Collective Arts Brewing 207 Burlington Street East
Sofar Sounds began in 2009 in London, England from a simple and relatable scenario. A couple of guys were at a show, and were annoyed by audience members talking and not paying attention to the performances. From there, the idea to host “secret gigs and intimate concerts” came to fruition. Sofar was born – “a platform for artists and audiences to come together in a space that is respectful of the performers.” Plus, who doesn’t love being in on a juicy secret?
Sofar rapidly expanded and is now in 340 cities all over the world. You sign up on their website and register under the chapter that is closest to you. You get notified of gigs coming up, and you apply for a ticket, as space is limited. You’ll be notified if you’re in, and get sent the location the day before the show.
For us here in Hamilton, the closest spot is Toronto, but last month Sofar rolled into Hamilton for the first time, and they want to make it more frequent. Our location? Always a favourite of mine, Collective Arts Brewing. It was an ideal spot for the first Hamilton show. The stacks of tall cans with their stunning artwork made the perfect backdrop for the show, not to mention the awesome murals that were created during Collective’s last Bash in the Brewery.
It was cool to see the audience be a mix of people from both Hamilton and Toronto. Sofar brought in Toronto peeps by bus, otherwise you could make your own way there. I had no idea what to expect from the lineup, but was pleasantly surprised to find out that it would be three awesome Hamilton acts – The Redhill Valleys, Kojo “Easy” Damptey, and Haolin Munk. Eclectic and talented, it was a great selection across the board.
Each act played a half hour set and there were breaks in between for drinks – of course we had to sip on some Collective. While wandering the space I also spotted cases of brand new brews like Radio the Mothership (how great is that name). Tim from The Redhill Valleys bantered during their set, “We know why you’re here” – for the beer! But then realized that the venue had been kept a secret. “It could have been a saltine factory. That would’ve been a drag,” he joked.
Merch from each act was also made available which was an awesome way to connect them with some new fans. I felt super proud of our local talent, seeing them rock the brewery.
Kojo Damptey and band brought their smooth blend of soul to the party. It was such a quiet and attentive audience, but heads were bobbing to the rhythms – it’s impossible not to!
I’m blown away by Haolin Munk every time I see them. I think they catch people off guard – it’s not every day you see four young dudes rock some experimental jazz. I’m always reminded of the first time I met them, back in 2012 at some parties. The band was called Hysteria Sibernia at the time and it’s where I first met the slew of artists who would go on to form the collective and venue HAVN. Keeping tabs on our music and arts scene, and watching it evolve, is so much fun for me.
Thanks Sofar for bringing your shows to town and for letting me in on the secret. Have an idea for a future Sofar show? You could be the one to head up the Hamilton chapter. Check out their website where you can apply to be a host.