For those of you who are not familiar with Sofar Sounds, it’s a live music discovery community started in a tiny flat in London. The community offers a refreshing change to the usual dark, sweaty and crowded live music venues, hosting free, intimate and secret gigs in living rooms in 86 cities all over the world, and luckily, they have finally come to Nottingham.
The gig was all secretive. It took place in a cosy and super adorable house near Lenton, but the address wasn’t given out until two days before the actual date. As for the acts, we didn’t really know who was going to be playing that night until they physically picked up their guitars and started strumming. All this secrecy really strips away any stigma or expectation you may have before attending a live music event. There’s going to be people and there’s going to be music, which I guess in the end that truly is all that matters.
The first act of the night was the singer/songwriter Ryan Thomas, Nottingham born and raised. His music has all the pretty shades of blues with hints of folk and gospel. The stripped down set also included an awesome cover of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s ‘16 Tons’. It was a very Johnny Cash take on the track, so obviously, no one was going to complain. Then came Bec Sandridge, hailing all the way from Australia. With songs ‘Red Jumper’ and ‘Cars’ (which sent the whole room into complete silent), she sounds like a lovely fuzzy folky cross between Regina Spektor and Kate Nash. After inviting the audience to sing along, her set ended with a lovely cover of Savage Garden’s ‘Truly Madly Deeply, something I honestly did not expect to hear in a Sofar gig. After a small break, Joy Mumford picked up her guitar to close the night. There was this calm and comforting feel to her voice that really warmed up the whole room. Her original tracks like ‘The Fall’ and ‘My Child’ left us wondering, with such beautiful voice and talents, why we have only just discovered her now.
Sofar will make you rethink the definition of an intimate live music performance. It makes the Bodega feels like Capital FM arena. You’re basically sitting on the living room floor of a stranger’s house with other 30 people you’ve never met before, all there with the same goal of a quiet appreciation of live music. No screaming crazy fans, no beer spilling, and no neck cramps from trying to get just a glimpse of the artists (very important if you’re under 5’3” like me). Add some pizza to the mix and you’d never want it to end.
The dates and cities for Sofar Sounds gigs in March are now announced. For Nottingham it is Monday 23rd of March, so if you’re looking for an alternative to all the mindless clubbing you have repeatedly done throughout the semester, don’t forget to enter your name and sign up on their website. Make sure to get yourself on the guest list before it’s full!
Photography by Keir Birchall
By Jaisai Wongpichet