by Donte Kirby
The non-profit Sofar Sounds brought DIA and Tim Carr from California and local talent Coin Purse and Snails to the intimate setting of the Capital One 360 Café on Walnut for a captivating show.
DIA sat in a chair, in a long black dress, strumming her ten string ukulele while Tim Carr sat behind a table working the 808. DIA’s voice carried through the café and evoked haunting beauty. When DIA and Tim Carr harmonize, hairs will stand on end. The show was done without mics so it was a test of an artist’s vocal ability. A test that DIA passed with flying colors.
Tim Carr’s set was classic singer/songwriter, just a man and his guitar. The lack of a mic took away from the impact of his voice, but it evident that he was a talented singer all the same. Carr sung with eyes closed, a habit many musicians share. Without a mic to magnify the power of his voice and lyrics he looked withdrawn while performing. It’s the double edged sword of a show with so little space between the musician and the audience, little quirks get magnified and can have an adverse effect. Other singers of the night’s eyes were closed too but unlike them Tim Carr performed alone and all eyes fell on him making it impossible not to nitpick.
The Capital One 360 Café has wide store front windows that had the exhibit effect on performances at Sofar Sounds Philly. No band was more of a spectacle than Coin Purse, made up of Toy Soldiers drummer and guitarist Dominic Billet and Matt Kelly, respectively. Pedestrians would walk pass and stop, stare, and wonder what’s going on inside. Half the fun of the night was people watching.
Coin Purse’s blues with an electric rock punch was an adrenaline shot to the Sofar Sounds show. They were a stark contrast to the more mellow tunes of both DIA and Tim Carr that went before them. They began their show with a theatrically told short story about how the blues song they played came to be. Billet’s and Kelly’s experience showed in how well they engaged the crowd, adding something in between the songs, whether it be a short anecdote or just some banter back and forth. They showcased that a good performance is more than just performing the songs well.
Last but not least of the night was The Snails, a Jamaican style soul music, four piece that brought the night to a magical end. The bass line was prominent and The Snails would often harmonize like a quartet causing more than a few swoons.
The Snails will be at the Theater of The Living Arts on Aug 8, and Balcony Bar at The Trocadero. I highly recommend them, they’re the perfect band to vibe out with.
Sofar Sounds Philly was a fun night at an interesting venue. Their goal to bring intimate gigs to living rooms across the world and I’m looking forward to finding myself on the floor, legs crossed at the next one.