The condensation from a room packed full of breathing bodies gathered on the window and slowly rolled down the glass as beautiful sounds filled the air and joined each of us, mostly all strangers, with a shared love of sound. While the cold world lingered outside, we were all huddled together in a Seattle living room, blanketed with the warmth of music.
The crisp and frosty evening in the Fremont neighborhood began with my boots clacking down the dark street, past the Fremont Troll, and left onto 35th Street. The Sofar Sounds poster clung to the bushes outside the house, which sat up two flights of stairs from the sidewalk, and gently drew attention by swaying in the bitter breeze rising from Puget Sound.
Stepping onto the porch, the poster taped to the glass door and the soft light glowing inside invited people in off the chilly street. Upon entering the living room, I was immediately greeted by several old friends whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time. This evening was already shaping up to be fantastic, as I knew it would – as it always does when live music is involved.
Packed shoulder to shoulder like we were waiting for a sweaty rock show, the camaraderie amongst this group was a tangible thing. The house was warm and inviting and I felt as if I was gathered for a holiday with people I cared about.
As the first band took the ‘stage’ (i.e.: a corner of the living room by the windows), a hush came over the room and we all lowered ourselves to the floor and curled up into any available space. I was leaning back against someone’s legs as they sat on the couch behind me and one look between us let me know that it was okay; that even though we didn’t know each other, we were friends, joined by the circumstance and the music.
The band, Brite Lines, offered up a nostalgic-feeling performance by two dudes, armed with an acoustic guitar and a banjo, and who encouraged the audience to participate and sing along. With witty interactions and lyrics that spoke of giving it all up and living on the beach, these guys tugged at my heartstrings and reached out to the nomadic spirit of my soul.
OK Sweetheart was the second band and as they readied themselves, the very unassuming nature of the duo meant that I was vastly underprepared for what I was about to experience.
The singer, Erin, with her purple dress and brown boots, was in possession of the most glorious and radiant smile I’ve ever encountered. From the moment she first stood before us in that little room, to the moment they gave their final bows, she was smiling. She smiled while she sang. She smiled while she regaled us with stories of Macklemore and of teaching a new song to Mark, her guitarist. She smiled while she shared with us her passion for a non-profit called Music and Memory, an organization that collects used iPods, fills them with music and then bestows them upon the elderly. This girl was simply luminous. And then she sang; and her angelic voice pinned everyone to the wall. Not only could she sing, but the stage presence and connection that she and Mark shared absolutely sparked. This band is one to keep an eye on.
After two acoustic performances, Western Haunts jumped at the chance to rock out a bit, and they didn’t disappoint. They described themselves as spacey, yet I was plagued with sweeping visions of an epic journey; visions of walking alone through a vast desert or being on a ship, lost at sea with dark waves and rolling ocean all around. My mind was conjuring up feelings of aloneness and deep solitude. The two brothers in the band, the singer and the drummer, were very much in sync with one another and they lovingly referred to the keyboardist as “Twinkles”. This band was fun.
As my boots clacked back up Troll Ave towards my car, I felt very fortunate to be involved with Sofar Sounds; it really is an extraordinary organization that connects real and true musicians with real and true music lovers. What could be more magical than that?