Sofar Sounds offers a different kind of musical experience, but one that’s bound to captivate you all the same.
The usually thousands-capacity arena becomes a compact, stylish office. Headline belters are replaced with your local singer-songwriters. And a surging crowd is now a small but attentive gathering of music-lovers. Despite the somewhat drastic changes, an open mind is the best strategy. While you might not know exactly what you’ll get, you can be sure it’ll be a memorable evening, with broadly appealing tunes and low-key charm to spare.
I’ll just briefly mention the particular artists (there are three for tonight), which might seem like I’m not giving enough attention to the focus of the event (the music), but performers rotate every month. Each artist performs an EP’s worth of material, which turns out to be the perfect length for a set, while musically there’s enough variation to appreciate them at the same event.
Tonight, Lady Lyon sings with a pure voice with a faint country timbre. Her last song, “The Captain’s Wife”, is a standout. Harrison Storm follows with acoustic percussion and furious strumming, perfectly accompanying the raw emotion and power of his voice. Ella Haber finishes the night, delivering stories of teen heartbreak through jazz songs decorated with impressive vocal runs.
I’m especially fond of a moment when Lady Lyon attempts to explain the story behind one of her songs. In other circumstances it can seem forced: here though, it’s perfect, and contributes to the intimate, chummy atmosphere. Whatever awkwardness is immediately washed away by a polished performance, and it guides the audience just enough to better appreciate the vibrant but brief set.
The whole evening is an engaging mixture of excitement for the unknown and an easy-going familiarity. It’s fascinating to hear the work of lesser known artists, and in some ways it feels like a gift to have such a tantalising sound-bite into a more local artistic scene in an event that feels accessible but still very much its own thing.
In short, I want to come back for more.
Eric is a university student who wants to hear/eat/see mostly everything.
Sofar Sounds puts on shows monthly, sign up to go in a ballot for tickets.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Sofar Sounds
Image Credit: David Bard