JPP Live: Slightly Stoopid & 311 Keep it Crazy in Chicago


Slightly Stoopid and 311 have both been touring for over 20 years, but with the energy from the crowd Friday night at the Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island in Chicago, you would have no idea. The 2012 Unity Tour brought a fantastic vibe to the lakefront under a cloudless sky. If you are wondering if bands who have been performing so long have trouble keeping it fresh, the answer is - it depends. According to Miles Doughty of Slightly Stoopid, "When you do show up at each town, the vibe from the crowd is what creates your energy. The crazier the crowd, the crazier the band is. It’s still when you look out from the stage and you see everyone going nuts, whether they’re dancing, pitting, singing along, it’s like that’s what fuels the band’s fire." Chicago kept it crazy.

Slightly Stoopid and 311 ultimately complement each other with a solid combination of punk rock, ska, and reggae. Nick Hexum of 311 agrees, “We've always sought to find bands that embrace that philosophy of sort of the bonding power of music, and since we've been doing it over 10 years now, or right around 10 years, sometimes we hit the mark perfectly and sometimes the bands that we have are...not exactly what we're looking for. Slightly Stoopid is exactly the vibe that we're hoping to have." Although both bands have new albums, (Top of the World for Slightly Stoopid and Universal Pulse for 311) both setlists held a balance of older crowd favorites intertwined with the new material.

This was my first time seeing Slightly Stoopid live and they did not disappoint. Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty were up front and backed by Ryan Moran on drums, OG on percussion, C-Money on trumpet, Dela on saxophone, and Paul Wolstencroft on the keyboard. I loved the solos and just getting lost in the groove. Everyone around me was dancing and swaying, especially when they played anything from Chronchitis, namely "2am".

311, consisting of Nick Hexum, Tim Mahoney, P-Nut, and Chad Sexton, covered favorites from most of their albums.  Music, Grassroots, 311, Transistor, Soundsystem, From Chaos , Evolver, Uplifter, and the new album, Universal Pulse were all represented. The highlight for me had to be "Creatures". Watching Nick Hexum bounce around the stage made me go a little crazy. Chad Sexton’s drum solo was also stellar. They closed Chicago with an encore of "Hive" and "Down".

The 2012 Unity Tour brought me back to a time when I spent my days in the warm sun and relaxing at the beach on a cool summer evening. I love that no matter what else has come and gone in your life, these songs stay the same, in that moment, with that person, in that place where you first heard them. It’s nice to be reminded and to rock out.

The tour isn’t over! Catch a show at an amphitheater near you!




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