For live music, venues don’t get much cosier than your own living room. Sofar Sounds has been putting gigs on in people’s homes since 2009; starting in London and spreading to 240 countries. All you need to do to attend Sofar’s intimate gigs is apply for a free ticket on its website. If the application is successful, you’ll receive an email inviting you and your plus one to its next event.
Therese Watson is the co-leader of Sofar Sydney. When she’s not organising Sofar’s artists and volunteers, Watson is teaching music, or playing her own.
“We’re in a different venue every month,” Watson says. “We’ve been in people’s backyards, we had one in the laneway behind someone’s backyard in Newtown. We’ve been in people’s lounge rooms ... We’ve had a few shows in Hibernian House.”
Previous gigs have included Louis London, Jones Jnr., Mustered Courage and Packwood. On Sofar’s website, there are videos of Karen O, Leon Bridges and Bastille performing in Dallas, New York and London respectively.
“We had our February show in a friend’s workspace in Marrickville. He’s a renewable engineer and makes machinery that helps solar-powered wind farms. We were in their big workspace area, which was really cool.”
Aside from hosting great music in unassuming spaces, Sofar has a mission to bring magic back to live music. These tunes aren’t simply background noise for beers, or something to be yelled over; Sofar asks guests to give performers their undivided attention (and to put away their phones). Sofar also withholds the line-up order, so guests cannot arrive late to see only the headline act. Considering Sofar’s global success, this strict ethos has clearly resonated with music-lovers around the world.
“Lots of people have applied to perform at our Sydney shows,” says Watson. “So we are listening to lots and lots of different music. At the moment we only have one show a month, but we’d love to amp it up. We just want to make sure it’s still an intimate experience and still has a ‘Sofar vibe’, rather than go, extravagantly, into venues that can hold hundreds of people.”
Until Sofar Sydney finds the resources to host more regular shows, invites are somewhat limited. But, if your application is unsuccessful, try again. Watson and the team are spreading the Sofar love by inviting different audience members each month. This way, everyone can have a chance to cram around a makeshift stage and enjoy some great music.
Sofar Sounds announces the date for its Sydney events at the beginning of each month. The artists and exact gig location aren’t revealed until the day prior.
The next Sofar Sounds Sydney gig is this Saturday, April 23. More details here.