I sat in a room filled with music lovers and watched and listened (and yes, tweeted and photographed -- may as well admit it now, since I'm caught on tape doing just that in one of the videos!) and couldn't help but feel blessed and fortunate that this exists.
"This," in case you're wondering, is Sofar. AKA Songs From a Room. From their Facebook page:
MissionOne of the best parts about this is that, once you're invited, you just get an address. That's it. You don't find out who is playing until you arrive at the venue:
Songs From A Room offers artists and music fans the unique opportunity to perform and experience intimate gigs in packed living rooms regularly. The movement is now going global with shows happening in New York, Paris and many other cities worldwide.
Songs From a Room began in March 2009 in the living room of singer songwriter and co-founder Passion Ate Dave. It is an innovative concept, dedicated to bringing the best of new music to an unplugged, intimate, unusual space or venue. Mix in a crowd of dedicated music lovers, other artists, and industry professionals, and you have an evening which promises electric performances and new networks.
I was allowed to bring a guest with me, so I called up a fellow music junkie, Brittany. I had to choose someone who would truly love the experience of not knowing the artists until we arrived and, since I knew Britt would roll with the punches AND had been to a Sofar show before, she was the perfect date!
We found great seats over on the fireplace hearth and anxiously awaited the music. Now, I'm not a Music Blogger. I just blog sometimes about music that I love. You won't find (m)any quotable quotes here, or flowery superlatives, but you can find those over at GoodBammSho (plus much better photos).
First up was Tom Bertram, wearing fabulous purple socks, from all the way across the pond. Fresh off some US tour dates, he drove to our Little D from Birmingham to play the show. Have to admit, I wanted to hear more from him, musically! Really enjoyed his two songs, and he was a wonderful MC for the rest of the afternoon. I may or may not have leaned over to Britt at one point and said "Good Lord, how cute is he? If only I were single and about 7 years younger..." Ah, well...
Next up was a trio from Austin called Haun's Mill. I knew just by looking at their clothing and their musical set-up (a toy piano? an accordion? TWO accordions?? A BANJO?!) that I was going to enjoy them, and I was correct. Also? Their children were adorable in their teeny tiny band shirts. I really loved their quirky sound, and I hope to catch them again soon.
Now, apparently, Ryan Thomas Becker is kind of a big deal here in Denton. Brittany flipped her lid when she saw them on the white board. She was right to. This group was incredible. RTB's voice just ripped my guts apart (in a good way, I promise), and this band, to me, epitomizes what I think Denton music really is. I could have easily listened to them for another hour.
The crowd at this show was awesome. A myriad different ages and types, everyone was respectful and supportive of every act in attendance. There was even a sweet pup who was definitely not lacking for love and affection as she wandered the room, obviously enjoying the music. The audience was encouraged to tweet, take photos, etc. and, minus a few obnoxious shutter sounds (the electronic kind -- you know you can turn that off, right?) it wasn't distracting at all.
Backwater Opera finished out the afternoon. Brittany and I moved to a spot on the floor to watch them, since the upright bass was starting to block our view from the hearth. This group is another that, in my opinion, is another perfect example of the Denton music scene. Blending chamber music and bluegrass (they call it "chambergrass," which I think is amazing), and drawing influences from Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies and stinky, 6-month old tuna melts (ew), they were incredibly compelling. I haven't done my research on this group, but I'm willing to bet a cup of Jupiter House's finest coffee that one or more of these members are products of UNT's world-renowned College of Music. I couldn't get enough of that violin!
In conclusion, spending an afternoon with the Sofar DFW crew was a perfect Saturday in my own little home town. I hope they come back to Denton very soon but, in the meantime, you can be sure that I'll be trying to get on more invite lists for their Dallas and Fort Worth shows! Visit their web site. Get on the mailing list...but before you do any of that, do yourself a favor and visit these artists' web sites and check out their music. You'll be glad you did.