Mike Relm and The Sideshow excite Think Silly event

DJ_Mike_Relm_Hong_Kong

DJ_Mike_Relm_Hong_Kong

San Francisco nouveau-nerd Mike Relm rocked the Think Silly party at the Watermark on Thursday night. His audio / video mix-and-scratch was interestingly complimented by The Sideshow, two guys with large (slightly scary) clown masks who commandeered the turntables and kept the momentum high between his performances.

What else was on the menu?

The night also featured a solid set by Hardpack, the local band who give one of the best live shows in town.

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Hardpack’s energy and up-tempo party-Punk got people bouncing early.

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What was the event all about?

The Think Silly event served a dual purpose. It commemorated the launch of the new web-magazine www.think-silly.com and also announced the redesign of the Silly Thing store in Chai Wan.

The online magazine, which currently requires registration, looks slick, and leverages the parent company’s entertainment and media expertise. Headed by Hong Kong impresario T.K., the company has its hands in retail, music, fashion, media, and now new media. Silly Thing’s web presence was previously lagging behind the rest of the organization. With already strong relationships with advertisers gleamed from their magazine holdings, and an abundance of ties to brands via a plethora of crossover projects, the company should find an easy route to being profitable online.

The newly redesigned Think Silly store (was it previously known as the Silly Thing store?) uses a variety of ultra-contemporary techniques combined with warm materials to create an interesting look.

I’m a sucker for wood interiors. The original design of JUICE in Causeway Bay was one of my favorite shops precisely because it featured a warm wooden interior and steered away from the soul-less techno cool that dominated the city for too many years.

The party on Thursday night was held at the Watermark restaurant at the Star Ferry Pier in Central. I’ve been there way too much recently. Last weekend’s Chivas events were at the same spot and there was an FCUK event at the Watermark on Friday.

The glass panes that enclose the main room were open for part of the night and the space was very humid due to the current muggy weather in Hong Kong. The heat didn’t stop the crowd from getting into the music though!

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Mike Relm, video d.j. or video turntablist?

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As a performer, Mike Relm occupies an interesting new niche. During his shows he simultaneously manipulates both audio and video in unison. Watching his act, he exemplifies the difference between being simply a d.j. or a turntablist. Where d.j.s, mix music together, turntablists often completely chop up music to form totally new creations. Similarly, there were once V.J.s (video-d.j.s) who mixed videos together, but Mike Relm, a San Francisco native, goes one step further. He’s taken aspects of the West Coast turntablist scene and applied them to v.j.ing.

During his two sets, he brilliantly paired clips from films and cartoons and worked them into his routine.

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The video clips are tied to the same records he is manipulating on the turntables. Watching his shows, I could see he also has good music sense (an ingredient often lacking in turntablists and v.j.s!) The result is a performance that stimulates the crowd on several different levels. The video portion of his performance, captured on two large video screens, was nearly as exciting as the audio portion of the show.

In one mix he blended a Bjork a cappella over a Run D.M.C. Hip Hop beat. So, for example, when he scratched the vocal of Bjork, the video of her singing was equally effected.

Mike has obviously honed his skills for dramatic visual climaxes. In one clip he tied the music to a scene from wrestling-comedy Nacho Libre and had a drop-kick being performed over and over in sync with his scratching. (In this case the video moves back and forth just like the record he is manipulating.) It’s no wonder Mike Relm has been a major draw at alternative events including performing with with the Blue Man Group and at the Coachella music festival. For more on Mike and The Sideshow, check out his blog.

Due to recent d.j. equipment advances, we should be seeing more of this type of act in the near future. Finally, the big screens often found in clubs will have some use other than just giving off too much ambient light and providing a way of zoning out. The way Mike Relm utilized the technology is truly integrated with the music, and makes for a richer performance.

The Sideshow… bring on the clowns!

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Think Silly store address:

Unit 8, G/F, Block B, Ka Yip Street
Chai Wan, Hong Kong
www.think-silly.com

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