311 Bring Some Old-School Heat — and a Very Dynamic Setlist — to Nautica

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Still one of the most reliably fun bands on tour these days, 311 returned to Cleveland proper last night after what seemed like eons away from us. (Last year's Hard Rock Live show falls just outside city limits.)

The band came out blazing with "Beautiful Disaster," "Sick Tight" and "Prisoner," which foreshadowed an inclination toward some of the more off-the-beaten-path tunes as the night went on.

Hitting almost every album in their canon, the band rolled out tunes like "Random," "Taiyed," Hydroponic," "Eons" and "Use of Time." Even the so-called hits, like "Amber" and "Love Song," seemed to have some extra gas behind them. (SA's effects have only gotten weirder and better on "Amber" over the years. Nick Hexum also mentioned that the band debuted "Amber" right here in Cleveland in 2001.)

P-Nut's bass solo, a standard part of the show for years now, was pretty inventive last night. He used mostly harmonics, rather than frenetic slap bass, to entrance the audience before ducking into Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name," which got the audience singing along with gusto. It was hard not to consider next week's Prophets of Rage show amid the impending RNC.

After the "Applied Science" drum solo — another gold standard from way back — the band juxtaposed a few Uplifter tunes against some old Music stuff ("Feels So Good," always welcome) to cap the night. (The end of the set mirrored what would have been played in Detroit the night before, had a storm not swept in and ended the show prematurely.)

I've been seeing 311 for 12 years now, and this was one of the best setlists they've brought to Ohio in a long time, hands down. Finally caught "Random," too, which is an excellent song and a shining beacon for those who follow Chad Sexton's percussion work. (Did you notice his stripped-down kit last night?)

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