On The Scene: Sofar Sounds Showcase


There are times when you just wanna sit back, relax, and take in some tunes – no phones buzzing about, dudes pleading with their girlfriends to stay another minute, no drunken ranting. Screw that noise. Just you and the artist. That’s the motto behind Sofar Sounds – a group that has been setting up intimate gigs in living rooms across the world. Now that I can definitely get down with. Well, last week I was lucky enough to be apart of their latest series which took place in a lovely home off of Zhoufujie Hutong , where visiting Aussie artists Georgetown Chambers, Ernst Carter Jnr, and Gus Donohoo were joined by our own violinist mischief-maker Yan Yulong bringing their songs, stories, and more for a unique night of live music.

Seriously, someone better jump on this idea here. Calling out all you fools with courtyards and roofs to spare – open your doors. Check below for more vids and pics.


Don’t know the last time I’ve hung out with some many Australians – friendly bunch, those lads. First up, Gus Donohoo, who came on last minute to provide a couple heart-warming tunes.

The theme of intimate, heartfelt, ‘bare it all’ continued into the evening, as one half of Georgetown Chambers, Adrian Leung and Will Johns, brought an assortment of nostalgic, melancholic yet optimistic tunes.

I may have turned into bit of a cynical mop these past years, but damn, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get all gooey with throughout their set. Songs about villages in southern Australia, the hopes of reconnection, and the ghosts of ones past – each song presents a story in itself.

And what could have easily come across as sentimental nonsense in someone else’s hand – Georgetown Chambers pull off with ease with rich melodies, instrumentation, and strong songwriting.


The real highlight of the evening though was Ernst Cater Jnr., a veteran of the Sydney scene, and whose voice tapped into some deep emotional truths.

I was often reminded of a stripped-down Damien Rice – there’s a operatic quality that sneaks into many of the songs, breathing ethereal life into the longing, heartbreak, and honest truth displayed throughout his set. All of that in a voice.

So yeah, pretty much turned into a high school girl.


The last treat of the night was the enigmatic Yan Yulong, who if you don’t know is a regular at XP’s zoomin nights’ as well as one of the members for Chui Wan. Mad skills basically. His fifteen-minute set raised quite a few eyebrows –

A lot to take in, especially considering (and I’m assuming this) he’s making it up on the spot. Between all the drone though, there are moments of pure beauty, something one might hear at the wake of their Irish grandfather. I swear at one point it sounds as if he’s changed his violin into a bagpipe.


Overall, a fine evening of intimate songwriting, good vibes, and probably one of the first times where all ears were on the artists.  Let’s hope the idea catches on.

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