If you are not familiar, Sofar Sounds is a great way to discover new music with very good up and coming or not quite “discovered” bands. If you peruse the Sofar Sounds global you tube channel you will find the likes of Bastille, Sylvan Esso, Hozier and many other great artists that agreed to play in a secret location, most likely in someone’s living room. The attendees are ones that are passionate about music and really want to give respect to the artists. Each show is free – the bands play for free and the people that put these shows on are just doing it for the love of experiencing and sharing really great music.
Sofar Sounds has expanded to over 100+ cities and over 30 countries yet most people I talk to are not familiar with Sofar Sounds at all. The neat thing about it is you have no idea who is playing until you get there and the location is revealed about 24 hours before the actual concert. The rules to attend are no talking as the artists get a free video in exchange for their time.
If Austin, TX didn’t have a Sofar Sounds chapter it just wouldn’t be right considering Austin is the music capitol of the world. I have been going to these invite only shows since March of this year. The really neat thing about having a Sofar Sounds in Austin is that twice per year some really great acts agree to play during SXSW and the ACL Festival. I made sure I was able to attend this year’s ACL concert because I knew I would not be disappointed. Most settings I have been to are in someone’s living room or shared use space and this time we had a lovely outdoor concert at a very nice home in South Austin.
When you arrive to a show – it starts promptly on time so it’s important to arrive a few minutes early so you don’t miss the first act. As soon as you walk in, you see the set list posted and know who is playing. They encourage you to follow each artist on twitter and facebook and you can take photos or videos just as long as you remain silent and post about your experience during the show. I was introduced to 3 new artists I have not seen live before and they were all playing during the ACL Festival. It was so neat to be able to attend an intimate show with great artists at no cost whatsoever (although you are encouraged to buy their merchandise or donate to the Sofar cause).
The three bands I had not yet seen live were Albatross, Rueben and The Dark, and von Grey.
Albatross is from the UK and just played a few lovely songs with an acoustic guitar. Rueben and the Dark are from Canada and their stripped down set showcased their vocal and lyrical talent nicely.The last group, von Grey, were 4 classically trained sisters from Atlanta who played a wonderful set with a bass violin, fiddle, guitars and keys. I was very impressed with each performance and before I go on and write a book, I will share some pictures from the event and encourage everyone to register at www.sofarsounds.com. If there isn’t a chapter in your area but you love discovering new music, start one yourself. I am all about discovering new music and with the type of bands and artists I like and follow I really believe that Sofar Sounds is a great way of connecting people that are truly passionate about great music. If you are interested in getting on the e-mail subscription list, or finding out if Sofar is in your area, go to www.sofarsounds.com
First up was Albatross. If you were to check the ACL Festival set list, Albatross is actually not on it but he was playing in another band for ACL and was happy to come and sing a few of his own songs for us. Albatross is Adam Stockdale and he is a lovely singer/songwriter from the UK. I am sharing one of the songs he sang at the show that I enjoyed. To find out more, you can like him on Facebook. He is not on twitter.
Reuben and the Dark are a great band from Calgary and their debut album, Funeral Sky is lovely if you are into folk/acoustic rock with a darker tone. They played a few songs from their debut album and my favorite was “Rolling Stone” so I’m posting the video. Their acoustic set was very good and still showcased their talent even with a stripped down sound. I would really like to see how their live “plugged in” set is, so I am hoping they come back to Austin soon. I am really excited to see what this band does in the future. Singer and frontman Rueben Bullock has a very strong and enchanting voice. You can check out more on their website www.reubenandthedark.com or on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The band that closed out the show was von Grey and they really surprised me. I was not familiar with this family band and it was undeniable that all four of these young ladies were related. With all four singing and playing various instruments, I definitely want to see what else these classically trained sisters will be coming up with in the future. The sisters are from Atlanta and their Awakenings EP that came out last year is very nice. I am sharing one of my favorite tracks they played live, “Deliverance”. You can find more about von Grey at www.vongreymusic.com or like them on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.
I highly recommend music lovers sign up at www.sofarsounds.com if there is a chapter near you. If there isn’t, subscribe to their global youtube channel and check out what great bands that have played worldwide. You can also check out live streams as if you sign up with mixlr. I won’t be posting many reviews here as I tend to focus on Q&A’s, but I really believe in the mission of Sofar Sounds and the special concerts during Austin’s high profile festivals are definitely worth sharing.
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