311, The Offspring and Gym Class Heroes
The Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Never-Ending Summer Tour
August 25, 2018
When your band is named for Omaha, NE’s police code for indecent exposure, you better be good…and after over twenty-five years of chart-busting success you better believe 311 is really good. Formed in 1988, 311 (vocalist/guitarist Nick Hexum; lead guitarist Tim Mahoney who replaced Jim Watson in 1991; bassist Aaron "P-Nut" Wills; DJ/vocalist Doug "SA" Martinez and drummer Chad Sexton) is a multi-platinum force of nature.
During the course of its career, 311 has released a dozen studio albums, two live albums, for compilation/greatest hits collections, numerous EPs and a number of DVDs. The band is best known for its hit singles and concert staple tunes: “Down,” “All Mixed Up,” “Do You Right,” “Applied Science,” “Don't Stay Home,” “Transistor” and many others. 311 had its greatest success with its 1995 triple platinum self-titled album (Capricorn Records). That album reached #12 on the Billboard 200. Other hit albums include Transistor (Caprocorn Records, 1997), Soundsystem (Capricorn Records, 1999) and From Chaos (Volcano Entertainment, 2001)—attaining either Gold or Platinum status. The band’s music can be described as a blend of alternative, reggae, hip-hop, funk, rap-rock and metal. In the United States, alone, 311 has sold over 10 million albums and CDs.
The Offspring was formed in Garden Grove, CA in 1984. Over the course of its career, The Offspring have released nine studio albums, selling over 40 million albums and CDs across the globe. The Offspring achieved its first commercial success, going Platinum with its 1994 album Smash (Epitaph, 1994). The band also achieved widespread success with the Columbia Records releases Ixnay on the Hombre (1997), Americana (1998), Conspiracy of One (2000) and Splinter (2003)—reaching platinum, multi-platinum, platinum and gold status respectively.
The Offspring’s version of punk rock is influenced by groups and artists as diverse as The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Social Distortion, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Black Flag, UFO, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, AC/DC, Van Halen, Queen, Metallica, The Misfits, Aerosmith and Kiss. Its music is best described as a mixture of punk, hardcore, ska, pop, metal and rock. Along with Green Day, The Offspring is one of the best-selling punk bands of all time.
Gym Class Heroes is from Geneva, NY. The group was formed in 1997 when Travie McCoy met drummer Matt McGinley during their high school gym class. The band's music displays a wide variety of influences, including rock, funk, hip hop, pop and reggae. The band is currently composed of McCoy on vocals; McGinley; guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo and touring members Tyler Pursel on keyboards, rhythm guitar and backing vocals; Joseph Veazie on vocals and Ralfy Valencia on bass guitar.
Gym Class Heroes is known for its singles “Cupid's Chokehold” which reached # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Clothes Off!!” peaked at # 5 on the UK charts. Both songs can be found on 2006’s As Cruel As School Children (Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic Records). The band’s third album, The Quilt (Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic Records, 2008) debuted at #14 on The Billboard 200. 2011’s The Papercut Chronicles II (Decaydance Records) featured “Stereo Hearts” a duet with Adam Levine from Maroon 5.
On a pleasant evening in Wantagh, NY, 311, The Offspring and Gym Class Heroes filled the intimate at The Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater with a multi-generational cross-section of fans. The intimate outdoor venue was abuzz well before the first notes were played. The fans were milling about the outdoor venue’s merchandise stand area purchasing t-shirts, posters and all sorts of memorabilia.
The night began with a short but powerful set by Gym Class Heroes. The eight song set opened with a stellar version of “Stereo Hearts” and was highlighted by “Cupid's Chokehold,” “Clothes Off!!” and Travis McCoy’s solo offering “Billionaire.” As the sun began to set, the band’s performance ended with a nice version of “Kid Nothing and the Never-Ending Naked Nightmare.”
After a short intermission, the audience erupted when the Offspring (spiky haired lead singer Dexter Holland, bassist Greg Kriesel, guitarist Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman with his multi-colored hair, and drummer Pete Parada) hit the stage. Though slightly older (that stands to reason doesn’t it?) than during the band's heyday, The Offspring sounded fantastic. Holland's voice was clear and strong. Kriesel’s, Wasserman’s and Parada’s playing was tight, bright, exuberant and energized. The band played a loud, fast and energetic set. The fans cheered, sang along and danced to the group’s spectacular set.
“Americana,” “All I Want,” “Why Don't You Get a Job?,” and the AC/DC cover “Whole Lotta Rosie” were performed, each one sending the audience further into a frenzy. The band’s breakthrough album, Smash, was well represented as "Self Esteem" and "Bad Habit” “Gotta Get Away,” “Come Out and Play” (with the audience screaming the “You gotta keep ‘em separated!” portion of the chorus) were all played. Other highlights included “Gone Away” and the rarely played “Stuff Is Messed Up.”
Although the 90-minute set relied heavily on classic tunes, Holland and his cohorts still managed to include “You're Gonna Go Far, Kid,” a song from 2008's Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace (Columbia) and "(Can't Get My) Head Around You" from Splinter (Columbia, 2003). The set came to a stunning close when the band launched into a powerful set-ending trifecta of an adrenaline-fueled version of “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” which was followed by “The Kids Aren't Alright” and “Self Esteem.”
After another short intermission, at just slightly after 9:30pm, 311 hit the stage and got right down to it with spirited versions of “Come Original” and “All Mixed Up.” The audience which appeared to be thrilled, overjoyed and ecstatic after just two tunes really lost it when the band followed with “Do You Right” and “Lucky.”
The crisp and solid 18-song set was also highlighted by: the cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong,” “Feels So Good” (from the 1993 Capricorn Records/Volcano Entertainment album Music, “Wildfire” “Beautiful Disaster” and “Applied Science.” Other songs of note were: “Beyond The Gray Sky,” “You Wouldn’t Believe” “Feels So Good” from the Unity (What You Have Records, 1991) CD and a hard-hitting version of “Too Late.” As the evening began to wind down, Hexum asked the crowd to join in and sing along on “Creatures (For A While). The performance came to a close with a classic rendition of the band’s biggest hit, “Down.”
As the crowd headed toward the gates and into the venue’s parking areas, some fans were overheard making plans to meet in Chicago “in two weeks to see it all over again!” If they do go, and the performances are as good, it will be well worth the trip.
Photos by Christine Connallon