Last Night: SunFest New Music Night with 311

SunFest New Music Night with 311
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
West Palm Beach Intercoastal

Better Than: Jeremiah's Weed-Ade...though that didn't stop me from drinkin' 'em.

Well, the first day of SunFest '09 is in the can. What can I say? I love a good festival. The imposing overabundance of food. Alcohol in greater supply still. Drunks and hippies, co-mingling and celebrating good music and good times. And you'd be hard pressed to find a better locale than the WePalm Intercoastal for such an event, where the sweet Atlantic breeze comes rolling in gently off the sea, over the floating Captain Morgan's Oases, where Jeremiah's Weed-Ade was flowing like, well...weed-ade, and onto the rolling lawn in front of the stages. In short, the feel-good vibes were in the air (both literally and figuratively).

I missed opening punk acts Wavves and The Mae Shi, and sadly never even made it to the Tire Kingdom Stage, where Spam Allstars opened. But I did get to see Solillaquists of Sound, a rather different hip-hop group, blending rapper Swamburger's fast-paced lyrics and Alexandrah and Tonya Combs' dulcet vocals with anything but the standard fare in beats. Thanks to aptly named music man DaViNCci, who conjures the bulk of the groups sounds from a full array of what looked like SP808's and other, freakier equipment, Solillaquists assault the crowd with a barrage of breakbeat, drum and bass and other miscellaneous forms of electronica driving their unique sound. As Swamburger so eloquently put it, they're the "modern day Fleetwood Mac for yo' ass."

Then, of course, the masses gathered before the main stage, trampling

my hippie  blanket to get a good view for the main event--311. If you

already read this,

then you know mine isn't exactly an impartial view. I'm a fan of the

band, and seeing them live only makes it more so. Simply put: they

friggin' kick ass live, always drawing gems from throughout their

catalog, both hard rockers and mellow reggae riffs; alternately

whipping the crowd into frenzy and coaxing them to sing and sway in


Last night's show was no exception. The boys from Omaha

started strong with guitars churning out "Beautiful Disaster," "Freeze

Time," and "Prisoner." Two tracks from '97's Transistor and one from 99's Soundsystem

to open the show let fans they've come to kick out the jams. And jam

they do, following with "All Mixed Up," off the popular self-titled '95

release. A few songs into the set they slow it down with their cover of

The Cure's "Love Song," to the delight of the throng in attendance, who

began to howl along.

But the lull wouldn't last long. They

ripped right into "Applied Science," complete with drummer Chad

Sexton's minute-and-a-half drum solo before the rest of the band

congregated stage-center for their signature drumline breakdown. Fan

fav "Come Original" followed, with "Hey You", the new single off their

upcoming release Uplifter, quick on its heels. Another mainstay in the

band's setlist, "Beyond the Grey Sky" made an appearance, and they

closed the show with sing-along favorite "Amber" and the ever-popular

"Down," which vocalist Nick Hexum dedicated to old school fans, a

fitting thank you delivered as he sported an old school 311 Music t-shirt.


the band's encores never disappoint.  They stomped out on stage to give

the crowd "Creatures For Awhile," before breaking into P-Nut's sick

bass solo, then saying goodnight with "Feels So Good," off the '93

debut, Music.

Though my head may not this morning, it definitely did feel so good last night.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I think this explanation is superfluous.  

Random Detail:

SunFest continues through the weekend with a killer lineup of

Pennywise, Slightly Stoopid, Classic Albums Live, Cold War Kids, G.

Love and Special Sauce and Steve Miller Band.

By the Way: If anyone has one red hippie-blanket in their possession, please contact me. I want that shit back.

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