I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. I’m not a gifted musician. I can’t sing. And my one-time killer recall for all things music trivia is lost somewhere in the recesses of my murky mind. But man, do I love a good band. I love listening to them in a crowded room, full of people who are swaying to the beat with their head tilted, eyes closed. I love being surprised by lyrics that seem to crawl right out of your own head. I love the way a guitar riff or drum beat can transport your head and your heart to another time and place altogether.
I. Love. Music.
Last year, my husband and I were introduced to Sofar Cleveland and absolutely fell in love with this new, underground movement of music.
Sofar stands for Songs From A Room, and was started in London in 2010. Sofar is now in 274 cities around the world, including Cleveland! The goal of Sofar is to bring back the intimate feel of music and to bring artists and music lovers together for the sake of one thing: the music.
There aren’t any headliners or opening acts at a Sofar show. Nothing is provided outside of the location and the music: no food, no drinks, and sometimes, not even chairs. You show up with snacks, beverages, and a blanket, and settle in just like you would at a friend’s house. The acts themselves aren’t revealed until you are at the event, and the event’s location isn’t revealed until the day before the show.
The secrecy, the anticipation, and the paired down feel of Sofar events make it one of the most incredible and special ways I’ve ever experienced bands.
We were recently invited back for another Sofar show, and it was just the coolest experience ever. We drove to our destination, which turned out to be a boat docked right on Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, directly across from THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME. The boat, Barge 225, houses the offices of Arras Keathley Advertising and Lean Dog Software Company. Pretty cool digs for a show, right? I about died when I realized where our show was that night. It was literally the coolest thing about my life at the moment.
The night started with hopes of an outdoor show and was kicked off by the lovely and incredibly talented Michelle Gaw. But shortly into her set, the weather pushed us indoors.
Inside, Cold Weather Company, a New Jersey based independent alternative folk band, wowed us with their tight harmonies and incredible vocals. Stay Outside, Indie rockers from Indianapolis, came in with a perfectly moody rock that wasn’t’ afraid to get a little gritty.
Moving inside only made the experience more intimate; more authentic. We left the show that night with our hearts full and our bodies swayin. It was a GOOD night.
If you love music, then you need to find the nearest city for Sofar performances and get your name on the list. You apply to get into the shows, so it might take some time. They try to spread around the Sofar love and give everyone a chance, and they keep the performances small, so just because you sign up doesn’t mean you’ll get to attend the next performance. Whether it takes one try or ten, get yourself to Sofar.
Sofar Cleveland is celebrating it’s second anniversary in October. They’ve already hosted some stellar bands in really sweet locations. I can’t wait to see how they grow and where they go from here.
Elvis Presley said, “Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t help it.”
Music makes me feel things. It makes me move. It’s not just a band or a song, it’s an experience. Sofar brings together people who want to share that experience and, trust me, you can’t help but fall in love with it.
What about you? Have you been to a Sofar show? What city was your performance in, and how was your experience? I’d love to hear from you, especially Sofar attendees from other cities/states/countries. What are some great bands from Sofar shows you’ve attended?
For more information on Sofar Cleveland, click here.
To read about my first Sofar experience, click here.