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Photo gallery by Anna Selle, Story by Lily Grant
Kansas City locals gathered at Hagoyah on Friday night for Sofar Sounds, a music movement that’s sweeping the globe and is now present in over 300 cities. Sofar Sounds is an organization founded in London that aims to “bring the magic back to live music” by holding intimate gigs in unconventional locations. Friday night’s show was the second Sofar Sounds event in Kansas City. The first show was in November at the Playlistplay house and featured Patrick McQuaid of Captiva, Fritz Hutchison and Spencer Mackenzie Brown.
Sofar Sounds’ quirk is that it’s a bit of a secret. The location and performers are undisclosed to the guests until the day before the event. To snag a ticket, you have to apply online. Since the goal is to keep the shows intimate, the audience is usually capped around one hundred people, but can be as small as twenty or thirty.
In Kansas City Friday night, about forty people showed up, fully equipped with beer and void of expectations. They sat on blankets on the floor and were introduced to new people, new music, and a wonderfully unique experience. The show took place in the yoga studio of Hagoyah Hair Studio & Yoga Den, and featured local artists Chloe Jacobson, Colin Halliburton, and Gracie Schram.
Chloe Jacobson is a 21-year-old from San Jose, Calif. She began her set with a cover of Cat Power’s “Sea of Love.” Jacobson played the acoustic guitar and showcased her vocals, reminiscent of First Aid Kit, in her next three self-written songs, “True Blue,” “Spain,” and “National News.” Before playing “True Blue,” she informed the audience that she wrote the song while she was “pulling forward hundreds of bags of chips” at a grocery store she used to work at. “True Blue is legitimately an exact regurgitation of what being a teenager was like for me. It was so hard and lonely sometimes. And I feel like literally every person experiences that at some level… music is a relief for me.”
Colin Halliburton is a 34-year old from Lawrence and a member of The Roseline, who will be releasing their fifth record in September. He brought his acoustic guitar and folksy sound to the scene with a mixture of songs that have been released on his album Townie, including “A Malleable Posture” and “Clean Lines.” Halliburton also played a couple of unreleased songs, “How To Be Kind” and “Maze of Glass.” Colin noted that when he’s writing a song, “the most important part of writing is reading.”
Gracie Schram is an 18-year-old freshman at Belmont University in Nashville. She spent most of last year touring with David Archuleta and had just performed at the Sprint Center for the US Figure Skating Championships the night before the Sofar Sounds show. Archuleta and Schram wrote a song together while on tour called “Leave Your Light On,” which she performed at Sofar Sounds. She also played acoustic guitar and keyboard and sang “Anywhere You Go” and “Walls” from her EP Dear Fall, “Can’t Do Love,” which she had just written earlier in the week, and “Fly,” a new song that Schram hopes to release this spring.
After their performances, the artists told me what made Sofar Sounds a unique performing experience.
“It’s cool because you can have more of a conversation with the audience and tell the story behind the song and give them insight into why you wrote it, which is something that I love to do,” Schram said.
“Getting to do music is such a huge privilege and I feel really fortunate to be in Kansas City at this exact time,” Jacobson said of the blossoming music and arts scene in Kansas City.
“Everyone was totally quiet and listening,” Halliburton said. “I think it’s important to have nights like this, where people come together and go to shows and socialize and get out of the house and off their phones and out of the echo chamber of social media and experience something real. This is good for everyone’s sanity.”
Visit the Sofar Sounds website to apply for a ticket to an upcoming monthly show. Sofar Sounds Kansas City will be back with a new undisclosed location, three local artists, and a whole new crowd of people on February 19th.
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