Ed note : I had a very quintessential Brooklyn experience getting blindly taken to a Sofar event back in June by a girl in a sundress and it involved plenty of shitty beer and a cool art gallery and random people from Dubai and some cool tunes and life affirmation and love swirling around in the breeze and such and yeah so i wanted to write about it but i’m very scatterbrained and have too much on my plate but thankfully Emily is a real dope NYC-ite who writes cool stuff for us and agreed to go check another Sofar show out so yeah here it is n’ stuf.
Ever heard of Sofar? Me either, until semi-recently. The only thing I can think to compare it to is your one friend that has a really cool apartment (rooftop, actual living room, space for more than three people… We all have one) decides to invite up and coming artists to perform in the privacy of their home with a limited amount of people.
Sound awesome? It was.
Perfect way to spend a New York City summer night? Yep.
Sound too good to be true?
This is how it works: Sofar can be found in cities all over the world (260 to be exact) and carefully selects three up and coming musical acts for small, music-focused (more on that) shows. For NYC, it is broken up into dates/neighborhoods. Once you find the night and the ‘hood you’d like to see some live music in, you click “attend” and keep your fingers crossed that you’re selected. If you are able to secure a spot on the list, an address will be sent out to you a night or two before the show. For the most part, these are BYOB so you can focus on the sounds instead of waiting in line at the bar. Can I get a hell yeah?
What sets these shows apart from most (no opener or headliner -just three expertly curated acts with equal playing time) is that they are entirely centered on the performances and, frankly, all concerts should be this way. That means: no one in front of you documenting the entire set on Snapchat, no drunk girl screaming at her boyfriend during a great song and no “Freebird!” shouts from the crowd.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect the night of the set. My best friend and I were traipsing through the streets of downtown Manhattan on a hazy evening – in search of a breeze, air conditioning, and a potential drink or three. A few winding streets later, we stumbled upon our secret location for the night.
We were lucky enough to attend a show at Ilegal Mezcal’s homebase in the West Village. First of all, yeah, Sofar grants you the opportunity to hang out and listen to incredible music in the West fucking Village. Think of the living room floors you could be sitting on, people. Upon walking in the space already had fulfilled my dreams as it had twinkly lights EVERYWHERE and free mezcal cocktails throughout the night. In terms of the music selection, our anticipations were high. We had stalked out past sets and the artists looked incredible. My favorite of the evening was Jojo Abot (CHECK HER OUT), who was able to get a group of people up and dancing from relaxing on the floor.
We were also able to catch up with Brandy Cerne, an Assistant Director with Sofar NYC, who gave us a glimpse into what it’s like to work for a company providing such unique music experiences throughout NY (and the world!) As the Assistant Director, Cerne oversees booking, marketing and public relations for Sofar in the NYC area. She started volunteering with Sofar as part of their ambassador program during February 2015 and was thrilled to take on the opportunity to work full-time this past June.
On her what her favorite aspect of working with such a unique organization, “It’s a global community. When we travel, we can link up with Sofar members in other cities – go to a show, stay on their couch or grab a drink together. Everyone is friendly, inclusive and has similar values – we like to say that no one has their ‘cool hat’ on.”
What a breath of fresh air that is from the music scene in the city!
Cerne also shared with us one of her favorite memories of a Sofar show, “There’s something special about showing up to an unknown location without knowing who you’re going to see. When I was still attending as a guest, I was lucky enough to arrive at a Tribeca apartment and have Karen O play a surprise set. Listening to her sing “Moon Song” in a dark apartment, where you could hear the sound of cars on a rainy street outside, remains one of my favorite NYC memories.”
Safe to say I am fully on board with the Sofar concept and will be signing up for as many as possible to get the opportunity to attend again – keep an eye out for more, and maybe we’ll be sitting on the same living room floor sometime soon.FOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD