by Jaz Bowens
Sofar Sounds, founded in 2010, is a growing network of artist and music lovers who bring live music in a intimate setting to cities all across the globe. Each month, in over 302 cities, there is a Sofar event.
That Mag has been lucky enough to attend many of the Philadelphia area shows over the past few years. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Sofar acts as a secret society of sorts. Apply for a ticket at their website (sofarsounds.com). The free event (please consider paying what you can) is a hot ticket item and it’s a better to apply as early as possible. If you and a guest are lucky, you’ll get a email saying you’re in BUT that’s all the details you’ll get. You see, the performances are in a hush-hush location and the bands who’ll be playing are secret as well.
This past holiday season, I personally got the chance to attend my first Sofar show. A holiday “ugly sweater” performance. Guest were asked to bring canned goods for Philabundance which is a great organization in Philadelphia that aims to end hunger. With my cans ready to go and anticipation brewing all I had to do was wait for the secret location. Here is my experience:
I received a email the day before the event telling me where the location would be for this particular performance, the time to arrive, the closest train station, the BYOB policy, and other important details. Sofar covers everything! So, on December 18th around 2:30ish, I headed downtown to the Rittenhouse section of the city.
I still didn’t know who would be performing or how many acts to expect, but I was up for an adventure. Once I arrived, I handed over my non-perishable food items and headed inside. The place looked to be the living room of a old mansion. There was space, but not much due to the fact that we only occupied a small portion right near the entrance. As we waited around, I tried to find somewhere to lean against and luckily I grabbed some wall space where the performances would be taking place.
Between twiddling my thumbs waiting for the performance to start I looked around and noticed that every bit of wall space and floor space became scarce. Realizing I had prime real estate, I stayed put and kept my eyes on the first performer, Dominic, getting ready to wow the audience.
A local act, Dominic, reminded me of the many emerging folk artist from our city. He was passionate about his music and played a nice selection of singles.
The Thrills turned up the energy next. They really filled out the space with the sound of their music. I could imagine their music being used for a sound track. They also hail from the tri-state area.
During the intermissions, I had to leave and unfortunately I missed Allen Tate and Pine Barons!
All in all, it was a nice experience and just one way, among many, to view and listen to live music.