Last Night: SunFest New Music Night with 311
|Nick Hexum of 311 perfoming at SunFest Wednesday night. Click here to view the full slide show.|
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 time.
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.
And 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.
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.