Sofar Sounds London - 20 August 2014
Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. (Jimi Hendrix)
I like honesty. Because it makes it possible to experience a moment in its purest form. It keeps it real. No matter if it hurts or not. When the truth hits you in this chaotic, rushing world, it often aches. But there’s “one good thing about music: when it hits you, you feel no pain” (Bob Marley). Music calms me down, makes me speechless a lot of times and shows me how beautiful honesty can be and how important honest moments are.
Finding the place of the Sofar gig was not difficult but really interesting. The place was a former warehouse in an industrial area. When I entered the venue I had to stand still and stare for a second. It felt like I just entered a film set and I definitely didn’t want to interrupt the filming. The warehouse looked absolutely comfortable and lively, some people in the big kitchen made tea and coffee or drank beer, I heard conversations, interrupted by honest laughter. Robin, one of the musicians, gave me a warm welcome and helped me to find Ben, the host of the concert. Ben told me that he already organized a Sofar gig in that warehouse some time ago and was really looking forward to do it again.
Bella Figura was the opening act of the evening. Justin Gartry (Guitar & Vocals), Mikey Cooper (Bass) and Rhys Maslen (Drums & Cymbals) looked amazing between the Piano and the green colours of the room-plants.
Justin has a deep, warm and sometimes rough voice that made me want to drink a nice whiskey, sitting on the veranda of a wooden house, looking at the forest. After the song “Better Man” they admitted that their music is normally different: “We are doing the best we can, usually we are actually really loud. More scratchy and noisy. We were not sure if this would work. So this is new for us as well.” It worked.
Bella Figura’s song “Somebody new” will be released on the 8th of September! Go buy it, support them, listen to their music again and again. People will definitely talk about this band. And on top of playing wonderful music, they are the band with the most beautiful business cards in the industry. Believe me.
For fans of: Kings of Leon, Biffy Clyro (Acoustic), Brother&Bones, Kassidy.
Fawn, the second act of the night, looked absolutely stunning with lovely red lipstick and a white summer dress. Her electric guitar was a perfect accessory to the beautiful elvish looking clothing style.
Her voice was absolutely remarkable: joy and hope, despair and anger followed one another in seconds. But not for a single moment the melody got fragile or unauthentic. Her voice stayed straight, clear and pure. She encased the audience that was sitting silent and wondering. During Fawn’s performance I was not brave enough to make photos, because I knew that every little sound of the camera would have been disruptive. I bet that I’m not the only one who still had the little sing-along in my head, even after she finished playing her songs. So please, “do it again, do it again, do it again and again and again.”
For fans of: London Grammar, Imogen Heap, Damien Rice, Rebekka Bakken.
Bearded Justin of Bella Figura introduced the third band: Shadow Culture. He scratched the back of his head, laughed and said: “I’m more nervous announcing the next band, than during my own performance.” He had the laughs of the audience on his side. Honesty. I’m not the only one who likes it.
Two girls and four boys were sitting in front of the audience. Ben (the host) sang together with the beautiful Gingerhead whose voice gave me goosebumps. When they started to play their first song I heard a mixture of rock like ‘I Blame Coco’ and the drum sounds in the songs of ‘Imagine Dragons’ with a lot of ‘Shadow Culture’s’ own style of music. I loved it. Their song, called ‘Animal’ had parts that made my heart beat faster, the whole song just built up and slowed down just to built up again, electrifying, making a mess to bring it in an order again.
They told the audience that they exist as a band in that formation for only three months and that it was their first gig together. I couldn’t believe it, they seemed like a band existing for years, really working together. With a cover of Nick Cave’s song “Push the sky away”, they ended their performance. One line of the lyrics is still stuck in my head because, of course, it was so honest in that moment and even after that: “Some people say it’s just rock ‘n’ roll. Aw, but it gets you right down to your soul”. It got the people right by their souls, I asked them.
For fans of: Imagine Dragons, I Blame Coco, The National.
Yuri Kono was the last act in the warehouse. She inspired with her striking rareness. She is cute, funny and different. The songs she played were piano pieces she performed on her own in the past. That evening she had strong support from one of her usual band members Paul, and Robin who was the one who welcomed me earlier.
Yuri’s fingers danced on the piano keyboard while Paul played the drums and Robin accompanied the swirling melodies with spacy sounds from a small mixing machine. The music gave her rare wonderful voice a lovely frame. She tried new things with instruments, lyrics and a voice and boldly did what she likes. Don’t ever change that, Yuri! Paul switched instruments after a while: He held a bow for a contra bass in one hand, a musical saw in the other and conjured tones, that really amazed me. Yuri’s song ‘At Dusk’ was an amazing last song of her set, as well as of the whole evening. The moving green disco-spotlights that were reflected at the white wall the whole evening, exploded with the beat of the music.
To all the music lovers who want to get to know her or want to see her again: You can see and hear her live and in colour at the Portobello Road Market on the 16. October. Don’t. Miss. It.
For fans of: Björk, Kate Bush
On my way home, I had to smile the whole time.
I believe in music. I believe that music can bring people together. I believe in friendships that only last one evening. (It’s just getting a little bit complicated when you find somebody actually interesting and want to talk to that person, but then they leave and you couldn’t even say goodbye properly, because you have to work and you just feel really rude.)
I believe in honesty. And I believe that there is nothing more honest than music.
Words & Photos by Johanna