LIVE REPORTWHITE STAGE7/29 SUN
THE FEVER 333
Sunday Metal Service
Clothing was very much a concern at The Fever 333’s opening set at the White Stage on Sunday morning. With the festival site still being buffeted by the dregs of a typhoon from the night before, the band gave up against the rain and ended up stripping down to their underwear for the set, making themselves much more comfortably wet, much like the North Face-clad hoards in the pit below who were either sweating into their waterproofs or being let down on the other side beneath the rain.
The band’s opening began with vocalist Jason Aalon Butler brought on stage in a black boilersuit and black hood, left to stand in front of a white sheet while a reel of audio snippets spanning the band’s gamut of concerns. In such politically fraught days as these, I was reminded of something Marilyn Manson said in the 1990s about a Republican government being a catalyst for good art, and Fever 333s’s political and social concerns certainly are born of unsettled times.
After ripping off his hood to kickstart the set, Jason tore around the stage as “Burn It”’s hip-hop rock groove jolted the waiting crowd awake. “We’re Coming In” followed – a beefy track with a guitar-riff that nods not a little to rap-metallers Rage Against The Machine, all mixed up with smatterings of letlive.’s own brand of post-hardcore and catchy chorus lines. “Made in America” and “Animal” are both massive tunes with the a soaring chorus in the former and a nice chunky nu-metal fuzz in the latter. It was hard-hitting and yet highly-accessible stuff that got the crowd suitably riled up.
It’s always good to get some metal on a Sunday morning at Fuji Rock and The Fever 333’s energy and evident gratitude went over well with a crowd who are probably feeling a little worse for wear after a long night in howling winds. Though the set began in a near torrential downpour, by the end the sun had emerged and so Jason and guitarist Stevis Harrison took this opportunity to hop down and see the audience before climbing up on to a nearby truck, finishing “Walking In My Shoes” by rocking out in their undies in the sunshine.
One always wonders how much of a band’s message gets through to the crowds at Fuji Rock given the general lack of political engagement in the population at large and the distance in the issues dealt with in The Fever 333’s songs. It can be tempting to be pessimistic, but something about the set was remarkably uplifting. Ultimately, Jason summed up much of what Fuji Rock can be about:
“We come to a country where we don’t speak the language, but we can communicate through music. If that ain’t magic, I don’t know what is.”
The magic returns in March 2019.