Saturday 8 October 2016

LIVE: Sofar Sounds Oxford at Sarah's house (7/10/16)

Last night I went to another brilliant Sofar Sounds Oxford, hosted beautifully by Sarah in her lovely living room! This time around I didn't take my camera along (pretty distracting in such a tiny space... it was definitely my first gig sat on a fireplace), and I was instead in charge of social media... tweeting photos and posting to Facebook, as well as my first ever live videos. It was a lovely evening with great artists and a bunch of wonderful people, raising money for Oxfam through their Oxjam Festival (the main Oxjam Takeover in Oxford takes place on 15th October, tickets here for a huge number of bands playing venues up and down Cowley Road.) 

If you don't know the history of Sofar, it was set up by a couple of guys who were sick of going to gigs with the audience talking during the sets, going to the bar etc (I know the feeling), so they started to host shows in their living room and as more people came, it spread and is now in over 270 cities worldwide. In the majority of places, most shows are still in living rooms, however Oxford Sofar takes place in so many brilliant locations (art galleries, cinemas, cafes) so last night was my first proper Sofar house gig, which is pretty cool. 

The show last night kicked off with country brothers Loud Mountains, who are from the USA but now based in Oxford. It wasn't until after the show that I figured I'd seen them before supporting Neverlnd almost a year ago at the O2. Last night, rather ironically as they both played our Oxjam show a year ago, the duo reminded me of a mix of Adam Barnes and Chris Ayer. They play the proper Oxjam takeover a week today so you can catch them then, and check out this beautiful track She's A Fire, performed for the Green Chair Sessions.

Loud Mountains

Next up was another American artist, Meredith Baker, a singer-songwriter who studied her MSc in African Studies at Oxford University and who has played a few Sofar shows around the world, but not in Oxford, so it was a pretty special one for her. Her album Maybe I Won't Come Home Tonight features many of the tracks she played last night, including Reggae My Blues Away (video from another Sofar) which encouraged a big sing-along!

Meredith Baker

After Meredith, we were lucky to have Nigel Powell, AKA The Sad Song Co., who is a drummer for his day job, touring pretty relentlessly with Frank Turner. With a new album to promote, it was his first solo set in eight years, the opening night of a mini tour (including a free London show, details here), so we were very lucky! I hadn't listened to his music before but he had me at that name... we all love a sad song, right?! 

The Sad Song Co.

Finally, I was very happy to see The Fusion Project play for the first time, having missed their performance at another Sofar Oxford in Worcester Chapel  previously. Usually far stronger in numbers they played a fairly stripped back but impressive set, opening with their cover of one of my favourite tracks, Ed Sheeran's track for The Hobbit, I See Fire - which you can see in its full glory here! With the mission of taking "the immense depth and beauty of Indian Classical music to a wider audience in the West", they are headlining a huge show for Tigmus at The Sheldonian Theatre, the first night of its kind to take place in the venue, which is traditionally a venue for Western classical music. It's going to be a great night and tickets are available here - please come and join us! Also a little mention to Josh, who plays bass for the guys as well as Little Brother Eli, who are playing as part of our Tigmus season at the O2 Academy Oxford next Friday - it'd be great to see some of you there too!

The Fusion Project

All in all a brilliant show - the next Sofar Sounds Oxford show is free as part of a family fun day at the New Theatre on 15th October, with the next regular show on 4th November (I won't be there as I'm seeing Dawes that night but can guarantee you a great evening if you choose to go along!) 

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