We're right in the heart of the summer concert season, and there seems to have been no better to show on the road right now to celebrate this fact than 'The Never Ending Summer Tour', co-headlined by 311 and The Offspring. The bands decided to make the kick-off date on Wednesday in the San Francisco Bay Area at Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheatre, and it's cleared that the packed Bay Area crowd agreed wholeheartedly with their choice.
Opening the kick off date was an act that I'm personally glad is back at it on the live music circuit: New York's Gym Class Heroes. Originally rising to prominence within the hip-hop and alternative scene with songs like "Cupid's Chokehold" and "Stereo Hearts", the act has been relatively quiet the last few years. While their fellow Decaydance bands have disintegrated over the years and now remain only in the hearts of those who remember when Hot Topic actually sold CDs, Gym Class Heroes stepped away, regrouped, and have persisted. Cranking through a half-hour set that included hits from throughout their collective discography, as well as the notoriously catchy "Billionaire" single that vocalist Travis McCoy released years ago, Gym Class Heroes proved themselves to be one of the more perfect acts on the road this summer.
The Offspring kept things moving along with a high-energy punk rock set that delivered nothing but the best that the band has to offer. While they haven't formally released an album since 2012's Days Go By, they're still releasing new songs every couple of years (including a cover of their tour-mates' track "Down", recorded and released as part of the 'Never Ending Summer Tour' promotion). Yet with ten albums of material, there's plenty to offer. "Come Out And Play", "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)", "The Kids Aren't Alright", "Why Don't You Get A Job", "Gotta Get Away", and "Self-Esteem" are just a number of tracks I could pull from memory when thinking back to the seventeen-song setlist. It was the perfect lead up to 311's set. As the sun went down, the energy went up.
311's eclectic sounds and exemplary musicianship reverberated throughout the summer evening as the five-piece played through a catalogue of songs that spanned the band's twelve-album catalogue (including last year's Mosaic). The quintet are able to seamlessly transition between heavier rock moments, hip-hop-inspired verses, and soothing summer reggae moments, a feat that not all multi-genre acts can successfully pull off. But with that much music and experience under your belt, it's clear that 311 would be the band that's able to pull this off, if anyone is able to. Their lengthy setlist included cuts like "Amber", "All Mixed Up", "Perfect Mistake", "Stealing Happy Hours", and "Creatures (For Awhile Now)" provide just a sampling of what fans received on the evening that the fantastic "Never Ending Summer Tour" kicked off.