Community, Music

Sofar Sounds: Intimate, Transient, Secret

January 25, 2017
Sofar Music Inner Circle Melbourne

Sofar Sounds is a rapidly expanding community of both artists and audiences, created in intimate and transient locations all over the world. The network has now reached over 305 cities originating in London and quickly spreading across continents, reaching cities as far and wide as Bangalore, Johannesburg, Las Vegas and Santiago. We are fortunate to have an established monthly Sofar Sounds event here in Melbourne.

The tricky part for any keen attendee is getting a ticket in the first place and due to tickets being highly desired, the application process takes place online and lucky attendees only find out whether they have been selected several days before the event. Some events are free, some may have a fixed price and others may be by donation, its also possible to have a “plus one”, so yes friends can go too! The last event was held on the 14th January at the incredible and artistic Schoolhouse Studios in Collingwood.

Sofar locations are kept top secret until the previous day and artist details are not announced until audience members arrive at the event. However, artists can make discreet announcements to their fans! Artists who have graced excited audiences with their presence have included Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s) and the The Naked and Famous who played Sofar in NYC, whilst Wolf Alice and James Bay played Sofar in London.

Sofar teamed up with the Porch Sessions Adelaide (a travelling backyard festival who transform spaces into a musical oasis with their decorations, bands, bar and good vibes) for this special event. The Porch Sessions are currently touring with their bohemian festival events from Southern Australia to New South Wales and Sofar was their 6th show on the road. We were treated to three incredible singer songwriters at this coproduced event; Tim Moore, Stu Larsen and Luke Thompson.

Tim Moore was the first to perform; an indie folk singer songwriter from Adelaide. The audience fell completely silent as Tim arrived on stage and we were all captivated by his storytelling, his beautiful voice, guitar and lyrics. Tim’s sound was not to dissimilar to some of his musical influences, Damien Rice and Sufjan Stevens. He has also previously supported Passenger, a very high profile folk-indie musician in the UK.

Stu Larsen was next to perform, much to the intense excitement of my ‘plus 1’ for the event, who has been coincidently following his music on Spotify for some time. This was Stu’s second Sofar gig, having previously performed in Sydney. Originating from Queensland, Stu’s path is now carved by his music career and he spends his time touring, which allows him to take his music far and wide, having first performed with the Porch Sessions four years ago. Stu mesmerised the audience with his majestic acoustic indie-folk sound and his natural and relaxed stage presence. His sound reminded me of Passenger, who he has also toured with. Stu performed his beautiful track San Francisco from his last EP Vagabond which captured the still attention of every member of the audience.

Last but not least to perform was Luke Thompson, a New Zealand singer songwriter on tour in his 26ft caravan with his wife and children. Stu Larsen lists Luke as his favourite New Zealand musician and its not hard to see why. Luke transcends calm with his beautiful melodies and smooth voice, initially playing acoustic guitar and then closing the show on the piano whilst the audience sat hypnotised in awe and silence.

Schoolhouse Studios, right here in our wonderful neighbourhood of Collingwood, was a perfect venue for the occasion, both capturing and intensifying the incredible vibes. The studios are a creative and communal space for its resident 110 artists and creative businesses, who share affordable workspaces within a not-for-profit environment. Its aims are to encourage and develop community and networking opportunities with a range of events and art programs which are open to the wider community. Definitely an extremely valuable resource for artists, musicians, creative business start-ups and keen community members who wish to support creative local events.

Anyone can apply to host a future Sofar Sounds event, as they take place in intimate venues including office spaces, rooftops, living rooms and creative spaces around the world. Artists can also apply to perform and join the thousands of musicians who have performed to respectful and passionate audiences around the world. The next Sofar event in Melbourne will be held on 25th February 2016.. so sign up here!

Feature Image Credit: Pamela Kirkley

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