It is hot outside and it is time for fans of funk-jazz-fusion rock to celebrate the music of 311. The band is on the road in the summer of 2012 with the second edition of the Unity Tour. This time around, 311 tickets are also concert tickets to see Slightly Stoopid and SOJA (or the Aggrolites) live. Three eleven is enjoying its time on stage, continuing its jam band trip throughout the United States and playing a set list comprised of music from last year’s album Universal Pulse, accented with a few of the huge hits every fan demands be played.
The tour ends on September 5, 2012 in Seattle, Washington at the Marymoor Amphitheatre. These are shows for anyone who loves jam bands for the 21st century. There are enough bongo drums, math rock, and reggae calls for peace at these events for those who love to chill with live music. This is not a poor man’s version of attending a Grateful Dead or Phish concert. This is the real thing as 311 has entered the next stage of fandom, one in which the newest album does not matter most. What matters most is playing the hits every festival attendant can sing along to.
The hits include “All Mixed Up”, “Down”, and “Come Original”. Most of these songs obviously come from the mid-1990s, when they first broke through with 311, Transistor, and Soundsystem. The band has provided new material since then. The most recent addition to the discography is Universal Pulse. Released on July 19, 2011, the record reached number two on the alternative charts and number seven on the Billboard 200.
This album sounds more like a concept album, one inspired by a cross between David Bowie and Phish. 311 certainly took more control of the album than they did last release, Uplifter. Uplifter was the group bending to the power of the music label and, thus, producing a much more commercial sound. Instead, they kept the same producer, Bob Rock, but decided to allow him to offer advice and not take complete control. The result is the music of an ever evolving band with a fan base willing to go on the journey and see just where it takes them.