An Intimate Evening with Sofar Sounds, Andrew Bird and Local Natives

(Editor’s Note: Guys, I’ve been busy. Between being under the weather, trips, work and attempting to maintain some time chill-laxing, it’s been a bit overwhelming. So, what’s a gal to do when she’s invited to an incredible, intimate concert but, alas, cannot make it? As usual, my dear friend, Melanie, to the rescue! I admit, reading her experience has made me a bit jealous I could not attend this event. But, I’m thrilled she at last saw some of her favorite musicians…in a backyard, no less! Read on to learn more about her magical night with Andrew Bird and other fantastic musicians! xo, Mary.)

When I was younger I attended concerts all the time. If there was a band I liked just a little I would happily go to their live show. But now that I’m older I find more and more things to complain about – surcharges, parking, late start times on weeknights – and I find myself attending only one or two shows a year. So when Mary first asked me to cover a Sofar Sounds show I was initially hesitant but as soon as I discovered one of the performers would be Andrew Bird I immediately agreed to attend.

So what is Sofar Sounds, you may ask? Well, back in 2010 a couple of friends in London started to have the same gripes I do about concerts but, unlike me, they decided to do something about it and started to hold small, intimate shows in their flat. From this grew a worldwide movement now operating in 375 cities. To attend a show you just go to the website, chose a city and apply for tickets. The lineup and venue is a complete surprise and the ticket cost is minimal.

You may now be wondering how I knew Andrew Bird was playing if the artist is a surprise. I actually attended a special Give a Home show benefiting Amnesty International. Last night over 60 countries took part in the event holding more than 300 shows to raise awareness about the refugee crisis.

My particular show was held in a backyard in Silver Lake and featured four unique artists, Lauren Ruth Ward, Braeves, Andrew Bird and Local Natives. There were only 70 guests and we all sat on the ground at the foot of the very small stage.

Lauren Ruth Ward started the show and her music was before unknown to me. She’s a singer songwriter who has a strong, soulful voice that often channels the vibe of the 70’s. Her songs are beautifully sung but her onstage antics, featuring numerous crotch grabs while on the verge of tears, was a bit distracting.

Braeves is a New York band now making their home in LA and the quartet offered a range of slightly poppy songs that had a true SoCal vibe. It was the perfect sound for a warm LA night and I’d gladly catch them again at another show.

After a short intermission Andrew Bird took the stage and what can I say? Pure perfection. If you’re unfamiliar with him check him out right now. His talent is astonishing. He whistles like a bird, plays the violin beautifully and creates a wall of sound through spontaneous looping as he performs. He was in fine form and I could have listened to him all night.

The evening ended with the Silver Lake based band Local Natives who immediately acknowledged they should have preceded Andrew Bird. In terms of personal preference I would agree but it’s no surprise they’re the headliner. When their single “Wide Eyes” debuted in 2010 (has it been that long???) I immediately was taken with it and their set last night proved they have an enduring sound. Their voices harmonized beautifully and created a cozy aura in the intimate backyard.

This was my first experience with Sofar Sounds and I absolutely loved it. If I could attend every concert in a such an intimate setting I would attend shows much more often.

(Melanie Kaminski is the Editor of the blog, LA Explorer, where you’ll learn of her explorations around Southern California and beyond. Visit her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.)