Words by Sara Alexander
Photos by Robert A. Chadwick
It may have been the first day of September, but don’t think summer’s gone away just yet. 90s rock bands 311 and The Offspring set out to prove just that as they brought their co-headlining Never-Ending Summer tour to Battery Park at Sioux City’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino last Saturday [September 1, 2018], and rock fans were definitely down.
Prior to kickoff of the tour, both bands covered a favorite song belonging to the other. The Offspring gave a punk twist to 311’s “Down,” while 311 brought a reggae feel to The Offspring’s “Self Esteem.” Both provide an entertaining listen but, as expected, weren’t a part of the set.
Gym Class Heroes did an excellent job warming up the crowd with hits like “Cupid’s Chokehold” and “Stereo Hearts” providing a sound that paired nicely with the co-headliners who would later come out and play.
The Offspring took the stage soon after, with frontman Dexter Holland telling of the nightmare that’s come true. In other words, “Americana.”
They also played an unreleased track, “It Won’t Get Better,” from an album expected to be out late this year or early next. From the sound of it, they’re going back to the late 90’s Ixnay on the Hombre days, which will surely be an improvement from their most recent 2012 release. AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” was thrown into the set as well but hardly done justice unfortunately. An Offspring original such as “Original Prankster” or “Have You Ever” would have been a better addition.
Offspring guitarist Noodles gave a shout out to his favorite guitar player in the world, Ron Emory, who actually lives in Sioux City. According to Noodles, the T.S.O.L. guitarist apparently taught The Offspring “everything they know” before later moving to Iowa and founding the Sioux City Conservatory of Music.
Mid-set, a piano was rolled onto stage along with dozens of miniature candles. Taking a seat, Holland spoke. ”Our family and friends are our lights. When one of those light goes out, it’s one of the worst things that can happen.” A moving rendition of “Gone Away” followed, reminding concert-goers what a true emotional ballad sounds like. (Sorry Five Finger Death Punch.)
Hits like “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid,” “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” and “The Kids Aren’t Alright” were played as well, and heavy moshing ensued. Before ending with the headbanging “Self Esteem,” Noodles addressed the crowd with a touch of sorrow in his voice. “It’s the Never-Ending summer tour, but every night has to end! I’m so confused!” We are too, Noodles. We are too.
311 was up next. As fans eagerly waited, video screens rolled a slideshow of the band’s recent poster art. The five piece is one of the few bands to still honor the art of the gig poster, and the Sioux City show was no exception. The evening’s artwork was provided by Zeb Love and portrayed an astronaut kneeling and introducing an alien creature to music via stereo.
311 soon took the stage with “Come Original,” and they weren’t messing around. Vocalists Nick Hexum and Doug “SA” Martinez were both forces to be reckoned with. They were into their music, and themselves, as they captivated audience members with sick dance moves. Martinez went especially hard. By only the fourth song, his button down was completely drenched, not a dry spot on it.
The highlight of 311 took place mid-set during “Applied Science.” As the band left the stage while drummer Chris Sexton stayed behind and treated attendees to a dubstep-like drum solo. Soon additional drums and cymbals were rolled onto stage, and the four band members returned to join Sexton in for an epic ten-armed drum solo. Things were even taken up a notch with some rapid-fire stick tossing between everyone. A few drumsticks were dropped here and there, but it was hardly noticed.
Though not part of current setlist rotation, “Omaha Stylee” was thrown in towards the end of the evening. The addition was fitting, considering Sioux City is only about an hour and a half away from the band’s hometown of Omaha.
To the surprise of many, favorites like “Who’s Got the Herb” and “Feels So Good” were left out. The night ended (but not the summer, of course) with “one for all the old-school 311 fans,” “Down.”
Gym Class Heroes
All images © 2014-2018 Robert A. Chadwick