Popping My ‘Sofar’ Cherry – Live Music On A Budget

Following on from our previous post all about the live music events company ‘Sofar Sounds’ (which you can read here), I finally got round to losing my Sofar virginity recently and I thought it would be rude not to tell you all about it.

I wake on an ordinary Saturday morning to an email explaining the location of the Sofar gig that me and my girlfriend are heading to. After applying for tickets the week before for an event in the Kings Cross area, the excitement had been slowly building, like a young child waiting in line at an ice cream van.

But the day had finally arrived, and we eventually knew where our destination was for that evening, whereas the music we were going to experience was still unknown to us. The Sofar event that we had applied for was situated in a sweet little space at Tileyard Studios, a popular recording studio in the Kings Cross area, basically next door to the seedy ravers paradise that is Egg.

Upon alighting at Kings Cross underground station and walking around slightly confused for about 20 minutes with the help of our good old friend Google Maps, we finally found the studio. While trying to find the right room, my girlfriend grabs me and whispers “LOOK – over there”, and we catch a glimpse of the ginger one from Girls Aloud (I know it is unrelated but I thought I would share with you a little ‘claim to fame’, as everyone likes showing of those once in a while).

Anyway, we arrived early with beers in hand and got a front row seat on the wooden floor of Room 5 of the recording studio. The set up had started but still had a few finishing touches to go. After everyone had arrived, the doors were closed and the music could begin. The best thing about these Sofar events (which I realised while I was there) is that it attracts people who actually just want to listen to some good music, because at the majority of gigs I’ve been to, you get every character under the sun turning up and sometimes ruining it for you. Sofar Sounds are obviously smarter than me and realised this years ago, which is what makes these gigs so special, and definitely worth going to.

After a short witty introduction from the organisers of the gig, the first music to be heard was from a two piece acoustic, alternative pop duo called Sinnober, who were also a married couple. Sebastian and Natalie Brice, playing acoustic and bass guitar, coupled with their beautifully harmonised vocals creates a soft yet emotional tone to their music. It is always nice to hear a female bass player, as they always seem to be lacking in the musical world. After about three or four songs, it was time for a short interval, and then onto the second act.

 

 

Armed with a guitar, a loop pedal, and a violin bow (yes, you read that right, a violin bow), ‘C.Diab’ is one of the most interesting musical artists I have ever seen. Through the use of his three tools and his Vancouvan roots, he is able to make the kind of music that sends a whole room of people into a trance, staring at his masterful talent. He classes himself as “an expert in the ancient art of putting things on other things”, and I can vouch for this, as his loop pedal skill level is definitely over 9000. It is a somewhat rare genre of music but he names it ‘landscape music’ which you can only truly understand once you have heard it live, because it almost represents nature in some sense. Anyway, have a listen and see what you think.

 

 

Following on from another interval, where we checked out the CD’s and vinyl’s on sale from the respective artists, it was time for the final act. The Norwegian rock band ‘Morudes’, consisting of two brothers, one playing a 12-string electric guitar and the other on a drum kit made out of an old empty suitcase, standing vertically with a hi-hat, bass pedal and tambourine attached to it, yet not forgetting the goats toenails (tell me about it) draped over the suitcase which he liked to use because they “made a nice sound”. These two characters were a lot more upbeat than the previous two, creating what they call ‘psychedelic desert rock’, with almost a rockabilly feel to it.

 

 

After four songs from Morudes to wrap up the show, it was a brilliant ending to a brilliant evening of talent. There were chances to speak with all of the acts after the gig which gives the Sofar events their famously personal atmosphere.

If you are interested in music, or just want something to do for the evening, I thoroughly recommend getting involved with a Sofar gig. They are all around the UK, mainly London, as well as across the globe, so head over to their site and see which event is closest to you. The only negative thing that I have to mention is that the guys over at Sofar have recently changed their ticket prices, as they obviously need a little more funding for the events themselves, and they now are priced at £10 each, which for a good two hours of professional and inventive music, isn’t too shabby I would say.

Anyway, if you are feeling up for it, here is a link to their site: https://www.sofarsounds.com/

Happy listening my fellow students!

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Guy Thornbury-Phillips

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