Fever 333

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author AP date 22/11/19 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

There is no end in sight on my jampacked concert schedule this month, and I have hardly had time to collect myself after the previous night’s routing before I need to head out again, this time toward Pumpehuset, where Fever 333 are preparing to play their first headlining show in Denmark ever. It was sold out weeks in advance, which suggests that plenty of people were convinced by the band’s efforts at this year’s edition of Copenhell, and given that it is taking place on a Friday evening, people seem to be in festive spirits, ready to discharge some of that frustration pent up during a week of toiling at work. I arrive in good time, but I still find it difficult to slalom my way to a good vantage point just in front of the sound desk; a prime position for observing the moshing that is certain to ensue once the lights are dimmed…

All photos courtesy of Lykke Nielsen


Fever 333

“We didn’t think anyone in this region cared about us. But then we played at Copenhell and the response was incredible!”, enthuses vocalist Jason Aalon Butler as beholds the crowd his band Fever 333 has once again amassed. A large and sweaty moshpit has just ground to a halt, and Butler is making one of several incisive speeches tonight in the wake of “Out of Control” (from the band’s début album “Strength in Numb333rs”) — this one railing against misogyny, which seems to go down well with the attendees here. Not only is his showmanship a sight to behold, he also masters the art of creating a positive and inclusive atmosphere, one which feeds into a level of energy seldom witnessed from Danish audiences. As if the jumping, moshing and cries of euphoria that have accompanied every song thus far were not enough, after drummer Aric Improta has laid down an impromptu solo after the second chorus in “One of Us”, the entire front half of the room splits in two, crouches, and then explodes in a wall of death. Yes, despite the experimental nature of Fever 333’s take on post-hardcore, there can be no doubt about the fact that people in Denmark have accepted this Los Angeles-based trio with open hearts.

Part of the buzz surrounding Fever 333 of course stems from their animalistic live performances, such as the one we get to experience this evening. There is not a moment of stillness in neither Butler’s nor former Chariot-guitarist Stephen Harrison’s antics, which eventually culminate in the former pulling a small staircase onto the stage and then jumping over the head of his colleague during a guitar solo. Improta often joins in on the action as well, standing up on his bass drum as he issues rallying calls and gives his cymbals a proper beating, such as happens during the older song “Trigger” (which was released as a single in 2018). Butler and Harrison are generally all over the place during much of the set, and there are not many instances when the latter’s axe is not swung or thrown around without concern for its well-being. But there nonetheless a couple of breathing breaks over the course of the 14 tracks Fever 333 airs tonight, such as the R&B-ish “Inglewood” and later on the balladic “Am I Here?”, which Butler renders into a solo piano version from the sound desk in the centre of the room. The moshing naturally ceases for these tracks, and instead, lighters and flashlights go up to create a starry backdrop to Butler’s emotive singing.

Indeed, by combining the mass appeal of R&B and pop music, with the energy of hardcore punk and the attitude of hip-hop, Fever 333 are unquestionably made an entertaining and vital live act. But exactly like on record, it is sometimes difficult to find lasting value in the music. The likes of the latest single “Animal” and “Burn It”, which closes the ordinary set, are notable exceptions, as is the anthemic “Innocent” in the encore, but when push comes to shove, it is not the trio’s songs that leave the greatest impression tonight — it is their blinding showmanship and the response it garners from the audience. “A lot of people used to be afraid to bring us to venues, afraid we’d destroy everything. But you, Copenhagen, you don’t fear shit!”, yells Butler before the proceedings wind to a conclusion via “Hunting Season”, and as if to underline his point, Improta finishes the track off by descending from his drum riser and executing a precarious backflip between his colleagues. It is the ending this concert deserves, and one which surely leaves the 600-or-so people here eagerly anticipating the next time Fever 333 rolls into town.

8

Setlist:

  • 01. Made in America
  • 02. Only One
  • 03. Out of Control
  • 04. One of Us
  • 05. Brain Stew (Green Day cover) / California Love (2pac cover) / Old Town Road (Lil Nas X cover)
  • 06. Inglewood
  • 07. Walking in My Shoes
  • 08. Animal
  • 09. Trigger
  • 10. Am I Here?
  • 11. Burn It

— Encore —

  • 12. We’re Coming in
  • 13. The Innocent
  • 14. Hunting Season

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