What did you do this summer?
Written by Sheila Walsh
Photos by Ricky Thigpen
Nebraska’s own 311 spent their hot holiday roaming the highs and lows of American soil, stopping in just about everyone’s city for their 18th consecutive summer tour. The 2017 version of this tour is entitled the Unity Tour, which is fitting as the band is currently promoting their twelfth studio album MOSAIC. Opening for the raggae rock legends was Danish alt outfit New Politics and the progressive rock band Passafire.
Summer is one of our favorite times of the year simply because of all the new music we are treated with! This year’s no different as Passafire brought their latest album Longshot to the ears of the Queen City. Before the Unity Tour came to Charlotte, S16 prez Dianna Augustine wrote a lil’ preview of what was to be expected at last night’s show. Passafire’s “progressive progressive rock” caught Dianna’s attention:
“Openers, for the Charlotte date, Passafire, (Easy Star Records/FlameGuy Records/LAW Records) who are touring on their new album Longshot, fall right into the great reggae genre laden line-up of this tour. The sounds are a bit more of a progressive progressive rock with some very toned down pop ballad tones and very vocal and guitar heavy, which is unusual for the straight-laced reggaeton most are used to, and a touch more dramatic as well.”
Dianna mentioned that this band was one of those whose live set is what makes them a band, and it felt like Charlotte couldn’t agree more. It’s one thing for the album to sound good, but to bring that music to life is another, and Passafire hit the mark. Taking the stage shortly after was Denmark’s pride and joy, New Politics (DCD2).
Though they aren’t currently supporting a new album, to the dismay of many, they are gearing up for something big. Their latest single “One Of Us” is still getting tons of time on the airwaves two months after it dropped. I know what you’re thinking: “well, DUH.”
They haven’t released a fresh body of work since 2015’s Vikings, and a single is all we’ve got! Guess we have to make the most of it. New Politics is the kind of band who you can’t help but dance to, whether you know it’s happening or not. Maybe do a flip-kick or two while you are at it!
With posi-centric lyrics and a reggae beat, New Politics was a super direct opener to prep for 311. Well done, boys.
And finally, the grande finale. 311 took the stage by storm, but luckily the weather held up for once. Nightly summer thunder brawls seem to be the motif here in Charlotte as of late, but the audience at CMCUA was safe for a night.
311 brought their one-month old release to the former Uptown Amphitheatre stage, and it was everything we could have wanted in a show. Their resume is quite impressive, and led us to believe that their Unity Tour would be no different.
Though they’ve kept themselves busy through the three decades of bandom, they have left time for ventures outside of music, sometimes in the form of beer. I wish I could figure out how many people have, at one point or another, took a chug of 311’s Amber Ale. After that poll, I want to know how many people at CMCUA attended one of the band’s Caribbean Cruises! And then I want stories.
With a list of accomplishments and overall cool things this band has done, it’s no wonder the venue was packed last night. Playing fan favorites like “Perfect Mistake,” “Amber,” and “Jackpot,” the band offered up a setlist meant to please even the slightest of 311 fans. They even figured out a way to incorporate a little tribute to the theme song for Netflix’s mega-hit Stranger Things.
(Example of a great #twitfromthepit of the night. 311 asked everyone to take out their cellphones and light up the sky.)
Most importantly, the band played new tracks from MOSAIC, which has a whopping 17 songs, including current single “Too Much To Think.” The cover artwork for the album was created using 10,000 photos submitted by fans, hence the album title; you can view all the art here!
The dreamy weather, killer bill, and all-around vibe of the night created the perfect storm at CMCUA. You can see where else the Unity Tour is going, and experience the amber magic for yourself!