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Review /// Sofar Sounds

We went to check out Sofar Sounds, which had it's fair share of surprises.

By Genevieve Hole
June 01, 2013
By Genevieve Hole
June 01, 2013

I had the pleasure of attending Auckland’s fourth Sofar Sounds session. I didn’t know what to expect – or much about Sofar Sounds at all really – and with temperatures plummeting again, braving the cold to do anything felt like a big ask. It seems skeptical, but I had to admit I was wondering if it would be worth it.

There is a reason I didn’t know much about Sofar Sounds it appears. Sofar claims to curate secret, intimate gigs in living rooms around the world. It turns out Auckland is one of the most recent cities to jump on board and join over 35 other countries.

Last night we found ourselves not quite in a living room but in a shared office loft space in Britomart. Despite any digging I attempted to do about the line-up I was as clueless as the other guests as to who would be performing.

First up was the softly spoken young Eden. Many of us recognized the young brunette from New Zealand's X Factor. She’s one of those people who really suits her name; Eden - sweet, delicate and very quietly spoken. Her performance however was something else. She had one of those incredible voices that could be super powerful, and yet very light and beautifully fragile at the same time. As I was mulling over how she reminded me of a young Fiona Apple, a guy bounded up next to me, looked out at Eden and grinned. X Factor judge, singer-songwriter and Eden’s musical mentor Daniel Bedingfield had all the pride of a father watching his daughter’s first school play. And rightly so, perhaps an early exit off X Factor will be a blessing for Eden.

Next up we had Great North – a trio from the North Shore who’ve experienced a growing loyal following after the release of their first EP in 2009. I’m a sucker for harmonies, so when the three voices fused together there was definitely something special going on – for me at least. A lovely rich and robust sound filled the space had us captivated for the whole set.

The lead referenced an obscure piece of US history as inspiration for one of the songs performed, and with a harmonica thrown in there for good measure, a definite Mid-West vibe was going down.

Finally we had a duo by the name of Bluebird Avenue, who had been together for 10 years (under a different guise for some of that time). The two lads provided a charming acoustic set and the addition of the slide guitar kept the Mid-West feeling alive until the end of the night.

There was something quite special about Sofar Sounds. It felt ‘grass roots’ in the best possible way. A wonderful platform to showcase emerging artists with a small, intimate audience of discerning but supportive music lovers. If that sounds like you, send in a request to be on June guest list. All the info is on the Sofar Sounds Auckland Facebook page . If you’re lucky enough to be giving the nod, you never know who you could see performing.

Sofar definitely feels like one of those classic contradictions. There is the temptation to tell everyone how incredible it is; yet in the words of Frank the Tank, you want to “keep it on the down low because it’s not quite street legal.” Well said, Frank – and yes, despite the bitter weather, there’s nowhere I would have rather been that night.

Published on June 01, 2013 by Genevieve Hole
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