Tuesday 17 November 2015

LIVE: Sofar Sounds Oxford at The Hatch (16/11/15)

With exams and the Christmas break approaching, I went to my last Sofar Sounds show in Oxford for a couple of months last night. It was at a quirky space run by 3Space, a converted Barclays bank which is now used as office space for charities, start-ups etc. The line-up this time included three local acts I'd previously seen: Esther Joy Lane, Liu Bei (Richard Walters solo set) and Little Brother Eli, alongside London based Lowpines. 

Jo has made a handy playlist below with a track from each of the acts who all played brilliant sets. One of my favourite things about Sofar shows is how they can bring together music fans who have come with no idea what they're going to hear, and the line-ups can be pretty varied in terms of genre, but they always seem to come together really well. A particular favourite for me was Liu Bei's Richard Walters, who performed a beautiful solo set and had a great, comical rapport with the audience. Little Brother Eli, who I recently saw play alongside Esther Joy Lane, supporting local band Balloon Ascents, played a more stripped back set, down two members, but frontman Alex retained his charisma and energy, with the band also showcasing some pretty nice harmonies. Esther Joy Lane is creating somewhat of a buzz in the local music scene, with a recent two page feature in Nightshift, Oxford's music magazine. Playing her fairly unique electronic music, in theory, her set should've stuck out like a sore thumb among three acoustic sets, but it worked! Her music isn't what I'd usually listen to, but having seen her twice now, I've enjoyed both sets - take a listen to her track Travelling Light in the playlist below. Opening the night was Lowpines, playing fully unplugged - an idea which he admitted had sounded pretty daunting as he'd miss reverb... but reverb-less guitar aside,  and the fact that it was so quiet I felt guilty taking photos, I loved his set, and definitely approved of the cassettes he was selling at the merch stall - very retro.

It is weird to think it's been a year since I first contacted the Sofar Oxford guys and started taking photos at the shows, I've seen some great live music in really interesting venues and met a bunch of lovely guys - here's to getting along to more shows in 2016! I'm really happy with the shots I got at the show last night, here are a few of them, and a couple more are up on my Flickr here.

Esther Joy Lane
Liu Bei (Richard Walters solo)
Little Brother Eli

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