Just a hop, skip, and a jump from their original stomping grounds in Nebraska, 311 kicked it hard in Des Moines, IA on September 6th at the historic Hoyt Sherman Place. Nick Hexum’s energy is electrifying and contagious. The entire audience was jumping around, so much so, you could feel the floor moving beneath your feet. It was quite the sensation; 311 literally almost brought the house down!
There was a warm breeze in the air on this gorgeous summer night as I walked up the steps to the stately Hoyt Sherman Place. Built in 1877 and known for its glory and grandeur, I got there early to walk the halls and check out the newly renovated rooms. Hoyt Sherman may be a smaller venue, but it has larger-than-life fans that filled it to its capacity Tuesday night.
A small crowd of middle-aged fans, who had purchased the early-entry ticket, were ahead of me and anxiously awaiting the doors to open. They talked about their love of the band and their memories of listening to 311 “back in the day.” Most couldn’t wait to see P-Nut one last time as he recently announced that the March 2023 311 Cruise would be his last show for a while.
HOYT SHERMAN PLACE
September 6, 2022
The opening act for 311 was Tropidelic and they are the perfect opener to 311 as their energy levels and passion are so similar. Tropidelic’s sincerity onstage and their vigor is something you really can’t describe; you have to live it and experience it for yourself. Their use of horns plays well with their hip-hop, reggae music style, and their dance moves make you laugh. Tropidelic’s 30-minute set went by way too quick.
Through the set change, the crowd did not lose any of their enthusiasm. If anything, the eagerness of seeing 311 perform kept everyone on the edge of their seats. That is, until 311 actually came out singing their hit song “Beautiful Disaster” and impelled the crowd to give a standing ovation that lasted the entire time they were on stage.
The light show was incredible and mesmerizing. The color changes of red, green, white, blue and purple lit up the band well and illuminated the crowd just enough that you could see all the hands in the air making the rock and roll symbol. Hexum had a small platform onstage that he used to perform jump moves and to get the crowd fired up. They kept the momentum flowing with their more popular songs like “Do You Right,” “Prisoner,” “Come Original,” “What The?!,” “Amber,” and “You Wouldn’t Believe.”
SA Martinez is all over the stage when he’s rapping, in a good way. His presence there keeps you on the lookout and wanting more. The way he and Hexum work vocals together is insane.
“Can somebody say P-Nutttttttttt” is the all-too-familiar intro that lets die-hard 311 fans know it’s time for P-Nut’s bass solo. The artistic flare that P-Nut brings to his solo is superb, and you get to see and hear it all in that riff. P-Nut definitely lays down the groove with his lightning-fast skills.
But for me, nothing will compare to Chad Sexton’s solo and the dynamic synergy of the band during the song “Applied Science,” which was played not long after P-Nut’s guitar solo. Chad Sexton puts on a sick, and I mean sick drum solo. It was amazing to watch this extremely talented individual jam out to his unique riff. Then to see the other band members join in on two additional drum sets, while throwing their drum sticks to one another took it to a whole new level. Yeah, 311 still has it, even after 32 years. This is one of the best parts of all of their shows.
When the band said their initial thanks and headed off the stage, the crowd screamed and hollered, eventually settling into chanting “Three Eleven…Three Eleven!” How could 311 resist an encore performance from such a hyped-up crowd? They could not of course, and came out to play “Omaha Stylee” and “Down” as their farewell songs.
This was by far one of my favorite concert experiences. Their summer to fall tour will end in Los Angeles on November 11th – where they will perform the “Soundsystem” album in its entirety and more – and November 12th – where they will perform the “From Chaos” album in its entirety and more – at The Wiltern. Both nights will have Phunk Junkeez as the special guest.