People in the business of presenting live music typically take a maximalist approach to promoting, using every means at their disposal, from flyers to radio ads and everything in between, with modern times seeing a growing emphasis on social media, which has become both ubiquitous and indispensable in the music business. Sofar Sounds, on the other hand, goes minimalist, which you can see for yourself on Friday night, Jan 19. Or maybe you can't.
"Intimate secret gigs in 397 cities, all around the world" is how the website touts their brand. The gimmick has its genesis in 2009 London, when Dave Alexander played for eight people in a flat shared by Rafe Offer and the appropriately named Rocky Start. From there, things progressed faster than Tim Tebow's baseball career, and now "Sofar Sounds is a community of thousands of artists, hosts, fans, travelers and more, putting on hundreds of secret, intimate events per month, across more than 350 cities around the world," and a global staff of more than 60. There are nine core cities with full-time staff: New York City, London, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth, Oslo and Madrid. Beyond that, basically all cities have hosted these gigs-and, now, even ours!
On Jan. 19, Jacksonville will become the 397th city to host a Sofar Sounds event, the third in Florida, after Orlando and Gainesville. At this writing I (having already committed to attending) have no idea who's playing, where they'll be playing, or how much tickets will cost-all of which is by design. I was sent a link to the event page; its delightful ambiguity instantly piqued my interest. All it said was that it's BYOB, which presumably means "Bring Your Own Beer," but, like a good presidential ad-lib, the meaning is left open to interpretation. You apply for tickets online, and your name is entered into a lottery; selected winners will get an email telling them they're invited, at which point they can purchase tickets for themselves … More