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The Secret to Secret Shows in Dallas: Meet Sofar Sounds

The sidewalk outside of a beautiful, modern house off Lovers Lane gained traffic as it grew closer and closer to 4:30 PM on Saturday. “Someone havin’ a party?” a neighbor asked me. “You could say that…” I replied. As I gave my name to the lady with the clipboard at the door, she crossed me off the list. I was in. The house was enormous and breathtaking. A large aquarium greeted our eyes as we walked towards the living area. A few couches lined the perimeter and a rug was in the middle, right in front of a few instruments, some of which looked pretty foreign. We waited as people walked in, uncorked wine, opened their beers and settled in for the next couple hours. (Click on the pictures for a larger view.)
This scenario is none other than the lesser-known organization (in Dallas, at least) called Sofar Sounds; Sofar stands for Songs From a Room. What started as a gig in a living room in London back in 2009 has grown into an international phenomenon. Sofar curates intimate gigs in living rooms and other various spaces around the world. The goal is to spotlight amazing artists (many of whom are local or just traveling through the city on tour) and introduce them to passionate fans, all through an intimate concert experience. The best part? It’s all a secret until you get to the show.

Here’s how it works: they find the artists (or the artists find them), find the hosts who are willing to open up their space, then send out an email with dates of the shows happening in different places. Currently, Sofar is in over 60 cities worldwide. That means whether you’re local to Dallas or on vacation in Mexico City or have a friend in Spain, you could apply to go to any of the shows listed.

My first Sofar show was in March of 2013 and was by far the coolest experience ever. I’ve since been to two more, one of which I’m sharing with you today. Sofar Dallas happened on June 21st at the aforementioned house above. Four eclectic and talented bands and musicians hit the living room stage to perform just for us.

First up was Jason Metcalf. Three guys, two gals and several exotic instruments made this group one to remember. Everything from a vintage suitcase to what appeared to be a koto (large, stringed instrument that can be played by multiple people) was used to create earthy, folk-like sounds. Dreamy harmonies sung by the guys also accompanied chilling chord progressions and unexpected pattern shifts that truly made the performance special.
Changing up the scene was Adrian Johnston. A DFW native, Adrian attended TCU and performs all around the metroplex. Her country twang and powerhouse voice was not to be messed with. Hilarious and a great performer, her personality shone through the songs “Avalanche” and “Not Just Another Blonde”.
After intermission, Leon Bridges took the stage. With his 50s inspired outfit and soulful tone, his voice took on a character of the past. With a relaxed drummer at his side singing subtle harmonies, his lyrics flowed like poetry conveying everything from his life in New Orleans to his moms’ hardships. A great blend of sounds that really struck a chord with the audience.
Closing out the afternoon was Luke Wade from Luke Wade and the No Civilians. Charming and a great singer? We were hooked. His personal stories of life on the road mingled well with the folk-rock chords and personal lyrics. A great closer of four amazing acts.
So, have you heard enough yet? Want to get in on the action? Here's what you need to do:
1. Go to and click on "Attend a show".
2. Enter your information to subscribe to the list.
3. Check your email and keep a look out for ones from "Sofar sounds". When they send out the email, all the cities that have shows that month will be listed. Click on the city of your choice (Dallas, if it is listed and you are here) to respond and get on the list.
4. Wait for another email. You'll either get put on a waiting list or get in!
5. If you get it, another email will be sent closer to the show telling you the secret address. Get there early, bring a bottle of wine and some cups (and a corkscrew if you need it), and enjoy the amazing show.
You can also check out their blog at to read about all the shows all over the country, as well as hear the performers who were there. And there you have it. What are you waiting for? You know your iPod is tired of playing the radio hits. Go out, young grasshopper, and discover allll of the music that you can.