This Sofar Sounds article was written by Jen Taylor, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Sarah Gosling
Sofar Sounds is a community of musicians, people with a venue to offer and those who love live music – no matter who is playing.
Getting tickets alone makes you feel like a VIP as with no knowledge of an exact location – only a general area – and no idea who is playing, ticket applications for you and a plus one (if you have friends who are just as keen) are made blind through the Sofar Sounds website. Add this to venues varying from warehouses and buildings between uses to living rooms with just enough space to fit a group of people in, and there is a guarantee that every Sofar Sounds experience will be a unique and memorable one which you can’t help but feel lucky to be a part of.
For something a little bit different, Sofar Sounds puts on a Sunday night gig in Shoreditch’s ‘The Saw Mill’: previously a kebab shop and currently a café, the downstairs area is in the process of being converted into a cocktail bar by the young owners. For the moment it is an empty room fitted out with nothing but a floor, walls and a few empty hessian sacks to sit on. In the corner sits a bicycle that once made a journey from Europe down into China, and various items like some canvasses, a strange ancient looking metal jug and a fan.
As a description of the night, ‘intimate’ is an understatement. With everyone sitting or standing very close to their neighbours, the musicians sang acoustically in the soon-to-be cocktail bar with no amplification necessary to project to the audience, as Our Man in the Field started the night with his acoustic guitar, crooning away above the sounds of people shuffling to get comfortable.
As soon as his set finished, everyone moved upstairs to crowd into the small café at street level, where at a very out of tune piano in the corner Sofar Sounds intern Pierre Danaë sat singing to a mesmerised audience sipping on their BYO drinks. The highlight was when he pulled out a guitar and performed ‘Hit the Road Jack’ with the whole audience adding backing vocals in tune; always a nice surprise.
Back downstairs for the final act of the night the energy was taken up a notch with Danny Toeman and his electric and bass guitars as he had everyone grooving along to his music and laughing at his banter between songs. Danny Toeman is obviously quite a professional outfit, and despite his apparently splitting headache, he and his bass player delivered music which really made the night something wonderful.
Sofar Sounds as a whole is an experience worth applying to, and with entry being a lucky dip giving an air of importance to those selected to be on the guest-list, coupled with the surprise aspect of new (or sometimes established) artists to discover, what other reasons do you need?