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nero review Jan 12 & 13, 2007

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Live @ Maverick's

Ottawa, ON

January 12-13, 2007

by: Dave "Jaimoe" Ball



News filtered out late last year that nero , one of Canada's top jambands, was reforming for a 'two-off' in Ottawa early in 2007. Their last gig, on New Year's Eve of 2004, marked the beginning of what would be a two year absence of the eclectic instrumental rock trio, leaving for many fans a gaping hole in the struggling Canadian jam scene. Defunct bands are constantly reforming for various good causes and/or even dubious reasons, but these two rare gigs felt like it was done for these fans.

The well-oiled crowd packing Mavericks was comprised mainly of longtime nero loyalists and it was appropriate that the band opened with one of their best-loved songs, "401 Theme", since many took that route to get to the show. No one cared that the stage lights were annoying or that the sound was slightly muddy in some parts of the venue. The love-in was in full swing well before the band hit the stage. nero threw caution to the wind making the night feel no different than catching them in their prime. Friday offered a sprinkling of all of all nero's musical styles, from techno trance rockers “Downside Up/Basheeba” to the psychedelic funk-ups “Tonto's Underwater Paradise" and “Chocolate Monkey Machine” to the hard-hitting progressive rock of “Medicated”. The loose cover of “Dead Flowers” broke-up some of Friday's intensity and flow, but bassist Chris Buote's lead vocals prompted a rare sing-along that was a lot of fun.

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Guitarist Dave Lauzon's gritty lead flourishes and spacey melodies on the near 10-minute encore “Breakline” almost knocked “Medicated” off of its perch as the weekend's best delivered song. It was god-near 2:30 in the morning when the crowd finally poured out on the street. Even for a two hour-plus concert, the night went by too quickly.

It's arguable which night was better, but Saturday was more intriguing. The meandering and occasionally intense “Effervescence” kicked off the night leading into hard-hitting “Miko Mard” that stretched past 19 minutes. The terrific covers of Pink Floyd's “Hey You” and “Run Like Hell” complete with surprising vocal performances by both McConnery and Buote giving honest facsimiles of Gilmore and Waters, wove in-and-out seamlessly with nero classic “Centranome”. Guitarist Dave Lauzon was a force, matched and constantly pushed and prodded by bassist Chris Buote and the steady counterpunch drive of drummer Jay McConnery. The band walked off the stage after delivering a rocking groove-laden "Zedonk", the best song from their last album from 2004 and the appropriately chosen encore and fan-favourite “Lemondust”. The weekend took me back to the last time nero knocked me out back in 2003, during their opening stint for moe. .

nero will likely never be the same as they once were - both touring and recording frequently. I can only hope they'll follow in the footsteps of other innovative and important bands that reform to play the odd gigs only to disappear for long stretches akin to CBGB legends Television . And if my ears didn't deceive me on Saturday night through the hoots and screams, Lauzon thanked the fans over and over and said “Let's do this again sometime”. I'll hold him to that.

Friday: *** 1/2 (out of 5);

Saturday: **** (out of 5)


nero @ Mavericks Jan 12, 2007

nero @ Mavericks Jan 13, 2007



Check out the very huge 'original announcement' thread.

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