It’s Thursday night, I’ve just finished work and stayed a few minutes extra so I can charge up my phone. It’s the kind of night you need to have your phone charged. I’m off to a Sofar Sounds gig in Seven Sisters in North London. I’m not quite sure where I’ll end up, so having Google Maps handy makes you realise why smartphones were invented.
This is my second Sofar Sounds gig and this time round, myself and my companion make sure we’re there early. Last time, it was jammers and we had creaks in our necks trying to get get a peek of who was playing. We know these gigs are in someone’s living room, last time it was in a converted warehouse, so we get a few goodies along the way. We arrive with the help of our trusty phones and realise that we got the timing spot on and a place on a couch in front of the stage area.
A little investigation tells us that this seems to be the third of three nights in Seven Sisters, with three acts on the bill.
The night starts off with Whilk and Misky who play their version of Portishead’s Glory Box. I was delighted to see these guys, I had played a couple of tracks on The London Ear but this was the first opportunity to see them live.
They’re an interesting pair with one half using 2 Ableton launchpads, a Livid Elements controller and a plethora of keyboards and gadgets to trigger beats and loops while the other plays an acoustic and electric guitar, an old fashioned silver mic (perhaps a Shure Super 55 fact fans) and has a controller for some really great vocal effects and reverbs on the singer’s gravelled voice.
I really like their sound, which I’ve dubbed ElectroCowboy, they combine contemporary sounds and beats with classic country/americana rock vocals. If they played for another two hours, I wouldn’t have moved from my seat. Really impressed, I want to see more.
Up next was The Migrant, a singer songwriter from Denmark, who has just released a new album ‘Flood’. Throughout his set, The Migrant tells little anecdotes, a tale about goats introduces his song ‘Climbers’. His sound is rooted in Folk/Americana and The Migrant possesses a pure tone to his voice which keeps you intrigued.
Known to his friends as Bjarke, The Migrant tells of how we always think foreign languages sound exotic but he says he think Danish sounds like ‘you are speaking with potatoes in your mouth’. That didn’t stop the assembled crowd from attempting to sing in The Migrant’s native tongue. Really good set, the time flew by, it seemed too short.
Being so far north of the river Thames has it’s disadvantages on a skool night, like having to get home so you can get up the following morning for work. Unfortunately tonight, I was a victim of having to head to South East London. The time ticking on meant I only got to see Norma Jean Martine perform one song.
Norma Jean sang and played keys while she was accompanied by two players, one on guitar and one on cajon and percussion. While one song isn’t enough to decide what I thought, it was enough for me to know I’ll like to hear more of her music.
Sofar Sounds gigs are ‘secret’ with the exact address only begin disclosed the day before the event. They started in London but are now in over 100 cities worldwide and going on the two gigs I’ve been to, it’s easy to see why.
Tonight’s show was in another converted warehouse space, these are interesting places where people live and they so kindly let us invade. You never know who is going to be on the bill and there are enough people who want to hear music in a non chatty environment to make these evenings relaxing, enjoyable and refreshing. Now, if only I could get to a Sofar Sounds gig that was close to home.