Melissa found herself on the top floor of The Biscuit Factory, a space boasting Exotica dance classes and nude drawing sessions, of corse it’s Sofar Sounds.
Nestled in Cluedup Coffee, on the top floor of The Biscuit Factory – a space where studio doors throughout the building boast Exotica dance classes, and nude drawing sessions – this felt like exactly what a Sofar Sounds should be. Intriguing, exciting and a little off-kilter.
Inside Cluedup Coffee was appropriately Sofar-esque, too: a mishmash of people huddled on sofas, or cross-legged on rugs, drinking everything from White Lightning to gin and tonic. There’s a buzz around the potential surprise of seeing an act you already like, or discovering something entirely new. And the Abbie McCarthy-curated line-up certainly didn’t disappoint, with Ten Tonnes, APRE and Lily Moore taking to the stage – a glimpse into Abbie’s top picks for the year.
It’s an intimidating setting, certainly, as each of the acts duly noted. While I don’t think for a minute anyone enjoys seeing a sea of the tops of people’s heads as they stare down at their phone while they’re performing, or fighting to be heard over drinks orders at the bar, there’s something to be said for the pressure of knowing everyone’s focused entirely on you. But, even if it is a little difficult for the performers, the respectful quiet is most definitely a good thing, and the resulting nervous stage chatter actually heightens the charming intimacy of the event.
Of course, they all power through it. Ten Tonnes won over the room with his distinctive brand of indie. Raspy vocals, 50’s influences and a set of stunning tracks including Love Me To Death which he rounded off with a “That one’s for all you lovebirds” worthy of Bill Nighy in The Boat That Rocked, made for a set which rendered everyone adoringly silent.
APRE combined their incredibly sleek, jangly indie-pop with unbridled charisma. Instrument swaps made room for playful quips which only heightened the warm intimacy of the evening, while the tracks themselves displayed an exciting talent that no doubt places APRE firmly in everyone’s ones to watch lists.
Rounding off the night, Lily Moore stunned the audience with her incredible soulful vocals. Though decidedly less talkative than the others – admitting once she started she wouldn’t be able to stop – she still managed to charm the room with a hugely powerful, but wonderfully humble presence. Drawing comparisons to Amy Winehouse, but really a powerhouse in her own right, Lily Moore perfectly brought the evening to a close.
It’s always a risk with Sofar Sounds – though we certainly trust Abbie McCarthy’s taste – and while the risk paid off with Ten Tonnes, APRE and Lily Moore, it almost doesn’t matter. What’s integral to Sofar is the environment, and the discovery of something new, and that’s exactly what was on offer.
By Melissa Svensen