SoFar Sounds

By Jake Ebdale

SoFar Sounds August - Karen O Listening Party for ‘Crush Songs' + sets from Elena Siljic, Michael Murray and Adventures with Rhubarb

A concert in someone's lounge. The stuff dreams are made of. Every now and then, you go to a show with a crowd full of idiots. It happens. Someone might be screaming into their iPhone, or drunkenly drowning out the music with inane chatter about how crap work was, or how good the $9 Heineken tasted. Basically, stuff you don't want to pay hard earned money to hear. So, what SoFar Sounds wants to accomplish is to put the emphasis back on the art of music performance.

A non-profit, passionate project that originated in America, this particular August event spanned across 70 cities around the globe, all on the same date, to bond over what's most important - the music itself. You'll be surprised at how many people forget that these days. And what was special, besides the three talented acts that played, was that Karen O - the singer of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs - had commissioned the world premiere of her debut solo album Crush Songs to be played at these events. Everyone else in the world has to wait two weeks. Woop!

Maybe the reason Karen O signed on is that SoFar is a great, refreshing idea - something sorely missed in the wider music industry, firstly because it's run by music fans for music fans - but also because of its spontaneous vibe. I was invited to a random location revealed on the day of the concert; the only information I had prior was to keep the night of August the 27th free. I had ten minutes to get into the venue. The door list was over its cap - so there's obviously still interest for this kind of thing.

There were bean bags on the floor, and drinks put on for the troubadours who were lucky enough to be there - and the acts, many of them uni students, were a talented bunch. The crowd is politely asked to be respectful of the music, which means phones on silent, no loud chatter - again, a really refreshing touch. Elena Siljic performed a lilting, dynamic number called ‘Slow Love' that should gain attention shortly, with a quiet guitar and cello combo that worked wonders for the setting. Second act Michael Murray was a passionate, loud fella whose foot stomping, acapella lament closed a punchy set full of fire. Rhubarb were eclectic, if a bit flat - but I admired the passion regardless. Who knows what the next SoFar Sounds could bring.

Look out for the next one, held in a living room near you. Register your interest here: