Words & Photos by Amber James
I honestly don’t need to write a review about how amazing The Fever 333 is live, their past credentials should speak for themselves but here’s a short essay about it anyways. Comprised of the almighty Jason Butler from letlive, Stevis from The Chariot and Aric Improta of Night Verses, this is a super group of insanity to best all super groups. For anyone who has had the privilege of experiencing either Butler’s or Stevis’ previous bands then you would know that The Chariot and letlive need no description on what was expected at their live shows. So, for a set by The Fever, or a demonstration as they call it, multiply those experiences by ten.
The set started with a white kabuki cloth drawn across the stage with their powerful intro that set the stage for the type of demonstration that would be occurring. Silent footage such as that of protesters facing off against police, Hitler preparing to command and salute his followers and what seemed to be a disintegrating or burning American flag while audio accompanies it. Opening with the famous Charlie Chaplin speech from “The Great Dictator” then transitioning to a speech from a Ku Klux Klan meeting before the intro made one of the most shocking but not surprising comparisons as audio from Trump’s speech about the Muslim ban in the United States lined up with the footage of Hitler and a Nazi banner emblazoned with the swastika. The intro ended with audio describing what a fever does to one’s body and what the representation of 333 means before ending again with Chaplin’s speech from “The Great Dictator”. Interjected in between scenes were the phrases “kNOw justice” and “kNOw peace” with the band’s logo.
As the intro ends, the kabuki cloth drops away to show Butler standing front and center in a black jump suit with a black hood over his head, very similar to the black hoods seen in the photos of the tortured Abu Gharib prisoners as well as torture measures used at Guantanamo Bay. That type of torture is also used in order to prevent prisoners from seeing and disorient them, which also draws comparison from The Fever’s intro as it shows the state our country is spiraling down into with the majority doing nothing because they’re unable to see or are too deluded to notice what is truly happening. After a few seconds, Butler rips off his hood and, just like you’d rip off a Band-Aid, the band launches into their opening song, “Burn It”.
“Burn It” was one of the songs that was not on their debut EP entitled Made an America as well as one of the songs that they performed during their appearance on Last Call with Carson Daly, which seems to be their go to song for opening their set with. In case, it hasn’t been figured out yet, a demonstration by The Fever 333 isn’t exactly family friendly. For those who still weren’t sure, that point was driven home by their next song, “We’re Coming In”, a song that could be described as the Samuel L Jackson of their songs of the night. Meanwhile, almost immediately Butler had climbed off the stage and launched himself hanging over the barricade before promptly climbing the scaffolding for the light and PA towers. Because, is it really a show with Jason Butler if he’s not climbing or flinging himself off of something?
Flinging himself back to the stage from halfway up the scaffolding, the trio launched into what is probably one of the songs that would define what the band is about and what they stand for. After all, it shares a title with their debut EP, Made An America. Butler being who he is, he began to climb the scaffolding again as Stevis scaled the scaffolding on his side to the upper level, playing from on top of the tables. However, security and the sound guys quickly put an end to this idea saying that if Butler didn’t get down from on top of the scaffolding then they would put an end to the whole show. Apparently, this was their first experience with the Butler/Stevis duo and what the performers are capable of (Even though this was a relatively calm demonstration for both of them).
It wasn’t long before Butler was in the crowd again, this time he proceeded completely into the crowd with everyone grouping around and circling around him as Improta and Stevis manned the stage for the crowd. As the demonstration continued on, it was hard to know where to look next because the trio gave such commanding individual performances.
Proving that it was impossible to know what to expect next from their performance, Butler then amazed the crowd with a beatboxing session because, of course, what can’t he do when it comes to live performances? Their demonstration was finished out with another two tracks off of their debut EP, “Walking In My Shoes” and “Hunting Season”. At some point during this melee Butler lost both of his shoes, one on the stage and the other went god knows where. (However, it was sighted later being returned after it was located by their photo/video person). Pushing the boundaries, considering security had said that Butler wasn’t allowed to climb the scaffolding but never told Stevis he couldn’t….I think you get where I’m going with this. Stevis scaled the scaffolding, standing atop it to finish out “Hunting Season” complete with his signature guitar swings and throws.
All in all, this is not only a band that you need to see live because of their live show but their message as well. Especially with the current state of our society and country. There’s a fever coming. You better catch it before it’s too late.