After a busy day of Virgin Disruptors, interviews and meetings, it was a pleasure to turn up to a house on a leafy London street, near where founders Rafe Offer and Rocky Start founded the business, and drop in on a gig.
I walked into a living room to see people milling around with drinks, chatting away and finding positions to sit on the floor. After chatting away with my fellow guests, I listened to Rafe introduce the first artist: Rose Betts. Supported by a bassist, her beautiful storytelling and stunning voice had everybody rapt. Nobody was on their phones, nobody was talking – everybody was listening to the music intently.
It isn’t all singer-songwriters at Sofar though. Next up was Reeps One, an extraordinary beatboxer who is soon off to Harvard to teach voice. As the final act, Brother & Bones, said: “We’ve got five of us to create as much sound as Reeps made just using his voice.” The band was a fine way to finish though, rounding off three very different, very talented acts.
The most magical element of the show was how appreciative and engaged the audience were. It took me back to when we started Virgin Records, sitting on beanbags and drifting away with the music as we found new bands to sign and fall in love with.
Speaking of falling in love, I suggested to Rafe and Rocky that there must have been a fair few couples getting together at Sofar gigs. They told me they have even had their first Sofar wedding – two people met at a show and came to another six months later as man and wife.
As a proud investor, it was wonderful to see Sofar Sounds in action, as so many of Virgin’s team are doing every week in locations around the world. This is the main reason I am excited to be supporting Sofar – the opportunity to help it expand, support more artists and reach even more music fans. I’m sure I’ll drop in on another show soon on my travels. And who knows, perhaps Sofar Necker could pop up one day! To get yourself to a Sofar Sounds show, head over to the website.