Upon entering the Red Room at Cafe 939, take caution not to trip. The room is pitch black except for a purple glow that emanates from the stage, illuminating a solo performer accompanied only by an instrument and her voice. Five minutes later, another performer takes the stage for his chance to bask in the purple lights.
A steady stream of performers follow them, all students at Berklee College of Music, who come together on the last Monday of each month for Open Mic Night. The Berklee-sponsored event is free and is a great way to spend a weeknight in Downtown Boston on the cheap while getting a dose of music culture.
This past Open Mic Night held on March 26, musical acts ranged from guitar instrumentals to songs about being snowed-in in Back Bay. There was something for all ears and for all moods: One artist softly played the piano and sang about falling in love, while another loudly strummed his electric guitar, belting about his recent breakup.
The crowd was electrified when an artist took the stage. The room was filled at capacity with friends of the performers, Berklee students, and music lovers. In between performances, a member of the audience would often shout and cheer for an artist while they were preparing the stage to play. The casual atmosphere added to the experience, as it felt like the Red Room transformed into someone’s living room or garage, and the crowd became one family.
The energetic crowd was juxtaposed with the dark and dramatic ambience that was strategically set to focus on the radiant artist on stage. While the crowd was fun-loving, they were respectful and quiet once a performance began, fully engaged in the entertainment in front of them.
The last performance of the night was Claire Marie Lim, whose electronic production showcased her quirky spirit. Lim, who performs under the name DollTr!ck, is a senior at Berklee majoring in electronic production and design and professional music.
“I produce all my tracks and write all the lyrics and music for them. I usually make my songs with performances in mind because I do a lot of live DJing,” Lim said.
Lim began producing electronic music in 2016 and loves to take advantage of the many platforms Berklee provides for students to perform. Fortunately for Boston music lovers, there are many.
You don’t even need to leave Boston College’s campus to stream the Berklee Internet Radio Network (BIRN), which features Lim’s show ElectriCute! She combines her love for electronic dance music and Korean pop, while promoting other Berklee artists, on her show.
“I try my best to play music that my friends have made and that of other Berklee students in my major,” Lim said.
Featured Image by Jenna Rosenthal / For The Heights