This month the Fillmore’s Honeymoon series was well received by Miami, unlike some of the past months when the event may gather a crowd of a couple hundred or even sparser, this night not a spare ticket was to be found, and for good reason. With a line down the sidewalk (nothing rivaling Skrillex’s, but still impressive) of little girls huddling together for warmth that their tutus and furry boots weren’t providing and men in tank tops bragging about how close they were to Skrillex , anticipation was on a residual high as you recognized faces from previous shows. Walking into the theater that was already smeared with flashed of neon clothes, or lack thereof, we were greeted by The Overthrow’s duo Caligula. Even the foremost opening act was a standalone performance. Having seen these gentlemen a couple times before its endearing to see their progress. These guys have upped their crowd interaction, and the responses they received were well deserved. With some dirty worded rap that would make your mother cry atop these bass riffs that had Caligula themselves jumping around they’re definitely growing on me. Not to mention they’re with The Overthrow. Not familiar? Let’s familiarize. The only way I can give you a visual of this cult-like organization is to have you reminisce. Remember your best friend’s older brother that would walk out of the house as you were walking in, greeting you just long enough to establish that he was probably the coolest person on earth? Well he grew up and founded The Overthrow. Like a factory of fine men with tank tops revealing just the right amount chest hair along with a collection of some badass ladies they’re a force in Miami’s music scene. If they’re doing it, it’s probably a good thing to do.
Up next is Miami-grown Afrobeta with Tony in a sweatsuit inspired by their ‘Play House’ music video and Cuci presenting herself with an exclamation point of some zebra print leggings and wielding an Afrobeta flag over the audience. Cuci was channeling her inner gymnast with the moves she was showcasing and with reaffirming smiley glances to Smurphio they carried on through most of the songs off their newest gift to us, their LP Under The Streets. After the first go around with the chorus ‘Do You Party’ the crowd caught on and was singing along, it was lovely. And ‘Play House’ brought enough bouncy synth to have everyone remember their name, and buy their album.
After Afrobeta cleared off we waited expectantly for the next performer, which the bill indicated was NERO. But next on stage came a girl in a brown sparkly dress. She went behind the DJ booth, took off her heels and started mixing. Soon the two screens that flanked the booth began to smear and form the name Filthy Gorgeous. This woman wasn’t on the bill, but apparently she was the last act before Nero was to come on. The crowd was hesitant to go along with her, but soon they had no choice. She exerted such a magnetizing surge of bass, what a way to introduce yourself to the people. And she played such a forceful set it had you questioning why you hadn’t heard her before. She was rallying the entire crowd from the front row breaking ribs against the barricade to the glowstick-wielders dancing on up on the mezzanine and it was just enough to get us all overworked and zealous for Nero.
Soon Nero joins her onstage, well, half of Nero. Only Joe Ray was present here, but if you closed your eyes you wouldn’t have been able to tell any differently. He delivered with the same potency Nero is accredited for. His stage setup was on the minimalist side of things with just two projected screens on either side of his setup. But the sounds were over the top. Opening with his frenzy-inducing “Doomsday” and spiraling onward through “Promises”, “Crush On You”, and of course “Innocence”. He played “Innocence” at least three times that night. He could have played it three more times, and we still would have begged for him to play it another three times. One of the times he took us halfway through “Innocence” and then dropped us to a fumbling heap with the “Bass Cannon”and as I turned around at the crowds behind me I saw two crutches being pumped up in the air along with a few crowd surfers. There was a heavy-metal-worthy circle pit forming to my left so I migrated out of the way behind a girl in a wheelchair. Safe spot right? Wrong. She was moving so emphatically she was rolling over everyone’s toes and my sandals stood no chance. Eventually I made it to the side stage where I clung to the speakers for safety. My audiologist would have been offended with what everyone’s eardrums were being held subject to. It sounded like the footsteps of a god in the Fillmore, and that night Joe Ray was. He closed our night with System Of A Down’s “Chop Suey,” he left the crowd on such a high just ready to rampage and all he did was raise his hands as a goodbye to the crowd, and walked off stage. People looked around at each other in disbelief and eventually milled outside where they dispersed through the city for the last day of 2011, and I couldn’t have spent it any better way.