3OH!3 Straight outta Boulda, Bitches!

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:: 3OH!3 ::
:: Fox Theatre ::
:: August 23 (sold out) and 24 ::

By Tiffany Childs

“You’s a punk-ass bitch, if you don’t know about Boulda.”
That, right there, could almost be the end, as well as the beginning of this story. It’s a line from 3OH!3’s break-out song “Holler ‘Til You Pass Out” — a song that catapulted them to YouTube fame with more than a quarter-million views of their crunk, gangsta and simultaneously hilarious video.
But now, the SOBO (South Boulder, to those in the know) duo could add that “You’s a punk-ass bitch if you don’t know about 3OH!3,” and they’d be right.
The nerd-hop duo of Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte are making the Boulder area code famous worldwide, blazing on the scene with the same fury and irreverent charm that made the world take notice of the Beastie Boys in the 1980s. And while hundreds of acts similar (in terms of white boy hip-hop) have come and gone, 3OH!3 has something that so very many of them drastically lacked — talent, as well as absolutely infectious, undeniable energy.
With a recent signing to Photo Finish Records and epic performances on Warped Tour, 3OH!3 is breaking out of Boulder in a very big way. Recently, The Marquee had the chance to chat with Motte about the crazy pace at which 3OH!3 is moving.
Following an impressive turnout for their performance at last year’s Denver Warped Tour, 3OH!3 was invited to do the complete tour this year. While this partnership may seem a little strange — Warped Tour is consistently known for its punk rock acts — Motte doesn’t find it weird at all. “For one reason or another, our music tends to be accessible to people from a lot of different musical backgrounds. Hopefully it comes from our attitude. We don’t give a (damn) where we’re going to appeal,” Motte said.
And 3OH!3 certainly has a lot of appeal, although it’s hard, at first, to place your finger on exactly what it is. Playing a hard-edge version of hip-hop with just a little crunk thrown in at times, and an overabundance of nerdiness, to the degree that it’s cool, 3OH!3 has found itself taking on huge crowds and all of them throwing up the infamous hand sign – pointer fingers and thumbs touching to make an “Oh” and the remaining fingers comprising both “3s”. A hand sign, by the way, that Motte refused to claim as the group’s own invention.
While 3OH!3’s appeal may be hard to understand, it’s definitely not hard to see. Last month’s Warped Tour brought the band home to Denver and the crowd showed in extreme force to support their local homeboys. In fact, the crowd showed up in such big numbers for 3OH!3, that it seemed as if they were giving their shirts away. Invesco Field’s parking lot (where the Warped Tour was held) was awash with kids in the band’s gear. By the end of the day, they had sold out of ALL of their merch, setting a record for the tour in a single day, and pulling off a feat that most headlining acts would kill to be able to achieve.
“It was crazy,” Motte said of the experience. “We had to leave and get more shirts printed that night so we could handle the situation the next day when more fans wanted to buy our stuff.”
That experience has been replicated all along the tour, too. “It’s been insane everywhere we go,” Motte said. “There are thousands and thousands of kids at every show.” Considering this is the duo’s first national tour, that’s nothing to scoff at.
Part of the reason for such a warm welcome around the States could be the glowing praise that 3OH!3’s recently released album, Want, has garnered. Motte and Foreman, as always, tag-team the vocals and use an eclectic assortment of musical influences on the record. “We combine hip-hop, rock, thug rap, country, classical, jazz, blues and all different kinds of music and try to make a little amalgam of all of them,” Motte explained. “Mostly, it’s just important that we have fun when we do it.”
The album is indeed fun — it’s been described as “more party than the Bolshevik revolution” by one critic. Want, recorded by the illustrious Matt Squire (Boys Like Girls, Panic At The Disco) and featuring booty bass master Benny Blanco, delivers all the hip-hop hardness 3OH!3 fans have come to expect. But, the 3OH!3 sound has become more developed, more mature and bigger in lots of ways on their second release. And as fun as the album is, a live show always tops it. With their spastic dance moves and sweet costumes (including the Hamburglar and Winnie the Pooh), 3OH!3 knows how to deep throat a crowd and keep them on the anticipatory edge of an orgasm throughout their entire show.
But, the band has a serious side, too. There are what seems like an excessive amount of rumors circulating around Motte and Foreman, who originally met each other in physics class at CU Boulder. The rumors range from Motte going to medical school to Foreman going to jail, to both of them moving to New York. And some of these rumors are tinged with the truth.
Motte was, in fact, accepted to medical school at the University of Colorado a few months ago. But, at least to the press, he’s been incredibly elusive about his plans. “I’ve been walking the line between different lifestyles for a while now,” he said when we initially interviewed him. “If I choose to go to medical school I can manage it.” Last month, Motte told Westword “Maybe I could be the first rapper-slash-doctor. Let’s put this down in ink: Dr. Dre is not a real doctor!” [Editor’s note: Just as The Marquee was going to press, Motte broke his silence on the issue and alerted us that he has, in fact, deferred his enrollment in medical school until August 2009.]
That edgy humor has, since their inception, been a huge part of the initial draw of 3OH!3, but with talent to back it up, the pair could end up ducking the punch of a humorous passing fad.
They’ve already shown enough smarts to capitalize on being non-Boulder in Boulder, savvy enough to grab a spot on a huge tour that doesn’t usually cater to their style, and slick enough with the books to get that med school nod. They may sing about not going to their girl’s party, but it looks like they’re going to have one hell of a social schedule nonetheless, and one hell of a ride along the way … BIOTCH! (say what?!)

:: 3OH!3 ::
:: Fox Theatre ::
:: August 23 (sold out) and 24 ::

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