Stop me if you’ve heard this one. You’re at a show and the 6’3” guy standing directly in front of you is obstructing your view and the Chatty Cathys behind you won’t stop talking about how hot the bass player is. As the band plays their hit song — the song that helped convince you that the $10 Ticketmaster service fee was worth it — a sea of smartphones infiltrates your sightline. You proceed to watch the performance through a kaleidoscope of glowing screens.
Unfortunately, this is the reality of much of live music today. Luckily, there are groups looking to organize and help legitimize the most intimate of band performances – house shows. Living room and basement shows have, of course, been around for decades. But they can be a pain in the ass to find out about if you're not Facebook buddies with people who live in a punk house or warehouse.
Here are three organizations bringing concerts into San Francisco homes:
Sofar Sounds curates secret gigs in living rooms around the world. What started as a series of concerts in a singer/songwriter’s London flat is now a volunteer-run organization that throws pop-up shows across six continents. Their particular focus is on spotlighting emerging artists and introducing them to new and passionate fans. A Sofar event is like a musical-speakeasy that can only be understood by experiencing the magic first-hand.
Groupmuse organizes chamber music house parties that are equal parts musical and social. One great thing about Groupmuse is that it gives you the rare opportunity to simultaneously enrich and enjoy yourself. Instead of paying an arm and a leg to go to a stuffy concert hall, Groupmuse organically works classical music back into the social fabric of our modern world. Creating a Groupmuse community is essential to their mission.
Concerts In You Home has been organizing concerts for nearly a decade. Their goal is to be a one-stop-shop for DIY house shows. CIYH has created a network of musicians willing to play, fans willing to listen, and hosts willing to accommodate. Although CIYH might not have the design aesthetic or youth following of Sofar or Groupmuse, the organization is a well-oiled machine that has put on shows in over a dozen countries. Check out one of their weeknight DNS (DinnerAndSong) events to support the largest promoter of house concerts worldwide.
Update: Also check out the great work of Bay Area legend KC Turner, who has been producing a house concert series since 2007.
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