On Monday March 25th I went to my second Sofar Sounds show. This time it was at an old bodega in Bushwick which was converted into an apartment. The living room was surrounded by windows, one even still holding a blinking OPEN sign. It was a cold and rainy night, one of those nights where the sky literally feels as if it is spitting on you. I didn’t think that many people would show up to this show off of the JMZ. But, to my amazement the room was filled by the time I got there at around 7:55. (I am terrified of being locked out of these shows). Sofar shows are always really incredible. The environment itself is amazing. These people have committed to a night of mystery. They do not really know where they or going or what they are going for. It is very much this desire to experience something they haven’t experienced in an environment that Sofar creates in these random destinations. The environment always acts as a sanctuary, this safe haven where you simply just sit there and listen to these intimate performances.
The first act was by Jack Cote, front man of the band Blacklight Dinner Party. Performing some original songs and some stripped down Blacklight Dinner Party songs. I knew of Blacklight Dinner Party before from their music video for the song “We are Golden,” which Cote performed acoustically on Monday. The stripped down versions were all beautiful, his voice standing alone with an acoustic guitar and away from the electronic beats featured in his band was really wonderful.
The second band, Plume Giant, a band made up of recent Yale graduates Nolan Green, Eliza Bagg, and Oliver Hill, performed with accordions, guitars, keyboards, and violins. Their sound echo’s the sound of Mumford and Sons, with even more Americana added. They create a sound much bigger than one would expect from a trio, their voices all vary in range but together they unite them in the smoothest way. They even broke out the Omnichord for their song “Bell of the Ball”.
The third band Yellowbirds was another breath of fresh air. Their recordings do not do them justice. Sam Cohen, the vocalist, guitarist and creator behind Yellowbirds has been making music for years. His other band Apollo Sunshine, which was formed with some peers at Berklee College of Music in early 2000’s, shows a whole other side of Cohen’s musical talent. In Yellowbirds the use of echo and reverb on his guitar fills each song with a wonderful retro sound, reminding you of how great Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly were. You can’t help but fall in love with Cohen a little bit. Being joined with bassist Annie Nero and her husband Josh Kaufman the band is completed.
The last band Superhuman Happiness really made the entire night. Led by multi-instrumentalist Stuart Bogie who although usually plays the saxophone at shows, played the clarinet all night long, jammed alongside his band mates. Guitarist Luke O’Malley stole the show with their song “See Me on My Way”, which has a great music video to go along with it. On the same record label as Yellowbirds, the Royal Potato Family label seems to really pick only incredible bands.