Concert Review: Skream @Gretchen (Berlin)

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Every year, Fete de la Musique brings more open-air parties and musical events to Berlin than you could hope to see in 24 hours. From techno shows, to indie, to kinder music, the city is even more alive with sounds than normal.

This year, club Gretchen in Kreuzberg held both a daytime open-air show followed by a night inside the club. The line up included DJs from all over, including Frenchmen Feadz, Para One, and England’s Skream. Skream’s set was on from 2am-4am, the peak of the Fete de la Musique night, and brought the stone archways of Gretchen to life.

Skream (Oliver Jones) last graced Berlin with his sound waves in Stattbad Wedding, playing during the CTM Festival in February. When I quickly had the chance to ask him where his favorite place to play in Berlin was, he answered “Stattbad Wedding”, without even a second of hesitation. It is easy to see why that venue in particular would leave a lasting impression on any DJ. The now empty swimming pool has been turned into a dance floor with epic speakers and an atmosphere that is hard to find anywhere else.

Similar to Stattbad, Gretchen is a club inside an old landmark, the former King of Prussia’s grand horse stables. With neon lights projected on the giant pillars that hold up brick arches suitable for a Prussian king, and a DJ booth that still allows for intimate contact so commonly found in Berlin, Gretchen is a great space to play and dance in alike.

Skream’s two-hour set included everything from house, to funk, to the deeper bass he is so known for, and rocked the socks off the people there to see it. It opened with that more funky house style and even included a funky dub mix sampling Giga Bass’s Call Me Maybe Bootleg.

It then moved towards a much more Berlin-style minimal, with a taste of Trace by Midland. Those who have listened to the free downloads Skream puts out on his Sound Cloud, or have followed his style over the years, would have recognized the old and new sounds he blended together. Near the end it came full circle to Skream’s dubstep roots with “Bang That.” Overall, it was funky, bassy, minimal, and yet seamless in a way only Skream can pull off.

Using the American and French disco-scene influences similar to Daft Punk, combined with the deeper German house and minimal sounds, and of course laid amongst the best British bass and breaks, Skream’s unique set proved perfect for the Berlin crowd. A live set just goes to show that even after a decade in the game, he’s still one of the best, and his evolution will only leave us wanting more.