Saturday night found a crowd of music aficionados sitting cross-legged on the floor of a cozy living room in Fishtown. Waiting to hear the music of four promising bands, a mix of SoFar show regulars and newcomers filled the room with friendly chatter and the clanking of bottles. Noted for an intimate atmosphere and experience, SoFar Sounds brings a surprise talented lineup to their monthly secret gigs. This month’s Philly edition was no exception.
First up was Maitland, a band from Pennsylvania that kicked off the show with their song “Mother’s Touch.” Using a minimal amount of instruments and equipment, Maitland’s lead singer Josh Hines depended heavily on his powerful voice with the help of two of his other three band mates- Alex Hines and Evan Moffitt. The group’s beautifully interwoven vocals set the mood softly and slowly. Maintaining the show’s warm atmosphere, Maitland captivated the audience through their four song set before closing with “Cup of Love.” There is something so captivating about watching them perform. we’ll be sure to catch them live again as a full band on April 19th at Boot and Saddle.
Local Philadelphia trio, Worshyper, went up next. Starting with a stripped down version of their song “Boyalty,” singers Matthew and Marie harmonized effortlessly while Kevin accompanied them on the keyboard. Both Mathew and Marie have unique tones to their voices that create a vocal harmony unlike the many popular sounds you hear today. The simple yet emotive songs had the audience snapping their fingers along to “Twenties” and singing to their crowd-pleasing cover of “We Belong Together.” Ending with “Keeps,” Worshypers brought in a drum accompaniment that an extra sensuality. We would also love to see them live as their songs seemed to be missing the real kick that drives them.
The second half of the show was entirely international, beginning with Prides from Glasgow, Scotland. As an electro band, Prides was able to adapt to the acoustic setting gracefully, bringing a drum machine, a guitar, a couple of keyboards, and killer vocal cords to their set. Beginning with their single “The Seeds You Sow,” Prides hooked the audience and kept it up from song to song. Stewart, Lewis, and Callum of Prides engaged in witty banter throughout the set, winning the hearts (and ears) of the crowd to the point where the listeners demanded an encore. The vocals in this set are what really made it so powerful.
England’s, To Kill A King rounded up the show with their impressive set list. After starting with their acoustic version of “Cold Skin,” this five-man band continued to play from the heart, confidently and passionately through every song. Through their songs “Rays” and “Bloody Shirt” the harmony of the band is evident both expressively and vocally. Finishing their set with “Choices,” To Kill A King enlisted the help of the crowd with the task of singing “ooh” resulting in an all around giggle fit when lead singer, Ralph, accused the audience of singing “woo.” All bad jokes aside, this set’s beauty lied in the familiar culture of the band. Their passion in every note was felt directly by the audience. They are “mucking about” the US for the next month so try and find them in your city. Listen for their British accents and brilliant tunes.
Ending the night on a high note, the crowd and the bands stuck around after the show, nobody wanting to leave. Overall, the night’s music and mood was exciting and it is no wonder why these SoFar secret gigs are popping up all over the world. It’s a quiet, slightly butt-numbing good time that is a must for live music lovers all over the world. Once you’ve been to one you feel quite like part of the Sofar family, in on a well kept worldwide music secret.