|Sofar Sounds Charleston. Photo: Caleb Wilson|
On Friday, April 7th, Sofar Sounds hosted their first ever show in Charleston. In case you aren’t familiar with Sofar Sounds (Songs From a Room), they are a group founded in London in 2010 by a group of friends who started throwing concerts at their houses and recording videos of the bands that played. Today they help to organize shows in over 300 cities all around the world. The difference between a normal concert and a Sofar Sounds one is that at a Sofar Sounds show, the crowd is seated on the floor in front of the band and instructed to remain quiet and let the artist perform. This creates a more intimate setting with less distractions and allows you to fully focus on the music.
The idea of focusing on the music and showing respect for the artist is something that was already familiar to the Charleston music scene, so needless to say the Sofar Sounds philosophy was a hit in the Holy City. As is customary for a Sofar Sounds show, the artists and venue were kept secret until the day before the show. Everyone who RSVPed was notified via email that the address and lineup had been announced, with a link to the event page on the Sofar Sounds website with all relevant info.
This led up to Brave Baby, Faline, and Mechanical River playing a show at Sully Sullivan’s photography studio dowtown, which is basically a warehouse filled with art. Sully’s Studio was also the location of Brave Baby’s Electric Friends secret warehouse album release show back in 2015. The difference here being that the album release show was a raging party with a bar setup in the studio, whereas the Sofar Sounds show was a BYOB seated event that was absolutely centered around the artists and the sounds they create. It’s true that most concerts are centered around the music, but it’s a lot different when the crowd is jumping around and buying shots and taking selfies, etc. People at the Sofar Sounds show were still pretty lit, but while the bands played it was quietly lit, with intervals of house party vibes between sets.
|Faline at Sofar Sounds Charleston. Photo: Caleb Wilson|
The bands each had enough time to play 4 or 5 songs, and during the set there were cameramen around recording videos that will be released in the near future. Faline was up first, with a full band that included Alex Collier from Sunday Entertainment on keys, Chris Cool of Heyrocco on bass, and Michael Milam from Secret Guest on drums. I talked to Jenna (Faline) after the set and she hinted at “Illinois” being the song whose performance is released on video. She played her Elliot Smith-esque tunes to a fully attentive room and helped to set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Before any of the bands played, Owen “Buster” Brown came out and gave a little speech to introduce each one. When he introduced Mechanical River, he highly praised Joel, the brainchild behind the band and said that once upon a time he was Joel’s biggest fan to an extreme extent. I had never listened to Mechanical River before, so naturally this sent my expectations through the roof, and I can proudly say that Mechanical River lived up to the praise. Joel came out with an acoustic guitar and led a small string section through crooning folk songs that effortlessly captivated the room.
|Mechanical River at Sofar Sounds Charleston. Photo: Caleb Wilson|
The final band was Brave Baby, which included some members from the original lineup, and also some new members including Aaron Utterback from Human Resources. They opened with “Plastic Skateboard” and then played three new songs, including two unheard ones and then “Difficulture”, which was recently released on the Scene SC sampler. At the end of their set there was an encore chant, but the band wasn’t able to play another song, citing that they only knew the ones they came prepared to play. That may or may not have been true, but they certainly left us wanting more and guaranteed themselves an excited crowd for the next show.
Overall I think Sofar Sounds is a great addition to the Charleston music scene, and I look forward to the next event. According to the Sofar Sounds Charleston website, that will take place on May 19th at a currently undisclosed location. We’ll keep you posted on those live videos and get them up here as soon as they’re released. Cheers.
|Brave Baby at Sofar Sounds Charleston. Photo: Caleb Wilson|