A healthy-sized crowd of humble hip-hop heads came out to vibe with Clams Casino, aka Mike Volpe, last Tuesday night at The Reed.
The Reed is an immaculately designed restaurant, bar and club filling a large corner space just across the street from Berlin’s iconic Fernsehturm. On Sundays, the space has select DJs serenade brunching Berliners. For parties and concerts, the dining room is converted into an impressive open floor venue space. The dance floor is cupped by a ninety degree wall which catches the light of multiple projectors synchronized to seamlessly display amazing visuals. The ceiling consists of a dazzling complex of triangular LED light screens, creating a patchwork of brilliant colors that shine down and fill the room with ambience.
Known for his unique production style —blending hardcore hip-hop beats and slowed down vocal samples layered over electronic soundscapes— the crowd rocked their bodies in subtle waves to Clams Casino’s chilled-out live set.
The ceiling lights somehow knew to stay a calm blue through most of the 90 minute performance as Clams Casino’s passionate and pensive music waved over fans like water. The high-quality PA system provided ample power to let the heavy bass and snappy snares ring through the room.
With a smile, fans sung along
Clams Casino played all of his tracks —mostly, if not entirely his own— through a MIDI controller connected to Ableton Live. He carried a calm demeanor, a hoodie capped his head and a different set of black and white visuals (blurred nature landscapes) covered the wall behind him.
While playing mostly with his eyes closed, he read the crowd well and played out the tracks that have garnered him an international reputation: “I’m God”, “Wassup”, “Human”, “Angels”, “All I Need”, among many others. Most were mixed quickly and some featured one-off sounds, nearly creating a mashup. Many (unreleased?) remixes were thrown and happily surprised the audience of mostly 20 somethings. With a smile, fans sung along to well known lyrics of A$AP Rocky and Lil B, Clams Casino’s main collaborators.
A little more movement or mingling might have been nice, but the relaxed atmosphere made for a very enjoyable night.