By Joey Mueser | Staff Writer
Sounds From a Room, more commonly known as SoFar or SoFar Sounds, is a modern way to get to listen to artists in a very intimate and social setting. SoFar events are an application-based turnout where anyone can apply to see a show but only a few people are selected to attend.
There’s a catch, though. Those selected don’t find out who the artists are or where they will be performing until the day before the show. There is an odd sense of mystery that is involved in getting to experience SoFar, which adds to how interesting the shows are.
The process to apply is simple: Log on to SoFar’s website, set up an account, find a concert in the desired city and follow the basic steps to apply for a concert.
SoFar was founded in 2010 and is based in 371 cities across the globe. It has come a long way and has hosted artists from all over the spectrum of popularity. More widely known artists including Hozier and James Bay have performed at SoFar events, but the vast majority of shows will feature at least one artist they have never heard before, adding to the uniqueness and allure of these events.
SoFar Sounds will typically host at least one performance each month per city. As such, missing a show may be a bummer, but there will inevitably be another one next month.
The events are hosted by businesses, generous people or anyone who has a space big enough to hold a crowd of live music junkies and a performer. The audience members who attend are very respectful. The SoFar staff members are very kind and determined to ensure that everyone there is enjoying themselves properly.
Gasoline Street Coffee Company was the host of the most recent show. It has two small sitting areas, a few tables and a coffee and tea bar. The small, rustic spot claims their cold brew coffee to be one of the best in the area. It is a short walk from campus and boasts a very unique setting and vibe, perfect for any studying sessions.
Angela Autumn, the first performer and, coincidentally, a Duquesne student, kept to a country-based theme. By adding a couple harmonica solos in songs, she easily made the attentive audience feel as though they were listening to true country music. Her style was more classic country, not the pop-country which has taken over the genre in the past few years. Her music was easy to listen to and her performance enjoyable to watch because of the visual passion she had for her music. Amidst her soothing tones, Autumn’s track list was thickly scored with lyrical depth. Prior to the performance, I realized I was sitting in front of her mother. At one point, she turned to her friend who came with her and said, “I just have a feeling one day, I’m going to wake up, and she will have packed her bags (and guitar) and moved to Nashville.”
After a short 10-minute intermission, Kim Logan took the “stage,” which was merely a podium big enough to hold a speaker and herself. Logan typically performs with her full band, a fact she brought to the audience’s attention by admitting how nervous she was “without her boys behind her.”
If she really was nervous, it didn’t show in the slightest. Logan features a variety of musical genres on her debut self-titled album from 2013, but the main vibe she gives off is psychedelic rock. Logan demonstrated true vocal intelligence and range as she ripped through her verses and choruses without skipping a beat and showed great pitch, accuracy and intensity throughout her performance.
The final musician of the afternoon, Christen B, approached the stage with no guitar and only a little, black device no bigger than an iPad. Similar to a loop pedal, Christen would use the device to record a layer of her song and continually build upon that until the layering process was done.
By the end of the building portion, she would sing over the creation she just built, using it as homemade background music. During her first song, she got the audience involved by singing a line twice and having the crowd repeat it back to her, creating a sort of droning beat. By using her audience as a sort of manual loop pedal, Christen proved the technique to be a great way not only involve the audience in her song, but also warm them up to a very unconventional style of music. After the show, Christen elaborated on her love for SoFar and its audience, claiming them to always be the most interactive and respectful of all her shows.
Each SoFar event, tickets are typically free, but a donation is suggested in order to keep the company going or sometimes a donation is encouraged for a charity. At every event, SoFar calls to an incredibly unique crowd, so there are plenty of people to meet and converse with. A SoFar show is one worth seeing, so be sure to keep up with its website to not miss the next one. They offer such a unique experience – you won’t want to pass it up.