I have never heard one I did not like.  Uplifter is no different, and over time, the whole album grew on me, and I couldn’t wait to hear all of the tracks played in concert!

“Freeze Time,” from one very rockin’ album Soundsystem, got the place bouncing with ease.  I had not heard this one p-nut 2009in a while, and it is like an old friend that you do not see a lot, but pick right back up where you left off!  Loving the audience participation, too!  When I first heard “Daisy Cutter,” I immediately smiled, as a daisy cutter myself.  I love daisies, and was thrilled that my boys wrote a song about daisies that touches on the ways of wooing!  How clever to move from “Daisy Cutter” to “Amber!”  311 really knows how to get the ladies to feel giddy…  “Amber” moves the crowd in a swaying motion long enough to prepare for a kickin’ “Applied Science” drum break!!  Nick says 311 is all about bringing people together, and Unity, so they want everyone to jump up together on “Applied Science,” and to help it along, they played a super hardcore version!  Every time we see these guys, they have added some new kind of drum or percussion to their full band drum line.  They have come a long way with this part of their act in the almost ten years since they have all been participating in the drum “solo.”

They really presented many of the Uplifter songs on this 4th of July, “Something Out Of Nothing” being the next on the list!  What a treat to hear so many live in one night!  I was hoping to get more than just a few, and as always, 311 did not disappoint me.  From even the first note, I always get excited to hear one of my newer beloved songs, “Beyond The Gray Sky.”  Tim Mahoney plays the melody so beautifully with his Jerry-esque style of finger picking.  The lighters went up everywhere in the middle of this one, and it looked like a starry night all over.  From one cherished number to the next, and another from Uplifter, “I Like The Way.”   The words in “I Like The Way” are ones every girl longs to hear from her man!  311 has a way with the women that is for sure…  SA sang his heart out, and Chad knocked it out of the park with his drum sticks. 

Being that this show took place on July 4th, all 311 fans knew that we would hear “Homebrew.”  Nick even introduced tim 2009it accordingly.  “4th of July with Lucy in the sky!…It was Independence Day, I’ve seen the other side and I say I’ve been insane, and I won’t ever be the same.”   Always fun to hear that one.  “Hey You,” Nick says, “is about how music saved our (their) lives.”  They refer to music as a “long time friend” and “constant companion.”  I, along with all music fans, can relate to such an idea and concept.  I am sure that most all who love music have needed it to get through many rough times in life.  For me, 311’s music has played a major part in helping me through my many ups and downs throughout the years.  For that, I am forever grateful.  I love that they wrote a song about it!  I can see why they named their newest album Uplifter, because every song speaks of love or positivity in some way.  “India Ink” is no different.  I acknowledge that most of 311’s repertoire consists of works full of positivity, but this entire album seems to exude it.

In an out of the ordinary move, Nick introduced “What Was I Thinking” by saying it was time to say “P-Nut, beat that thing,” which usually means we are about to hear “In Your Face.”  This time, P-Nut started “What Was I Thinking” with an awesome bass jam, which had a kind of Pink Floyd flavor to it.  I go nuts when 311 does something I have never heard before, or adds a new flare to their performance!  The last song of the night from Uplifter, “Jackpot” left us with a high-powered representation of the album.  I was pleasantly surprised that they played 9 out of the 12 songs on their newest album!  There is just something about hearing new songs live that adds a level of admiration to them in everyday life.  Now, when I hear them on my IPod, I can imagine being at the concert enjoying life!  A new sort of escape.  “Jackpot” is hype, too!  “Everybody jump!”  Nick gave Atlanta a shout out saying, “We love this town!  Let’s go a little crazy!”  To top off the night, 311 broke out “Creatures (For A While).”  A perfect choice to get everyone going crazy.  I could feel this one vibrating my guts!

In the time it took for the guys to come back for the encore, which began with the old school intro into “Omaha nick and tim 2009Stylee,” Leah went to retrieve her equipment to capture the surprise at the end of the show.  “Omaha Stylee” has a very masterful beat, and always pumps up the crowd!  I agree with Nick when he said, “What a kick ass way to spend the 4th of July!”  He went on to say, “We were so stocked when we saw that our tour was gonna come on the 4th of July on a Saturday night to Atlanta…Hell yeah!!!  So, we’ve got a couple of special things planned for ya, so stick around, and look up in the sky after the last song.  But, now, we’re gonna mash it up 311 style starting with the happy slam dance song, Do You Right!!”  This is something new that I’ve not heard before…a mash-up of “Do You Right/Don’t Stay Home/Hive.”  It is a fun way to get all three songs in the encore without running out of time!  Smooth mix…I would not have ever thought to mash those three in particular!

Dedicated to all of the old school 311 fans in the house, the show ended with “Down.”  As always, “Down” was a hopping way to end the show.  Once it was all over, 311 provided a spectacular display of fireworks for our 4th of July enjoyment!  Visit the Photo Gallery to get a taste of the quality of after show fireworks we got!  Soundtrack to the fireworks was Jimi Hendrix’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  Most awesome fireworks ever!!!!  What a way to spend the 4th!