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311 wraps tour with Halloween hijinks – Review

Rap-rock quintet 311 ended its two-month U.S. tour on a high note with a festive homecoming performance at the sold-out Universal on Halloween.

Band members hit the stage in various costumes – a firefighter, G.I. Joe, a bearded wizard, a futuristic Uncle Sam, an armored monster – and launched into more than 90 minutes of tracks from all six of their studio albums, with extra emphasis on “From Chaos” (Volcano/Jive), the band’s most recent effort.

The 1997 alt-radio hit “Beautiful Disaster,” featuring Nick Hexum and Tim Mahoney on dueling harmonic guitars, was a crowdpleasing opener, followed by the party-minded “Freak Out,” from 311’s 1993 debut “Music.”

Despite the band’s ample back catalog, it was actually the newer songs that made the best impressions. The dynamic “Uncalm” and “You Get Worked” were powerful showcases for the band’s fine-tuned onstage chemistry, while the beautiful love song “Amber” and uplifting ska-flavored single “I’ll Be HereAwhile” showed off 311’s versatility.

A brief midset drum solo during “Applied Science” by Chad Sexton turned into a bandwide drum circle at center stage. Older, high-paced entries “Down” (the band’s most popular cut) and “Feel So Good” capped the regular set in fine fashion, while 311’s smoked-out cover of “Who’s Got the Herb” signaled the three-song encore.

Members of opening-act Alien Ant Farm, currently riding a massive wave of popularity stirred by their version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” invaded the stage during the closer and, along with members of the 311 crew, covered the band with cans of Silly String while they performed the finale.

Presented by House of Blues Concerts. Band: Nicholas Hexum, Chad Sexton, Tim Mahoney, Aaron “P-Nut” Wills, Doug “S.A.” Martinez. Also appearing: Alien Ant Farm. Reviewed Oct. 31, 2001.