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So near, so far, Sofar Sounds LA

"Pop up" stage for Sofar Sounds event in Silverlake, Los Angeles.
"Pop up" stage for Sofar Sounds event in Silverlake, Los Angeles.
Ross W. Meredith

There are a few ways one might experience a Sofar Sounds event. Perhaps you responded to an email and were selected to attend. Perhaps a friend invited you to a night of music. Perhaps you stumbled upon their website or one of hundreds of Sofar Sounds YouTube videos. Or perhaps, you are a budding or established musician performing. However it happens, you will be thrilled.

Sofar Sounds feels mysterious, secret, intimate and unplugged. As of May 2014, the count was 85+ cities and 65 gigs worldwide so maybe it's not so secret anymore. However, the location still is. With pop up locations ranging from living rooms, art galleries, or even backyards. Handmade printed signs direct all to the show. There are beautiful people milling around the makeshift, organic stage. Once the time has come most people choose to sit on the ground surrounding the performing artists.

The heart of Sofar Sounds is to create a unique space to "spotlight amazing emerging artists" with a do-it-yourself vibe. It is rumored that the creator was tired of large concerts where elbowing through a sea of people watching the show through their smart phone screen had become commonplace. This is not to say that photos and video are discouraged. People here are just more respectful and don't do it. The one rule is to use the official hash tags and screen names to give proper recognition to the artists.

The most recent Sofar Sounds blossomed between crying babies, random fireworks and the motorcycles of the Los Angeles neighborhood, Silverlake. That did not stop beautiful, underground, cutting edge music from ringing clear. The lead vocal singer of Rusty Maples quipped that Naomi Wachira's crooning was syncing up with the crying baby. Rusty Maples set was lively Americana-esque pop. Vanaprasta played a set with eerie, electronic vocals and a driving bass line.

The stars aligned for a wonderful night of unplugged music keeping the Sofar Sounds tradition alive. Even though there were unwarranted noises of the neighborhood it actually added to the ambiance and uniqueness of this event. The night ended in conversations with the musical artists discussing plans for upcoming shows and newcomers signing up for the email newsletter. Therefore ensuring the continuation of this distinct music platform.