In July 2006, consummate eclectics 311 took to the road alongside Pepper and the world-renowned Wailers for what would become the band’s inaugural Summer Unity Tour. Since then, the diverse musical road show has been home to such acts as Matisyahu, The English Beat, Particle, and the Dirty Heads, with 311 always along for the rockin’ coast-to-coast ride. This year, the fusion masterminds have upped the ante and added rap’s reining king to their illustrious bill. This tetrafecta of rock, roots, hip-hop, and funk will hit the Santa Barbara Bowl (1122 N. Milpas St.) on Thursday, June 26, at 6 p.m. Call 962-7411 or visit sbbowl.com for details and tickets.
1) Flying High: Opening this year’s Unity Tour is a three-piece that can truly lay claim to the term “rock royalty.” Based out of London, and fronted by Sting’s firstborn, Joe Sumner, the band plays a mix of straightforward rock and ’80s revivalist beats (think The Bravery meets The Police, with a splash of reggae thrown in for kicks). The boys, who released their third full-length, Left Side of the Brain, on Bieler Brothers Records just last year, have toured in support of Sumner’s pop-and taken to the late-night talk show circuit in recent months. Undoubtedly an ideal reason to show up on time this Thursday night.
2) Omaha Stylee: As the founding fathers of the Unity Tour-with nearly 20 years’ worth of concerts behind them-Nebraska’s 311 definitely know how to play to a crowd. Noted for their high-energy, jam-heavy, and at times otherworldly live shows, the quintet epitomizes the idea of a musical collective. Shifting from alt-rock tunes led by frontman Nick Hexum to funky raps courtesy vocalist/turntable mastermind S.A. Martinez, the boys will undoubtedly keep things lively throughout their stint onstage. And be sure to keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for the band’s legendary drum-offs-they’re an explosion of beats that will surely resonate throughout the Eastside.
3) All Hail The Doggfather: Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus can be described as many things: man, myth, legend; recording giant, endorsement mogul, movie star; father, husband, and one-time poster boy for West Coast gangsta rap. The ever-changing-and always delivering-Snoop has made a career out of reinventing himself, all without ever straying too far from his L.B.C. roots. Case in point: We have seen Snoop go from alleged murder accomplice to porn director to reality TV star and self-described “Life of Da Party,” all the while reigning as one of the consistently best-selling artists in all of hip-hop history. He’ll round out the Unity Tour with a mix of classics, hits, and new tunes from his as-yet-untitled 2009 release. For Snoop alone, this is one show that is not to be missed, fo’ shizzle.