As Alana Watson -- who handles the vocals on Nero's drum-and-bass tracks -- emerged from the back of the massive boombox, joining her two producer counterparts, it was clear that the off-key notes being played by Daniel Stephens were about to drop into something big. Just as the peak of the synth was about to drop, Watson came onto the track with the opening lyrics to "Me and You," appropriately closing last night's show at the Ogden by asking, "Are you ready? Do you know? I feel it, too." Not only was the crowd ready, but it was clear everyone else felt it, too.
Nero opened its set with "Guilt," with Watson hiding for the vocal portion, saving her entrance for later. Following that track, Nero slowly creeped into the eery opening score from A Clockwork Orange, the part when Alex and his droogs are sitting in the Korova milk bar contemplating their next move, which undoubtedly contains a little bit of the ol' ultra-violence.
It was a great way to set the tone for such a heavy show. After that epic opening segment, Nero rolled through every one of its hits, one after another, with live keys and synths and Watson eventually joining the group on stage to sing her parts live. The distortions from her microphone were somewhat noticeable -- could be Auto-Tune or something like it -- but either way, she belted out notes and mesmerized everyone with her voice.
The set ran like a well-oiled machine. Sitting atop the massive boombox, Daniel Stephens and Joseph Ray remained emotionless, almost completely dismissive of their tracks, as they gently blasted everyone with drums, bass and sub-bass that made it feel like there was a shoddy air conditioner somewhere.
Earlier in the night, Dillon Francis got things started. His "IDGAFOS" emblazoned across a backlit board was rather dwarfed in comparison to Nero's set. Nonetheless, Francis is a great moombahton producer, a point punctuated by the fact that he had every set of butt cheeks bouncing along to his beats. From the sample catalogue, Francis pulled out Knife Party's "Destroy Them With Lasers" and even Dada Life's "Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker," both of which were received with enthusiasm.
Francis's moombahton style comes at a great time, on the heels of the dubstep/brostep craze. It's a great opening option, keeping the tempos in the same region and generally not raising or lowering it. He kept the crowd moving, but not wearing themselves out, and he certainly didn't bore anyone.
Personal Bias: Last time I saw Nero was when they opened for Skrillex on Halloween. You could say I lost my shit that night.
Random Detail: Apparently, you couldn't take pictures from upstairs.
By The Way: If the show is sold out, I will never acknowledge "I'm saving this spot for my friends." Move your feet, lose your chance to stand there again.
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