First Sofar Sounds Experience


By Sophie Minello

William Hinson

William Hinson

Driving through a nearly abandoned street, I found the address I was looking for. Down a few steps in a run down building, I found a bowling alley littered with chattering faces and Sofar Sounds signs.

As soon as I discovered my love for music I discovered Sofar Sounds along with it. I listened to Spring Offensive sing Not Drowning But Waving on repeat for hours straight. Valley Maker’s Sofar version of By My Side made me fall in love with the song in the first place. Aside from the amazing band that are featured, the thrill of going to a mystery location and not knowing who you are going to see adds to the experience. Not to mention that the main goal of Sofar Sounds are to create a respectful, passionate crowd full of music lovers.

So, when I got the opportunity to go to my first Sofar Sounds Cleveland show, I jumped at the opportunity. And there I was, on the evening of March 23, pulling up to some run down building in the Slavic Village.

Little did I know what would greet me.

The night held the theme of The Big Lebowski, which made the location of a bowling alley make a lot more sense. Throughout the night there was light hearted trivia, where audience members had the chance to win a signed bowling pin. It was all good fun. But aside from the trivia, the bands took me completely by surprise.

The first of four artists was Claudio Parrone Jr. He starting the night off softly, showcasing his incredible guitar skills and captivating voice. For the first time in my life, I was able to listen to a singer-songwriter type performance with absolutely no background chatter. It was strange, but equally beautiful. I was surrounded by faces of true appreciation of music.

After Claudio came an eccentric rapper under the name Alaz. This guy is one that stands out, for he went around the crowd to fist bump and thank everyone who came out. His compassion radiated into his lyrics, where he sung about awareness and societal issues. William Hinson, a pop artist, followed him. Using a loop to create a more than acoustic feel, he had a true talent in stitching together his songs. Not to mention, he gave the audience a little stand up comedy type routine in between songs. His energy was infectious.

The night was getting longer when Thor Platter took the stage. This was the only local band that showed up in the bowling alley that night, but they blew me away equally. This band, contrary to the rest, had a folk twang to it with a banjo and stand up bass.

My first Sofar Sounds session didn’t disappoint me. It was a night full of beautiful music and people, topped with kindness from everyone around me. As the show came to an end, the organizer stepped up. “We’re all family now,” she said with a smile. I’m proud to say I’m part of this kind of community.

Thor Platter

Thor Platter

Sunlight Magazine