Sofar Sounds Bring Secret Living Room Shows to the Steel City
Short for “Songs from a Room”, Sofar launched its first official living room show from London, England in 2009. Since their quiet start six years ago, Sofar has relatively blown up and currently enjoys hosting shows across a global network of over 100 cities.
Sofar works to make an art of hosting free and unconventional live performances, and the base of their success is the strict and secretive nature through which they plan their shows. The location of a performance is kept under tight wraps until a week before the show, and the acts themselves are absolutely secret until they finally take the stage on the noght of the show.
The only way to find out about these secret shows is to subscribe to Sofar’s global mailing list. Every first-of-the-month, Sofar sends out an email to their whole community announcing every gig that is occurring across their sprawling location base. Remember, the email doesn’t give you all the details; just the time, date, and city. Interested audiences need only to RSVP to the event to find out more information.
Sofar considers themselves the Wine of the Month Club of new and local artists. You trust their judgment and commitment in providing exciting and talented musical acts, and they reward your trust by following through tenfold.
Nak You Out was lucky enough to attend Sofar Pittsburgh’s official April show this past weekend. The night was launched with subdued guitar strums courtesy of Chet Vincent. Chet attended the Sofar event as a representative of Chet Vincent & The Big Bends whose sound is reminiscent of 1980’s classic rock without losing the new era edge
Following Chet came the softer and folk centered renderings of Andre Costello. Andre’s morose lyrics and acoustic strumming was surprisingly counterbalanced with a dryly humorous personality and odd personal anecdotes of his home in Lawrence, PA.
Ending the evening of sound and songs was another Pittsburgh based group known by the name White Like Fire. Sporting a wide range of instruments from guitar to keys to an Italian mandolin, White Like Fires instrumental song set an appropriate backdrop for their earnest lyrics that weren’t afraid to increase the tempo when the audience needed it.
This month’s show was hosted on Howley Street in Bloomfield at Runaway Studios. The location was a huge part of the appeal; featuring explore-worthy architecture and odd art installations devised by the hosts. The blank space of time in between sets became opportunities that encouraged audience members to mingle and investigate their surroundings to their hearts content. It was clear that Sofar worked hard to orchestrate complementary structures and performances to make the night an absolute success, featuring nested sounds of stripped down acoustic melodies, and lyrical gestures ranging everywhere between morose love songs to upbeat folk-punk.
Sofar’s first endeavor in Pittsburgh was in July of 2014 so these performances are hardly new to the Pittsburgh arena, but the Steel City is definitely lucky to be a continuing part of the Sofar train.