Sunday, July 10, 2011

311

Tonight @ Miller Lite Oasis, Summerfest, 10 p.m.

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If you owned a radio during the mid-1990s, chances are you heard Nebraska-based 311 on a fairly regular basis. And that was a good thing: Mega-hits such as “Down” and “All Mixed Up,” both from the group's 1995 breakthrough self-titled album, were incessantly catchy, mixing rock, rap and reggae into a smooth blend well before such an aural combination became overdone. Two years later the band released Transistor; this follow-up debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts and went on to achieve platinum-selling status. A live record followed in 1998 and the group released another studio record (Soundsystem) the following year.
Despite such a busy late 20th century, 311 has not slowed down much. Since the turn of the century the band has put out another four studio albums, with a new release, to be called Universal Pulse, set for this summer. Early reports say that the band is going for a heavier sound on this record, and the presence of uber-producer Bob Rock (who has lent his talents to such acts as Metallica and Aerosmith) suggests that these reports are correct. Expect an energetic performance that draws from this newer material without overlooking the band's greatest hits. (Michael Carriere)
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