Hip-hop punk band Fever 333 performs at F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 27
From a press release:
After performing in Stroudsburg last year with The Used, it was announced today that Fever 333, a rap rock band from California signed to Roadrunner Records, will take their fall “d333monstrations” tour to the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Friday, Sept. 27 at 8:30 p.m. as part of the venue’s Live from the Chandelier Lobby Concert Series.
Tickets, which are $23.33 in advance and $25 the day of the show, plus fees, go on sale this Friday, Aug. 2 at 10 a.m. and will be available at the Sundance Vacations Box Office at the Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre), online at kirbycenter.org, and by phone at 570-826-1100.
Rhymes and riffs incite more change than bullets and bombs ever could. Not long after the Vietnam War, Bad Brains rallied a Rastafarian punk spirit against the international blight of apartheid and the coked-out corporate greed synonymous with ’80s America. Taking aim at endemic and institutional racism, Public Enemy spoke up against the “Fear of a Black Planet” only four months before Operation Desert Shield descended on the Middle East. Bringing blue brutality to the forefront of the zeitgeist, N.W.A. chanted “Fuck Tha Police,” and Body Count went primal on the whole program via “Cop Killer.” Rising from the same streets that gave the world Dr. Dre and eventually Kendrick Lamar, Fishbone tackled poverty and urged for social justice. The list of sonic rebels goes on and on.
In 2019, the United States of America feels ripe for another musical uprising. Divided more than ever in its 243-year history over systemic issues of immigration, race, class warfare, inequality, and misogyny, the time for change is now. The band is Fever 333.
Comprised of vocalist Jason Aalon Butler (ex-Letlive), drummer Aric Improta (Night Verses), and guitarist Stephen Harrison (ex-The Chariot), the Los Angeles trio lock and load gnashing guitars, guttural beats, and brazenly bold bars and then pull the trigger on a hard-hitting hybrid of hip-hop, punk, and activism.
“The movement is much greater than the music,” Butler exclaimed. “The art is only a contingent piece. We want to make sure we’re just as involved in the activism and actual activation. By no means do we expect other artists to take on this task. Most of the people who made big improvements were either assassinated or just called crazy. We make it ostensibly clear that everything we do is in an active effort for change. It’s about bringing back that socio-political mindfulness. We’re trying to write the soundtrack to the revolution that we know is about to happen.”
In the midst of America’s 2017 socio-political upheaval, the singer – a self-described “bi-racial double agent who’s got a black father and a white mother” – could feel the weight “of the divisions we’ve created because of race.” After meeting Travis Barker of Blink-182 by chance, he spent Super Bowl Sunday with the iconic drummer and mutual friend producer John Feldman. That day, this unholy triumvirate’s conversation inspired the songs that would eventually comprise The Fever 333’s 2018 debut, “Made an America.”
“We started talking about black punk rock,” he recalled. “Punk rock and hip-hop are one-in-the-same. They’re always flying the flag of channeling art from discord. Travis and John supported my desire to create something a little dangerous that was subservice: musically and in ethos. We opened the floodgates together.”
Around this time, the frontman made a conscious decision to disband Letlive, which he founded 15 years before. Equally inspired by the teachings of Angela Davis and the words of “hood prophets” in his native “Section 8 Inglewood,” Butler’s future agenda became etched in stone.
“I appreciate my accomplishments in Letlive,” he says. “I wanted to move forward towards a very clear-cut and specific vision. Personally, artistically, mentally, emotionally, and politically, I’m very radical, left-leaning, and unapologetic in what I believe. That’s the only way to accomplish anything, whether contemporary or long-term. Letlive had done what it was supposed to. It was time for a new era.”
Feverishly writing, each session yielded more tunes. The Fever 333 made their live debut – quite appropriately – on July 4, 2017. They hijacked the parking lot of infamous L.A. staple Randy’s Donuts (notably, it’s a stone’s throw from South Central where the vocalist grew up). This “Political Pool Party” preceded the storm to come.
Every element made a statement – even the lineup.
“We’ve got a black guitar player, mixed race singer, and white drummer,” he went on. “There’s a purpose.”
On the “Made an America” EP, that purpose can be felt loud and clear. Fittingly, their sonic declaration of independence, “We’re Coming In,” culminates on the sharp scream, “We’re coming in, motherfucker!”
“It’s about pulling the fuck up at The White House and having a discourse with our current administration and cabinet about how what they’re doing affects us,” he sighed. “The middle class will soon be eradicated. We’re showing face in hopes to create an empathetic capsule.”
“Hunting Season” stands among a long lineage of anthems for “people of color versus the authority and that vicious cycle.” “Made an America” ignites a clarion call of buzzsaw riffing, a volley of vicious verses, and another powder keg chant.
“This country’s wealth and success were built on the backs of slaves,” he said. “We’re all immigrants. It’s about the fucking facts. The people in power benefit from that.”
“Walking in My Shoes” doesn’t just title another banger; it serves as the banner for The Fever 333’s activism. The Walking in My Shoes Foundation hosts speakers, launches art installations, promotes storytellers, and benefits partner charities such as Downtown Los Angeles-based Inner City Arts, the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, and more.
In the end, the revolution truly starts with The Fever 333.
“‘The Fever’ involves self-possessed autonomous human beings spreading an idea of understanding and empathy from one mind to another,” he left off. “It’s infectious. Three is the magic number. The strongest shape in geometry is the triangle with its three points. ‘C’ is the third letter in the alphabet. The ‘Three C’s’ are ‘Community, Charity, and Change.’ The people who want to invest in this are as fucking important as we are. By invest, I don’t mean sales or awards; I mean success towards making this revolution a reality. Our generation has so much power. We have these systems in place that are completely fucked, but we’re up next. If we can rally together and cultivate this strength and solidarity, I believe we can be the change.”
The band received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Rock Performance for “Made an America,” and on Jan. 18, 2019, Fever 333 released their debut studio album, “Strength in Numb333rs,” continuing this revolutionary message.
See NEPA Scene’s photos of Fever 333 performing with The Used and Keep Flying at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg last year here.