Fever 333 – Coca-Cola Roxy, January 26, 2019

Fever 333 is a rapcore band started in Inglewood, CA.  For those that are unfamiliar with the genre, much like me, rapcore is a type of music that merges elements from punk rock, metal, and rap.  A largely notable rapcore band, and one of Fever 333’s biggest influences is Rage Against the Machine (RATM).  The guys of Fever 333 voiced their love for their rapcore predecessor in a recent interview.  They explained how a band like RATM was one of the first bands they listened to that made them question what they were talking about in their songs.  Fever 333’s band is comprised of members of previous and current bands.  Jason Butler, the lead singer, was a part of the band letlive., as the lead vocalist.  Stephen Harrison, the guitarist, was formerly a member of the band The Chariot.  Last but not least, the drummer Aric Improta.  Not only is he the drummer for Fever 333, but he is also a current member of the band Night Verses.

I remember I first found out about Fever 333.  I watched a video of a pop-up performance of theirs in front of Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, California.  I thought to myself, “what an amazing way to introduce a band.”  There had been a buzz on social media prior to their performance, so they actually had a pretty decent sized crowd.  They then gathered in front of the establishment on the 4th of July and introduced themselves and what the band stood for.

“We want to make a change…there’s people here trying to push out my people, my friends, my family, moving them to places making things too expensive. They call it gentrification…that’s what they’re doing and I think that’s wrong”

These are the words that Butler spoke to the crowd as the band prepared to start their “exhibition.”  At this time the band referred to their performances as exhibitions.  This lasted until more recently until they switched from calling them exhibitions to demonstrations.  They refer to their shows as demonstrations, because of the message that they look to use through their music, that to speak to society.  Whether they speak on the issues in America like gun control, gentrification, or pushing for criminal justice reform, they are looking to use their music to bring these issues to the forefront.

Soon after he finished talking, the band began to play “We’re Coming In,” which is now one of their most popular songs.  When I watched the video of them perform this in the middle of a parking lot, out of a UHaul truck, I immediately became interested in everything they had to offer.  At this time, they didn’t have any music out other than the few songs played at the pop-up show.  I patiently waited for an album, an EP, a mixtape, or something to see if their music fully commanded my attention.

Fast forward to today, and I have become a huge fan of their music and everything that they stand for.  They are working to produce change in the community, all while releasing heart-pounding music that’ll challenge your thoughts.  On top of that, they’ve already been nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Performance, before they even released their first album.  Although they didn’t win, the simple fact that they were nominated for one this early in the group’s life is amazing.

I remember about over a year ago, I saw Stephen Harrison at ComplexCon, in Long Beach, California.  I stopped him to tell him I was a fan, and that I had been waiting for them to make a trip to his hometown (Atlanta, GA) to perform.  He said that they had been trying to get out there, and to be on the lookout because they would be coming soon.  “I’ll definitely be there,” I said, which brings us to Saturday January 26th.  Continue reading to hear about my personal experience at Fever 333’s first show in Atlanta.

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The Fever 333 at their pop-up performance at Randy’s Donuts.

Venue:

For the Atlanta stop of the tour, Bring me the Horizon, the band Fever 333 was opening for, decided to play at the Coca-Cola Roxy.  This has become one of my new favorite venues.  It is a fairly intimate venue located in the Battery, which also houses SunTrust Park, the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium.  Although its address says Atlanta, it’s technically located northwest of the city of Atlanta in a suburb called Smyrna.  I had been here for many different concerts already, even though it has only been open for just under two years.

The venue has a maximum capacity of 3,600 people.  This is distributed through a general admission pit, and reserved seats located just above the pit on a balcony-style setting.  I feel like the venue was perfect for each group’s performance and it allowed a comfortable space for the fans.    The size of the general admission pit area isn’t too big to lose the intimacy to the stage, but then you also have the option to buy seated tickets as well if you don’t feel like standing.  This new venue is a great place to take in a show. If you get the chance, I would definitely check it out.

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A mural on the outside walls of the Coca-Cola Roxy.

Stage:

Being that The Fever 333 was the first opening act, I didn’t expect too much of an elaborate stage setup; this was indeed the case.  Other than the different instruments used by the band and a couple of speakers, the stage was pretty empty.  However, that took nothing away from their performance.  The simple setup allowed the band free reign of the stage.  The fact that the both Harrison and Butler we’re constantly moving around the stage throughout their performance, was more than enough reason for them to have as little around the stage as possible.  In fact, they even had a crew member tasked to ensure that Butler’s mic cord wouldn’t get tangled, or caught on any of the band’s other equipment.  This proves that if your performance is engaging enough, you don’t need any bells and whistles.


Song Choice:

Fever 333 is still a fairly new band.  Since their creation in July of 2017, they’ve released a 7-song EP (Made an America), a 10-song album (STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS), and another single (Trigger).  They had plenty of songs to choose from, but only about a 30 to 45 minute time slot for their performance.  When you’re an opening act, that generally limits your setlist, but they managed to pull tracks from all over their discography that touched each project previously released.  See the setlist below:

Intro

  1. Burn It
  2. We’re Coming In
  3. Made an America
  4. One of Us
  5. Beatbox/Drum Solo
  6. Trigger
  7. Animal
  8. Hunting Season

I felt that pulling songs from each previously released project was a great decision that left their fans happy in terms of song choice.  In my personal opinion, I enjoyed the selections they made, but there were a couple of songs that I did wish they performed like “Innocent” from their new album, as well as “Walking in my Shoes” and “POV” from their EP.  This only makes me want to go to a show where they are the headliners even more.  Hopefully they’ll come back to Atlanta soon so I can experience a complete Fever 333 demonstration.


