Sofar Sounds: London 13/11
Sofar Sounds hit London again last night, back at Islington's Paper Mills Studio, the photography studio serving as tonight's secret venue showcasing the secret line up of new music. The audience don't know where the gig will be until the day itself, or who the performers will be until they perform! So basically it's all built on trust- we as an audience believe Sofar will show us the finest new music, and they certainly never fail to impress.
George Cosby started the show, playing an electric guitar in a really soft way, so it was almost serving as an acoustic guitar but had a bit more character in it, creating a more ambient vibe with his music than the usual singer-songwriter, and his deep voice complimenting it really well. He performed song 'Vacant Grace' from his upcoming EP released later this month, which was a really sweet and sad song. George's opening song 'Closer' was my personal favourite, and I can't wait to see what his first full band performance will be like on the 24th at London's Pickle Factory (there's my not-so-subtle plug telling you to go to his show).
Blues singer Nia then continued the night, as her strong voice resonanted throughout the room. It was not only Nia's debute Sofar, but even her country / blues style is one that I haven't seen at a Sofar before, so it was a really cool switch up Sofar brought about last night! Her music was enhanced by friend Joe Strouzer's harmonies and harmonica, which also really gave it the special blues touch. She opened with her song 'I Can't Breathe' which had a really cool rhythm to it, and she also sang a cover of the traditional blues song 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken,' which had the intimate crowd singing along with her too.
Band Sundara Karma were the third and final ones to perform. Ahead of their UK tour, and an upcoming gig at KOKO next month, this band had probably the biggest set up I've seen at Sofar, having almost a full drum kit and amps, giving them the rocky edge that the band anyway are. The band opened with their song 'Runaway,' and continued on to their Plato inspired song 'Flame,' which even featured a cowbell adding to the great musicality this band had. 'Vivienne' was performed with an acoustic guitar, but they still managed to carry their alternative edge through the song, and closed on 'Loveblood,' taken from their last EP.
As I stress in each of my Sofar reviews, Sofar Sounds is special. It's amazing to be part of a performance and in a silence audience who are there to listen to new music, and the artist is able connect. As Nia so very cleverly put it, 'It's like a unicorn- it doesn't exist.' Apart from at Sofar! I would highly recommend to apply for a gig. There are 22 Sofar gigs coming up in London in December, so head down to one, or two, or three, or as many as you can get tickets for because it's that popular, or tune in to Sofar Sounds Radio each month to hear the round-up of what's been going on in Sofar all over the world. It's all pretty amazing!