On Monday 24th November, a student house hosted the first ‘Sofar sounds’ gig in Nottingham, with Bud, Rob Green and George Holroyd each playing sets.
If you have not heard of Sofar Sounds it is a live music concept that started in London and has now spread around the world. The basic premise is that artists play to small groups of people in secret spaces – the audience only find out the location on the day and who is playing when they turn up. You can apply to attend after signing up to the mailing list.
Opening the show was Bud, who set the tone for the rest of the evening. An upcoming act who herself has only just started at the University of Nottingham. Those that spoke to her before she played confirmed how sweet she was and her music reflected this with her vocals keeping the room enraptured. Her own song ‘Happy’, not the Pharrell Williams version, was the most memorable. It was amazing to experience a live band, her accompanying double bassist and acoustic guitarist, so close up without the distractions of a usual gig.
Next up was the most established of the artists: Rob Green and his band, who doubled as backing vocals. Their performance was truly impressive, dubbed the ‘Soul Prince of Nottingham’, his vocals and audience interactions were smooth and engaging. ‘Doubt’ was a stand out song for me, which took us all through a journey of tackling your demons. A great feature of Sofar gigs is the possibility to talk to artists afterwards, but many seemed to be too star-struck!
Finally, University of Nottingham’s own George Holroyd was last to perform. He also came across as genuinely grateful to playing, opening with an original called ‘Howl’ and including a medley of ‘Tessellate’ by Alt-J and ‘Lonely Boy’ by Black Keys. Holroyd had the audience whooping in appreciation at his extended guitar solo. It was a great end to an evening that celebrated Nottingham city and University talent.
What was so nice about the gig was the relaxed atmosphere; people sat or stood, focused on the music which was only meters away, but chatted and enjoyed a few beers in the breaks. The intimacy of the event also facilitated ‘behind the scenes’ opportunities such as witnessing a spontaneous jam session between Bud, Rob Green and his band in the conservatory!
All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, getting to see new acts (to me at least) in a unique setting alongside other people who were clearly big music fans – and all for free!
You can find out more and sign up to the mailing list here. (http://sofar.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=221a25da2bed82965fdbea893&id=4eac1bb983 )
Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu
Photo credit: Thea Martin