Somewhere along the line, sometime in the last decade, 311 made a slight transformation. The rock band out of Omaha, Neb., known for a string of radio hits starting in the mid-'90s has evolved into one of the summer's prime live acts.
This Saturday, 311 is joined by Slightly Stoopid at Jiffy Lube Live for the group's annual Unity Tour.
"It's going really good," said 311 guitarist Tim Mahoney, speaking by phone last week from a tour stop in St. Augustine, Fla. "We're having fun. We're a couple of weeks into it and so we're starting to catch a groove. It's nice to be back out in the summertime and playing outside."
Previous manifestations of the annual Unity Tour have featured the likes of Matisyahu, the Offspring, Snoop Dogg, Sublime and the Wailers.
|311 and Slightly Stoopid|
|Where: Jiffy Lube Live|
|When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday|
|Info: With the Aggrolites; $38 to $62; livenation.com|
"We've been doing them a long time now," Mahoney said. "It's funny how time flies. It's been long enough that I can't remember how many years we've been doing this under the Unity Tour banner."
After more than 20 years, 311 has plenty of songs to fill a summer night. The band's biggest hits include "All Mixed Up," "Amber," "Beautiful Disaster," "Come Original" and "Down," among others; and 311 boasts 10 albums of original music, including last summer's "Universal Pulse."
In addition to the annual Unity Tour shows, 311 has performed on cruise ships; and every March 11 (311 Day), the group plays expansive sets.
"We're fortunate to have a fan base that supports us and allows us to do that," Mahoney said of 311's ability to draw crowds each summer. "We're thankful for that. It's weird how things have changed over the course of just over 20 years now for us. Now it's more about playing live. We've always kind of been about playing live and always earned a living playing live and grew up as a band doing that."
With such a breadth of work to select from, even 311 overlooks a hit now and then.
"It's funny," said Mahoney. "You've got five guys. Even last night we forgot to put 'Amber' on the set list. We remembered halfway through and we put it in."
The band plans to head back to its North Hollywood studio, affectionately known as the Hive, this fall to lay down some new music. Until then, 311 will continue to bring fans and bands together in unity.
"It's our favorite thing to go out and play outside and play with bands that we really enjoy," Mahoney said.