Crowd:

After watching numerous demonstrations online in anticipation of seeing a live Fever show, I expected the crowd to be nothing less than completely raucous.  Another factor I previously noticed in their crowds, is that they’re generally fairly diverse.  While I did see different types of people across the venue, the show wasn’t as diverse as I expected.  I think this had to do with the fact that they weren’t the headliners of the show.

One thing that didn’t change, even though they weren’t headlining, was the energy in the crowd.  Soon as the band started playing, I was able to see the positive response from the crowd.  Lucky for me, I attended the show by myself.  This allowed me to maneuver through the sold-out crowd to get a good spot.  Within the first two songs, a huge mosh pit had already opened up.  The opening in the crowd helped clear some space for me to move closer to the stage.  Of course I had to mosh a little, but that was something I already planned to do.

This wasn’t the first time I was in a mosh pit at a show though.  Nowadays, a lot of rappers like to initiate mosh pits at their shows, but there was just something about this mosh that felt different.  Maybe it was the fact that the artists didn’t have to initiate it, or maybe it was the type of music that had me extra hype.  Either way, the crowd didn’t disappoint.


Performance:

I arrived at the Roxy about 20 minutes to 7:00 pm.  This was the time listed for the start of the show, which I found out from calling the venue prior to my arrival.  I’m not used to showing up right at the start time listed for shows, because I generally don’t go to a concert specifically for the opening act; there’s a first time for everything, I guess.  I was worried when I arrived at the venue because there was a massive line outside coming from the entrance.  The line was down the street, and almost around the block.  I thought it would be well past 7:00 by the time I got to the front.  However, the staff at the Roxy moves very efficiently and I managed to get inside a few minutes before 7:00.

Once I got in, I managed to get a good spot right before they started.  Soon after I got settled, the lights dimmed, and a 2-3 minute audio track started playing.  As the track was playing, a person stood at the front of the stage with their hands crossed in front of them, and a black bag over their head.  At the conclusion of the track, the opening to the band’s song “Burn It” began to play.  The person then threw the bag off their head and revealed themselves to the crowd.  It was the lead singer Jason Butler.  He then ran back and grabbed the mic and began belting the opening lines to the song.

“For all the homies doing time, look alive
For every tear your momma cried, look alive
When the 5-0 arrive, look alive
Everybody look alive, look alive, HHHEEEEEYYYYYYYYY”

When Butler released the first scream I felt the energy pulse through my body; finally the moment I’d been waiting for.  His voice pierced the ears of the fans throughout the venues.  I was surprised how much Butler sounded like the studio recordings during his live show.

For those that have never heard about, or seen Fever 333 perform, they’re known for their outrageously energetic performances.  By this time Butler and Harrison had already started jumping and running around the stage, as Improta added his own energy from behind the drums.  The crowd was already responding enthusiastically, and it was only the first song.  I noticed people singing along, and there was even a mini-mosh pit that had formed not too far from me.  This was a great way for them to start off.

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The Fever 333 performing at the Coca-Cola Roxy.

As previously stated, the Roxy has a second level balcony in the venue.  At the end of the first song, Butler began to climb the items on the stage until he reached the second level.  Once he made it on the balcony, he walked towards the back, to about the middle of the venue.  This was all crazy to me.  Not only had he scaled the balcony, but I was also amazed at how long the cable was to his mic.  He had to be a good 20 feet away from the stage but he wasn’t missing a beat.  Then band then began to transition into their second song, “We’re Coming in.”  This was the first song I’d ever heard by them, and coincidentally one of my favorites.   I began to scream the lyrics while holding up the number three towards Butler as he was performing right above me.

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Lead singer, Jason Butler, speaking to the crowd in between songs.

Looking back at my experience throughout the night, this had to be my favorite moment of their show.  After the conclusion of this song, he had a short message to the crowd “make sure you take care of each other, and make sure you use your f***ing minds while you’re out here tonight; and that’s what the crowd did.

As the next song started, the mosh pit near me continued to grow in both size and intensity.  I remember seeing bodies flying around in excitement, but everyone was looking out for each other.  Throughout the night, I remembered seeing people trip and fall down while moshing.  But as soon as somebody would hit the ground, one to two people would be there to bring them back to their feet.  This added to the sense of comradery in the crowd.

Another positive portion of their performance that I enjoyed was a brief period while they were transitioning songs.  Butler came out and talked about how women should have the space to enjoy the show and music; “Women deserve the respect they aren’t receiving yet.”  I love when artists set time out to speak on different things they believe, especially when it comes to standing with those who are often overlooked at times.  This came right around the time they were performing their song, “One of Us.”  This is a song that discusses different minority groups within of the country, and some of the struggles each group faces.

The band then had a short “intermission” between songs that was largely dominated by Improta and Butler.  After their last song, Improta broke out into a drum solo.  He was killing his drum solo for about 30 seconds, before a single floor tom drum was brought out to the front of the stage.  From there Butler joined Improta in a drum duet.  This was cool for me because I’ve always been very fascinated with the drums in music.  As Improta continued, Butler dropped his sticks, picked up his mic, and began beatboxing along with his bandmates solo.  Shortly after, Harrison had joined in as well by adding his skills from his guitar, to the impromptu jam session.  This was a great way to showcase the band’s talent without playing an actual song.

They continued by playing two more songs before they reached their final song, “Hunting Season.”  This is another song from their first EP.  At the conclusion of the show, I had no doubt in my mind that this was one of the most intense, and exciting shows that I’d been to.  The only flaw I personally experienced was the short setlist.  Of course this wasn’t a fault of their own, since they were the first opening act of the night.  This only makes me want to go to their next show in Atlanta.  I hope they come back soon so I can experience a full Fever 333 show.

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A picture of the band performing at a previous show.

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