By Katie Shepherd
While it’s without question that every night spent with Sofar Sounds is something special, from time to time you find yourself at a night of live music so stirring that it still crosses your mind even weeks after it’s passed. New York’s latest Sofar was that kind of exception: the perfect blend of an intimate space, eager listeners and the unique buzz of a Friday night.
The night unfolded with the return of Sofar NYC favorite Topaz Jones. Having played for us with his full band earlier in the year and then surprising us again with a smaller set at the Cole Hahn offices, we had already seen Jones’ versatility. This time, he and his band concluded by serenading our own Jodie and Vanessa, captivating us all with his fresh style of hip-hop and reminding us once again why he is one to watch.
Up next, Gabriel Rios mesmerized the room with songs influenced by his Puerto Rican heritage. Leading on guitar, Rios’ music displayed a certain sexiness, underscored by the provocative accompaniment of cello and bass. As if we were already reeled in, Gabriel shared that he would tease listeners with one new track a month for the next twelve months, until his entire new album is shared.
If you haven’t brushed up on contemporary beatboxers, get yourself on YouTube and sit in absolute wonder at the skills of Mandibul and 2012 American Beatbox champion, Tiago Grade. This duo shared their unmatchable skills, from lighthearted beats (which encourage both twerking ladies and a valiant gent or two) to rich storytelling. In short, this pair have us all wondering, “How exactly the do they do it?”
Our evening ended with the crowd begging for an encore from the bluesy folk vibes of The Dirty Urchins. After a recent reshuffling of members, the stunning Julia Haltigan lead the way on vocals, her soulful voice ripping through the room like a member of a gospel choir. The Brooklyn-based trio is no doubt doing acoustic folk rock right.