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311 and Alien Ant Farm
October 27, 2001
At The Aerial Theater
Houston, TX

by Samuel Barker
November 3, 2001

For their annual "Monster Mosh," Houstonís 94.5 got one of the best up and comers at the moment and a veteran band who has been around the block a few times. These bands were Alien Ant Farm and 311, respectively. This show had all the makings of a Halloween season classic.

The first band up was Alien Ant Farm. These guys have what it takes to make it to the next level. I was amazed at how well they played to the audience and got everyone involved. As soon as the opening chords of Courage began, all the kids in the house went crazy. It was evident most of these kids werenít in the group of people who have pigeon-holed the band as "the guys who play the Michael Jackson song."

They tore through their 45 minutes set with unbridled energy. The entire band never slowed for a second. Bassist Tye Zamora was impressive to watch. He stomped and gyrated across the stage and never missed a note of his usually intricate bass lines. This added with vocalist Dryden Mitchellís crowd interaction and funny monologues between songs led to a very entertaining set.

The highlight of the set was the performance of their first single, Movies. The entire band gave it their all on this song, as they did most every other song, and Mitchellís vocals soared on the song. As most expected, the set ended with "Smooth Criminal." This song really takes on a whole new sound with this band, but was far from the strongest song in the set.

After a break that included a costume contest(won by Cheech & Chong impersonators), it was time for 311 to take the stage. They came out with great energy and totally appeared to be taking this show by storm. The intro they played was hard and Nick Hexum and SA had the place bouncing. It was really a great feeling going on in the house.

This, however, only lasted a little while. Most of the younger kids who were there werenít really too connected to 311ís music. The knew them from assorted videos and their trip on the Warped Tour, but you could see the contrast in the crowd as the set moved on. When 311 went into the older tracks from Grassroots, all the kids stood around and didnít know what to think and when they went into the newer tracks, a lot of the old school listeners didnít know what to think. I really think it could have worked a lot better if the band would have kept the energy up. As the set moved on, their energy lessened and the vibe on the show relaxed.

The highlight of their set was the drum solo performed beautifully by Chad Sexton. He was left on stage for quite a while and kept a wild beat while everyone else took a break. As the lights came up, the rest of the band had drums in front of them and they all beat them in unison. It was an interesting set up that got a lot of people back into the set.

This night was a passing of the guard in sorts. You could feel the energy and see the tightness that only a band that has been together as long as 311 could supply, and Alien Ant Farmís young legs kept their energy high and their set going full speed. This is what we all could only dream of having from every concert we go to, a mixture of the best things live music has to offer us.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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