by Jamie Reysen
After witnessing NERO in action at Camp Bisco, I’ve grown even more impatient for the Aug. 15 release of their debut LP, Welcome Reality. Bass-heavy intensity reverberated throughout the Grooveshark Tent during the drum 'n' bass and dubstep duo’s July 9 performance—easily one of the most memorable sets of the weekend.
I’ll admit that I’ve recently become frustrated with dubstep. Its rise in popularity inspired a wave of musicians who lay a catchy pop song over distorted bass and hope for the best. Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray of NERO are among the few that keep my faith in the genre alive. They’ve established a unique sound, a musical personality that was ever-present throughout their Camp Bisco performance.
NERO spun a set of gold, combining original tracks, like “Guilt” and “Innocence,” with high voltage remixes of tracks that spanned multiple genres and generations.
Stephens and Ray manipulated the distinct ‘80s sound of The Jets’ “Crush on You” with high frequency distortion, and they even managed to put a new spin on a remix of Skrillex’s “Cinema” edit (a remix in and of itself). NERO worked Flux Pavilion’s “I Can’t Stop” into the set—unsurprisingly, a huge crowd pleaser—and they paid homage to Rusko through a remix of “Hold On,” a sad reminder of his last minute Camp cancellation.
The best surprise came when NERO debuted a remix of Calvin Harris’s “Feel So Close.” Their take, which recently became available for download, gives Harris’s latest single an even newer feel. I can’t think of a better place to introduce a song like this than at Camp, where hundreds of strangers in a dance tent can become a bizarre extended family, unified by their appreciation for a DJ duo.
If you have the chance to see NERO, don’t let it pass you by. They will be performing at Hard Summer in Los Angeles and at Identity Fest in select cities. And if you’re a true fan, don’t swipe a pirated version of their forthcoming album. Support your favorite artists, and dole out a couple of bucks for the release in a few weeks.
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