Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Rock Riffs and Indie Moods: Brad Sawicki and Bryan Kveton at Stars Align Fall in Love with the Universal Togetherness Band »

Concert Wed Jan 21 2015

Sofar Sounds Brings Bands into Music Lovers' Living Rooms

Matthew Santos performs at Sofar Sounds: Chicago. Photo: Jim Vondruska

As the last light of the evening streams through the windows of a Wicker Park loft, uneven rows of people sit cross-legged in reverent silence.

Bottles of beer or wine sit by many of them. But there's no talking, no clanking glasses. Just music.

The source of these songs stands at the head of the crowd: a standing bass, a guitar, unplugged. A singer croons out into the room.

This is Sofar Sounds, a global phenomenon that's taking music out of traditional venues and into living rooms, stores, and random spaces around the world.

Founded by Chicagoan Rafe Offer in London back in 2009, the volunteer-run movement organizes intimate performances for audiences of music lovers.

Eric Muhlberger brought Sofar back to Chicago two years ago after having a "religious experience" at one of the shows in an industrial area of Brooklyn.

"It's unadulterated -- there's no amps, there's no one talking, so it's like the purest form of music," he said.

Brother George performs at Sofar Sounds: Chicago. Photo: Jim Vondruska

They don't sell any alcohol at the free shows, which end early in the evening. It's a smart strategy for staying on the good side of neighbors and authorities alike.

For the music lovers the shows are always a surprise. Sofar doesn't publicly announce who will be performing or even where it will be.

Anyone who's interested can RSVP online through an application that includes a short essay. Over 400 signed up for the two-year anniversary show, Muhlberger said, and they tried to choose an audience that's a diverse mixture of die-hards and newcomers.

For the bands, it's a chance to play for an audience who's there for the music, not to socialize. The featured acts go beyond the singer-songwriters you might expect to include funk bands, rock acts, and rappers.

"Artists are used to noisy clubs -- so it's a big draw to say, 'we're going to give you an audience with open ears,'" Muhlberger said.

Learn more about Sofar Sounds: Chicago on their website.

Antony & The Tramps perform at a Sofar Sounds show in Chicago

GB store

Matt Brooks / January 21, 2015 1:19 PM

This is so cool! I'm going to try and get this to come to Indianapolis.

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15