Image: Callum Pitt by William Hunter
SoFar Sounds works on a need to know basis, and for these intimate gigs all you need to know is the venue, when to arrive and if you can bring your own booze. Everything else is pretty much a tight-lipped secret until you walk through the door.
I find myself in the secret cinema room downstairs in the Quilliam Brothers Tea House with around 30 people crammed in to the modest space. After compère Mat lays down the law of SoFar etiquette we dive straight in to the first of the three acts.
SoShe are an alternative R&B band and are positioned ready for the daunting task of performing with people literally sat at their feet. Normally a three-piece, one member sits on the sidelines for moral support as vocals and guitar take centre-stage for an authentic acoustic performance. Performing lead single Something About The Way, singer Dana’s natural soulful tone shines and the sheer power of her voice stuns everyone in the room. SoFar doesn’t use any methods of audio amplification so it’s a treat to have a group like SoShe who can be heard all too well. After a short interruption for some late tea orders, the gorgeous guitar and vocal set play another two songs interlaced with romantic lyrics, wholly capturing the hearts of the room.
Next, indie folk singer-songwriter Callum Pitt switched up the genre. Accompanied by percussion and keys for this show, Callum charmed the room with his expert guitar picking skills. Although the vocals were hard to hear at times, due to the layers of instruments, the melody and harmonies that came from this set were exquisite. Particular standouts are Least He’s Happy and Out of the Water, which showed off Pitt’s skill to transition in to an effortless falsetto. His musicality really shone, with a harmonica making an appearance to turn the folk vibe up to ten.
The final set came from The Old Pink House. Opting for a more acoustic setting we were treat to one member out of three, Chris, and his guitar. Still a rather new band, the front man confessed that this was only their fifth time performing the material and chose to apologise in advance for being ‘criminally unprepared’. Still, the effortlessness of the set showed the raw talent behind this band and this continued to shine on the quality of the vocal. Although for the most part I admit I was distracted out of fear that Chris’ chewing gum would either fall out of his mouth as he was singing, or he would choke on it. Distractions aside the lyrics on show were altogether filled with angst that matched the pain the singer could create with his vocal. Acoustic version of lead single So Bad, which is steadily gaining momentum, closed out the show with deafening applause.
SoFar Sounds is a special experience allowing us to engage with an eclectic mix of genres in a very intimate setting. Their next event is at Nancy’s Bordello, Newcastle on Wednesday 26th October. Get yourselves along for a surprising night out.