When I buy tickets to see an artist play live, I brace myself to be leaving the venue sweaty and with the stench of stale Carlsberg, regardless of whether the genre is mellow or raw punk rock. However, recently I discovered a new way to watch live music that left me feeling ethereal afterwards.
You might have already heard of Sofar Sounds. It’s an international community of artists and fans that host intimate gigs in unique spaces across the world. You could have one in your nans living room and it would be just as remarkable as watching the Artic Monkeys at Glastonbury. Rafe Offer and his friends started Sofar Sounds in 2009 in his tiny north London flat. Since then the movement has exploded, and now boasts a reputation as one of the most exclusive events in large cities.
The magic about Sofar Sounds is its journey of discovery. The venue and the artists aren’t given away until the very last moment, which creates a beautiful sense of secrecy about the whole event. In addition to this, not knowing who you are going to see seems to attract a whole new crowd of listeners. Sofar Sounds have removed the popularity contest that you usually find in the live music industry, and forced us to decide whether it’s actually the music we care about. It’s incredibly liberating to turn up to a show just to listen to the music. This allows you to unearth new and up and coming artists, hand picked by the Sofar Sounds team. Of course, you could see someone you know and love, with Sofar Sounds already exhibiting big names such as George Ezra and even celebrity vampire Robert Pattinson.
In the South of England, our closest Sofar Sounds team is based in Winchester. The team has been expanding into Southampton this year, and their recent show on the 5th of February proved to be a hit. Set in an open plan living room with a twist of 70’s décor, the night presented Southampton’s favourite up and coming acoustic artists; Grant Sharkey, Music by Mai, Jack Williams and Josh Savage. Cosying up to strangers and sipping on a beer created a surprisingly relaxing vibe and the intimacy of the space removed everyone’s attention from their smart phones, making sure those playing remained the focus of the night.
Sofar Sounds holds gigs every month. You can grab a space on the guest list by signing up on their website or, if you think you have a venue you would like to offer, get in touch.