Being in the music industry, and in the position of a “buyer” I see (and am invited to) a lot of live music. Admittedly, I’m not out as much as many people I know, some in the music industry and some not, but still a great deal. I’ve been to most of the local venues, large and small. Showcases at restaurants, cafes, courtyards and offices. And hands down the most consistently rewarding viewing experience is the Los Angeles incarnation of Songs from a Room.
For those unfamiliar, Songs from a Room (or “Sofar”) is a music movement that started in London and is now in cities all over the world – São Paulo, Melbourne, Nashville, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Sydney, Dallas and many more. A selection of four or five artists play intimate sets in private living rooms; the sets are recorded and (often) livestreamed. The audience doesn’t know who the artists are until they arrive and, the Los Angeles events at least, are all BYOB.
I’ve been to four Sofar Sounds events over the past year, in apartments and homes in Park La Brea, Mt. Washington, Echo Park and Atwater Village. Every time I go there is always at least one artist performing I know and have been meaning to see (Jail Weddings, Leftover Cuties, Nightmare and The Cat) and several I’ve never heard of that impress the hell out of me (Jim Hanft, Marcus Very Ordinary, The Tontons).
This past Sunday night was no exception. I was delighted to finally catch Family of the Year and Ferraby Lionheart live, and happy to be introduced to Bay Area indie folk group, Big Tree. The real winner of the night however, was Run River North, a sextet from the Valley, who describe themselves as “gangster folk oriental,” and ended up in the public spotlight last month thanks to a music video they made in their Hondas (and Jimmy Kimmel). Any publishers, pitching companies or labels who might be reading this, snatch them up now – though I got the impression they were already being courted.
File Under: Of Monsters and Men. The Lumineers, heart, strings, earthy, harmonies, anthemic, foot tambourine
Never have I ever seen an audience honestly demand an encore from a band, especially one that practically no one had heard of before finding themselves in that living room. It was the kind of experience that makes Sofar Sounds so special.
To find out when the next Sofar Sounds is taking place in your city, check out the website and sign-up for the mailing list. Make sure to act fast though when you know the date – spots fill up fast. Ever since Urban Daddy published a short blurb on the organization, RSVPs for the Los Angeles event have tripled.
Interested in helping out? Donating money? Flashdrives? Your home? They welcome all of the above! There is even a fundraiser happening right now on Pledge Music. I donated, and you should too.
Run River North “Monsters Calling Home”