The outliers of rock and hip hop offered a message of unity during a pair of sets that brought the party to Iowa.
Musically, the conviction at the core of Fever 333 remains a major part of why the band has quickly catapulted to the heights of their respective category – or lack there of.
A potent meld of conviction and consciousness, the soundtrack of the people by the people is helmed by the ever-articulate, wholly-sincere disposition of the band’s voice of reason in Jason Aalon Butler. In addition to the kind of stylistic shine he asserts during his songs – complete with cathartic, incendiary performances – a big part of Butler’s lasting connection is because of what happens in between songs.
In between moving renditions of fundamental Fever like “Bite Back” and “One of Us,” Butler took a pause to address the field of people and speak candidly about the sense of community that seemed a interesting subtext of the festival’s identity. In speaking to the multicultural fabric of not only the crowd but of America as progressive country, Butler express his gratitude for the chance to speak so freely to such a receptive audience.
“Thank you all for allowing us to have this kind of cultural exchange here in Iowa,” Butler shared. Using the talking point as a fitting segue, the band tore into a memorable version of “Made An America” nurtured the unique sense of unity that permeated the festival field.
Further emphasizing the notion of community, Butler prefaced the power dynamic that inspired the statement of one of the band’s most powerful songs, “Trigger”. Using guns as a metaphor for big government control and division, Butler clarified that the song speaks to the power that is and always should be maintained by the people. Equally an effective communicator as well as an unparalleled performer, Butler anchored a Fever 333 set that further convinced their faithful while no doubt making new converts.
In what was arguably the most celebratory segment of the afternoon, KC-native and counter culture champion Tech N9ne took to the Knotfest stage for a set that felt like a homecoming of his own. Armed with his signature rapid fire verbal delivery and the kind of stage prowess that makes him impossible to ignore, the trailblazer of alternative hip hop reasserted why he remains such a versatile presence in a lane all his own.
Tech essentials like “Riotmaker” and “Am I A Psycho?” boomed with the kind of low end that caused a collective wave that rolled from the front of the stage to the far corners of the field. The visual was a spectacle that was sheer celebration and a welcomed change of pace from the aggro-heavy lean of the bill. While flexing his verbal muscle and fluid wordplay, Tech N9ne established his musical prowess and brought the party to Iowa in a way that added a something drastically different to the day.