The ‘90s remain strange in the rearview mirror, even as the era calcifies into ancient history. Some of the music and styles remained with us all along, and some have been jump-started and rolled out as retro revivals.
The bands 311 and the Offspring weren’t exactly playing kindred sounds at the time — though their hits would have been on alternative-rock radio right next to each other.
311 pioneered a kind of proto-nu-metal rap-rock, with ultra crisp beats and buzz-saw guitars. What made the band strange and hard-to-peg was the eyedropper of dancehall-reggae toasting and dub that crept into its music. The artful use of reggae syncopation beefed up with distortion and aggression is maybe the throughline with the Offspring, California skate-punkers who had a big rage-filled bad-attitude anthemic hit in 1994 with “Self Esteem,” and who are also on this tour.
(Each band recorded the other’s big hit this year to show how sympatico they are for this tour.)
311 and the Offspring perform together at Xfinity Theatre, 61 Savitt Way, Hartford, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 and up. livenation.com.