Unless displaced in a huge field and tagged with a Glastonbury wristband, Londoners are notoriously allergic to strangers. Hence i the stylist’s surprise at the London-born, increasingly popular Sofar Sounds gigs. The brainchild of Rocky Start and Rafe Offer, the recipe? One intimate sitting room, three artists and a room full of strangers. One year short of their 10th anniversary, Sofar Sounds are currently hosting ‘in more than 350 cities around the world’. International success aside, Sofar are focused on developing unsigned talent through artist-focused, small-scale living room concert; the specific location of which they share on the day via text. In 2016 i the stylist fell for Martin Luke Brown’s cover of Nina Simone’s ‘I Wish I Knew How’. Little did we know what 2017 had in store… So if you’re looking to try something new, look no further!
Here of 5 of our favourite acts from Sofar Sounds so far
- Last May, PETRIE (@petriesound) replaced Sofar’s South-London brewery location with BBC’s Introducing studio. Leading tracks ‘Slurs’, ‘To Swim’ and ‘Your Side’ mix layered, wordy vocals, catchy guitar-riffs and electronic accompaniment. Expanding from the Sofar-featured duo of George and Laurie, ‘best bud and backing singer Jess (Ica)’ further compliments the seamlessly produced, percussive pop licks. Check out their newest track ‘Late Night’, in collaboration with Saint Torrente: ‘I don’t want to need your touch but I’m just human’, can warm any January singleton dilemmas.
2. From a leafy Maida Vale riverside gig in October, RAK-SU (@raksuraksu) have gone to the musical dark side… they entered and won the X-Factor. Less Ska than Sofar alumni- 83 classic, this hip-hop, reggae- quartet “Miss Congenialitied” Disney. Speaking on behalf of the hungover-ridden, majority female audience, the honey-vocals and general charisma of Rak-su, made Jungle Book sexy. Not convinced? Well, we’re not sure about X-Factor but we’re a fan of this lot.
3. A shortlist including Travis Alabanza and Maddie Godfrey, indicate that the ithestylist Sofar 2017 spoken-word winner HENRY STONE (@HenryStoneUK), to be no blasé crowning. In Angel’s One Fine Stay hostel, 300 St John Street, Stone needed no assistance in capturing his audience’s attention. His honesty hastily ripped away any protective bandaids, disclosing lyrics that demand the reality of life to be acknowledged. From ill-stereotyping in society to man’s fragile relationship with mental health, top tracks include ‘Lewisham Prince’ and ‘The Boy’.
4. Leather-jacketed, Sofar- regulars HOW’S HARRY (@HowsHarry), wrapped up a Saturday set in a living room off Shoreditch’s Old Street, setting off a Two-Door Cinema effect of up-lifting, melody-driven tracks. ‘Othello’ and ‘Daquari’ prove this quartet are worth keeping an eye on in 2018.
5. Recently-engaged, Glastonbury-headlining Ed Sheeran, made his name tenaciously gigging everyday. Treading in Ed’s footsteps, Essex-born LONGY AND THE GOSPEL TRASH (@Longy500) are attempting 500 gigs in one year. More reminiscent of Passenger than Sheeran, the modestly named accompaniment ‘gospel trash’ perfectly compliment Longy’s soulful, raw tone. In the political zeitgeist of 2017, ‘Promise to the people’ caught our attention, but ‘Careful what you wish for’ and ‘Love schizophrenia’ are definitely worth the download.
To check out Sofar gigs near you, visit sofarsounds.com and join the international community of guests, hosts and artists advocating this unique platform. Live music without extortionate prices (thanks to BYOB and a £10 ticket) or a cell phone in your face, and an opportunity to cleanse your allergy of strangers: you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll hear!