Indie Music concert brings to unexpected places
It’s easy to understand that the appeal, that was the concerts of the present of the unique opportunity to discover new artists and interact with musicians in an unconventional setting. Parker, a 23-year-old analyst for a federal consulting firm, hasn’t gone to too many concerts in the District, and yet, the Broods showed and marked her second Sofar experience. This is the way I would rather see music.
And three-time Sofar veteran Chelsea Iorlano, enjoyed the project’s founding the mission of the dissolving barriers between performers and audiences – I appreciate being able to focus in on the moment and be present for the music.
On a recent Saturday evening at Hyphen, an art gallery in Ivy City, guests sipped wine and beer while lounging on rugs spread over a concrete floor. Given the rain outside, you might have thought this was a relocated picnic. But it was actually a pop-up concert featuring Broods, a New Zealand synth-pop band.
On Aug. 1, Broods sold out the 1,200-capacity 9:30 Club. At Hyphen, the band was performing for a crowd of about 80.
This is the intimate atmosphere of Sofar Sounds, a concert series found in about 260 cities around the world. Sofar, which stands for “songs from a room,” aims to shut out the glitz, glamour and impersonality of modern music by forming connections between performers and audiences in organic spaces.
D.C.-area concerts take place several times a week. Guests can either buy a $20 ticket for a guaranteed spot or “apply” for a random pay-what-you-want ticket. For each concert, the location and lineup remain hidden until the day before the show, although guests know the neighborhood when they sign up. The setup ensures concertgoers are going for the experience, not for a specific artist.
The series launched locally in 2013, but lasted only a few months. Fitz Holladay, Sofar’s city director for Washington, revived it in March 2015, and it began sputtering along with about one show per month. Now, Sofar hosts roughly 10 concerts a month, mainly showcasing various subgenres of indie music. In the past, artists have included the Summer Set and Vanessa Carlton, who performed at the Washington National Cathedral.
Sofar’s local success may have something to do with its dedicated fan base. Before the first act took the stage at Hyphen, one organizer polled the group: Who had been to a Sofar show before? Roughly one-third of the audience raised their hands.
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