Last Saturday, Mike and I had the absolute best night that we’ve had in a long time. Our cousin tagged us in an Instagram giveaway and we scored two free tickets to the next Sofar Sounds, Cleveland concert. What’s Sofar, you ask? Keep reading!
When you purchase your Sofar tickets, the only thing you know is the date and the city you’ll be in (Sofar is in 206 cities worldwide, including Cleveland, Nashville, and Indy). The night before your event you’ll be emailed a location and time.
Our location was Bad Racket Recording Studios in downtown Cleveland. It was a classic brick, industrial building with all the special touches for a secret event – old brick, sliding wooden doors, and exposed floors and beams. If there is one way of describing the feel of the event, I would say that it was very similar to a modern speakeasy. That “in a place after hours for an event that no one knows about” definitely lent an undercurrent of excitement in the air as we walked into our location.
Each event is small, like 80-100 people, small. There is no seating, no concessions; the food, drinks, and blankets are all BYO. As the room filled up and people spread their blankets and opened a bottle of wine or dug out a picnic basket of snacks, the event turned from feeling like a speakeasy to feeling like someone’s living room (albeit, someone’s very awesome, living room).
And that, is exactly what Sofar Sounds is all about. In fact, “Sofar” stands for “songs from a room.” The gig was started by a couple guys in England who were tired of going to events where everyone was on their phones and you couldn’t even hear the music. They aspired to create events where musicians could share what they love to do with a group of people who are there for the music. The shows are recorded, so the crowd is asked to focus on the music (and not conversation) during the acts. It is literally, 100%, all about the music. And the music was. amazing.
We got there early so yea. These are my shoes and that’s the band. We kiiinda had the best seat in the house. Be jelly.
Daniel Rylander: Great voice and talented musician. He was a bit on the sweet side for me, however. I like my music the same way I like my food – salty, not sweet. Never the less, he was a nice way to open the evening.
Wolfman and the Air Ship Captain: This band made all my 90’s, Smashing Pumpkin dreams come true. I would describe their sound as a blend between the Pumpkins and 30 Seconds to Mars. Loved em.
The Riflery: These guys were so fun to watch. I knew it was a good sign when they started to play and they rocked the posters right off the walls – seriously! Their music was described as a cross between Third Eye Blind and Tom Petty (how great of a mash up is that?). Not only were they a great act, but you could literally feel the fun and passion pouring out of these guys. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched them rock. Definitely a great group to see live.
The New Schematics: These. Guys.
Man, I’m not sure I have words to describe their (early, Gold era) Ryan Adams’ sounds and their incredible, make-me-feel-all-the-feels lyrics. They were just so good. Again, they reminded me of all that was so special about 90s rock with their alt-country jams. And their lyrics! Guys, at one point I couldn’t look at them because I
kinda totally teared up at their inspiring words. They’re currently on their “Born Without Borders” tour and they say stuff like “believing looks a lot like gambling,” which, if you could have only been in my own, personal living room during dinner before this show, you would have heard a conversation between Mike and me that basically ended with, “I know this doesn’t make sense, but we just have to go for it.”
The Riflery and The New Schematics are both from Nashville and are currently touring together. Be looking for their names in the future, folks.
The Inside Scoop
I loved our Sofar Cleveland experience for so many reasons. I loved that it really was all about the music. I love the excitement that all the secrecy and changing locations added to the event. I loved the variety of bands and yes, even the audience. I think Sofar draws people who simply love music because you truly don’t know what you are getting when you sign up. Not just people who love that one song *eye roll*. I love that you bring your own blanket and snacks with you. I love that the goal is to just sit back and enjoy the show.
And enjoy, we did. Sofar Sounds’ slogan is “Bringing the magic back to live music.” Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost that magic of being in a room with a group of people who aren’t famous yet (but might be on their way), and just sharing in the love of music. Of a drum cadence that you feel in your chest and a song lyric that you feel in your soul. But while we may have lost our way, Sofar Sounds is doing their best to lead us back.
Thanks so much, Sofar Cleveland. We will definitely be back. (But not too soon. Once you’ve been to a show you have to wait before being allowed to return, to make room for new Sofar Sounds’ fans!)
If you are interested in attending a Sofar Sounds event, you can register at: www.sofarsounds.com
If you are in the Cleveland area and would like to host an event, please contact Jeanette at: Clevelandsofar@gmail.com
Jeanette said they are in need of more host venues, so please, contact her if you can help out this amazing organization!
For more information about Bad Racket Studios, visit them at: http://badracket.com/