For anybody unfamiliar with Sofar Sounds, it is a community that was launched in 2009 (and is now present in over 400 cities around the world) which seeks to transform everyday places such as people’s living rooms into secret venues for intimate, live shows. They are events free of distraction where performers are respected, and guests feel included and appreciated. You can find out more about Sofar Sounds here.
The location of the show was only revealed the day before, and even then, it was left pretty ambiguous, so I didn’t really know what to expect from the venue. As I arrived at a flat in Hackney, I was pleasantly surprised to be invited into a vibey living room complete with dim lighting and funky carnivalesque décor. There was a really great chilled out atmosphere and it was easy to talk to everyone there, which was topped off with the fact that – as with most Sofar events – it was BYOB, meaning the awful drinks prices I usually face whilst going to see live music were swiftly avoided.
The first performer of the night was Sans Soucis, a London based singer-songwriter and composer who played a short and sweet solo set – just her, her guitar, and her majestic voice. Sans Soucis translates from French to ‘No Problem’ which is apt considering she has a pleasant sound that can, at least temporarily, take you somewhere where you can forget about all your problems and truly appreciate what you are listening to. You can check out her critically acclaimed ‘Daffodils’ EP on Spotify or SoundCloud to experience her music for yourself.
Next to perform was Greg Wanders, a highly talented singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist from Bedfordshire, who has recently moved to Nottingham. It’s hard to place Greg’s music into a specific genre, though it has been described as somewhere in between soul and electronic. Greg played a refreshing stripped back set which featured himself on vocals and keys, and UoN alumnus Max Randall on guitar. Greg played slower versions of his original songs, allowing for the audience to be further immersed into his music, which is soothing in a way that massages both your mind and soul. As well as the captivating nature of Greg’s voice, which is reminiscent of artists such as Sampha and James Blake, his lyrics are equally engaging and emotive, blending seamlessly with his delicate yet impactful vocals and instruments to create an ethereal sound. Greg’s enchanting music prompts its listeners to live in the moment and acknowledge their emotions, freedom, and of course Wanders’ very own artistic flair. You can find Greg Wanders on Spotify and SoundCloud, and be sure to watch out for any shows he has coming up – watching his music truly come to life is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Final act of the night was gifted producer, composer and musician Ciara Gayer, who even directs her own record label – Gayerayer records. Gayer has a jazzy, bluesy, soulful sound and an immensely powerful voice, which worked extremely well alongside her band. Gayer’s passion for music was evident throughout her performance whilst she played an assortment of charming original songs which oozed vivacity. Ciara Gayer was a great artist to end the night with and definitely one to keep an eye out for, you can listen to her music on her SoundCloud.
Sofar Sounds shows are a great opportunity to discover and support new and up and coming artists, you can check out which shows are coming up in Notts here, and make sure to give your ears a treat by checking out all of the above artists – Sans Soucis, Greg Wanders and Ciara Gayer.