Review: Nero brings Halloween treats to the Amphitheatre in Tampa
As a kid, Halloween was a day to dress up in cute costumes and go door-to-door, proclaiming “trick or treat,” and hoping for a bag full of candy that would produce weeks of sugar coma.
This Halloween brought a new kind of treat, when Nero took the stage at the Amphitheatre in Ybor. Hundreds of EDM fans came out in their best costumes — bananas, penguins, and a very convincing Michael Jackson — to dance off their candy calories and be a part of one of the greatest Halloween parties Tampa has ever seen (Guavaween has nothing on this!).
I have never seen so many people lined up outside of the Amp — people of all ages flooded Ybor’s Seventh Avenue, anxiously awaiting the sights and sounds of UK’s chart-topping DJs. Even halfway through Nero’s set, people were still lined up outside, hoping that people would leave so they could get in and have a taste of the magic.
I arrived as Luca Gulotta, half of the London dubstep duo KillSonik, took the stage. Only a big pumpkin with crazy eyes and the usual massive array of TV screens, embellished with the artist’s logo, decorated the simple stage. These guys like to get our attention with their music — and that they did. KillSonik is signed to MTA Records, and their first big hit was, ironically, a remix of Nero’s Crush on You, which had a world exclusive first play on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show and over 1 million views on YouTube in the first week alone.
One of my favorite songs of the night was their remix of Chase and Status’ Let You Go (featuring Mali). It has a sort of creepy lyric to it: “There’s nowhere to run, no place you can go, nowhere you can hide, where you won’t be found,” and mashed perfectly for a Halloween show. As did his original remix, Bloodlust.
Gi;ptta also dished out bangers like We’ll Be Coming Back by Calvin Harris, Make It Burn Dem by Skrillex and Flashing Lights by Chase and Status (owners of MTA Records). The booming bass, mixed with the strobe lights, nearly gave me a seizure — and I loved it! He ended his set with a new song, a remix of Linkin Park’s Living Things.
The lights dimmed. The fog machine spit out its cold, smoky air. Nero’s original mix, Guilt, slowly crescendoed through the speakers as half of the London duo, Daniel Stephens, stepped behind his booth. All at once it felt like a hundred extra people crammed into the room.
He quickly switched gears and dived head first into a remix of Forever by Drake (featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem). He kept his set moving, keeping the audience on their toes. Up next was a popular original tune, Crush On You. His set was so fast paced and full of samples. He layered vocals over Mord Fustang tracks, reworked Knife Party songs, and played bits and laced pieces of Devil’s Den by Skrillex in between. It actually felt like he was doing something up there behind that booth.
Suddenly, the insanity stopped, and an ominous deep bass note rung out across the dance floor. He layered an organ sound into the mix, but wasn’t giving away his surprise too easily. After several minutes, a faint song started to spill through the speakers, and once the crowd recognized it, the whole place erupted. Even people who have never heard of Nero have probably heard the song Promises. It was used in an HP commercial and was also remixed by Skrillex, which catapulted the song’s popularity in the States. It is probably one of the biggest EDM songs of the year. The music video on YouTube has more than 18 million views! This was by far the peak of the show.
A twist to this tale comes from behind the scenes. Our Halloween treat was almost a trick thanks to Hurricane Sandy. Stephens was in New York yesterday evening, and almost didn’t make it to Tampa. But of course, the amazing staff of the Amphitheatre made it happen, and got him here safely, just in time. I’m not really sure why only one guy showed up from each duo, but who cares? They rocked it alone. Besides, each electronic show is a different experience from another, even if you are seeing the same artist in the same year. You never know what to expect; you just have to go with the flow.
— Kate Cillian, tbt*