Nero’s tracks amazing, but needs whole band on tour

Nero, comprising Joe Ray and Daniel Stephens, has been charging the dance scene since their first single “Innocence” in 2010.

Nothing brightens up winter like a good night out with some heavy bass. With heads ringing and ears blown, the crowd checking out dub step drum ‘n’ bass duo Nero may have felt a little underwhelmed by the performance—but the tracks are still insanely good.

Nero, comprising Joe Ray and Daniel Stephens, has been charging the dance scene since their first single “Innocence” in 2010. While the duo has been mixing for about seven years now, the past two years have been especially productive for them. Mixing tracks by everyone from La Roux to N.E.R.D to Beyonce, the UK boys have shown they know exactly what modern clubbers want.

Nero started out in mainstream trance and dance sound, and has graduated to the trendy world of drum ‘n’ bass and dub step. While some of their tracks lean to one genre or another, it’s really their combination that sets them apart. One excellent example is the track “Promises,” which plays between drum ‘n’ bass, then switches into heavy undulating bass.

Nero’s success may also lie in the diva talent of Alana Watson. She’s not an official member of the band, but delivers vocals for the majority of Nero’s songs and performs live with them.

The band recently did a tour of the United States and Canada to celebrate the album Welcome Reality, which was released in August of 2011. While some shows had rave reviews, the performance at Club 9one9 was a bit lacklustre for the price of the ticket—$45. Understandably it’s hard for someone spinning on the decks, mixing tracks, and drinking beer to put up much of a performance. A DJ’s music has to speak for itself. But when you pay well above the average ticket price for a well above average dance music producer you expect a little extra. Perhaps a larger venue with a better layout and sound system would have provided this.

Regardless of this one experience, Nero’s laying down some of the best dub step tracks right now, and this is something they deserve full adulation for. The “Feel So Close” Calvin Harris remix, and especially “Promises” featuring Alana tracks are must-listens for any dub step fans.

Dub step is a trendy genre right now, which is arguably both a good and bad thing. As it becomes more commercialized, ticket prices will increase and shows will get bigger. On the upside, the popularity of the genre will support the number of fiercely amazing producers managing to constantly find new and exciting ways to twist and wobble sounds. Nero will be great if they consider only touring with the full band, including Alana, and if they keep pouring out tracks like the ones out now they’ll be around for a long time.

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