Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Multi-Platinum Rock Band 311 To Play Val-Air Ballroom on Thursday, August 7

Omaha born rockers 311 will play the Val-Air Ballroom on Thursday night, marking the first time the band has played Des Moines in several years. They are touring in support of STEREOLITHIC, the band's 13th studio album which debuted at # 6 on the Billboard Charts. Doing so, it became the band's 9th album in a row to debut in the Billboard's Top Ten. (The album also entered #1 on both the Rock and the Indie charts.) The 7 week headlining tour of North America started on June 26th in  Albuquerque, New Mexico and finishes up in mid-August in Salt lake City, Utah.

Doors open at 7:00 and music starts at 8:00.
The first time I heard 311 it was in or about 1994. I was working in Ames as the kitchen manager at People's Bar and Grill, which was a highly renowned music venue. 311 had played there in '93 or '94 and were still considered by many to be an underground band. Music CDs played a great role in our workday flow, and 311's MUSIC and GRASSROOTS fit heavily into our daily rotation.

I had never heard a band that sounded like 311. With elements of rap, rock, funk, reggae groove and soul the closest band I could form a comparison to was the Red Hot Chili Peppers - whom I was also digging at the time - but that comparison wasn't realistic and I knew it. 

311 had it's own distinct sound which enthralled me. I didn't realize it then, but those two CDs would become part of the soundtrack to my life. I knew the words to the songs and as we prepared lunch for the noontime crowd, my buddies and I would sing through the track lists,, changing the CDs  out concurrently. 

Now, years later, I still have those copies. To look at them, one would think that there is no way that they could be played, as they are battle scarred with chips and scratches. The CD cases themselves have lost their hinges, and the two sides lay together like a shiny disc sandwich. Looking back, it seems odd that I never switched out old case for a new one. The last time I played them was about 10 years ago and I remember being surprised that they could  be played without a hitch all the way through.

Through 311 I learned to appreciate styles of music I wasn't familiar with, such as rap and funk, and the feel-good message that they resonated did wonders for my post-teenage soul. Even now as an adult, I feel compelled to play "Homebrew"  (GRASSROOTS) each years' Fourth of July celebration.

311 has evolved as a band that has gone from being sassy young boys who were as known for their consumption of marijuana as they were for their music to grown men who are now regarded as major players in the Los Angeles music industry. They have enjoyed amazing success in their musical career, including the celebration of having sold nearly 9 million albums world-wide.

STEROLITHIC was recorded with longtime collaborator/producer Scott Ralston, best known for his work on some of the band's most popular releases, including MUSIC, 1995's triple-platinum selling 311, 1997's platinum- selling TRANSISTOR and 1999's gold selling SOUNDSYSTEM

STEREOLITHIC was mixed by Ralston and 311 drummer Chad Sexton. 

Rolling Stone described the album as an LP "bursting with joyous choruses and taut grooves" and Entertainment Weekly praised the disc for it's "fattened power chords, reggae stylings and gentle melodies." Relix Magazine wrote, "Keeping true to one's roots while still evolving musically for 24 years is challenging, but these five veteran rockers are arguable some of the most skilled musicians in their scene, and they pull it off with massive success."

From L-R: Tim Mahoney, Chad Sexton, Nick Hexum, P-Nutt, and SA Martinez
311 has had 9 top 10 radio hits, including three No. 1's. Their list of hits includes, "Down," "All Mixed Up," "Amber," "Love Song," "Come Original," Beautiful Disaster," "Don't Tread On Me," "Hey You," and "Sunset In July."

For 11 years now the band as headlined stages across the U.S. with their summer "Unity Tour." They also host an annual Caribbean Cruise - a four night trip from Miami to a private island in the Bahamas attended by thousands.

On Thursday night in Des Moines, fans will be greeted with a musical catalog spanning the band's entire career.


Pertinent Links:

311 Official

Val-Air Ballroom 

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