New trend: Concerts in living rooms

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by DAVID SCHECHTER / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 18 at 5:31 PM

DALLAS — For musicians like Chris Semmelbeck, the audience makes the difference. When they respond well, "it's just really fulfilling for everybody, all around, I think," he said.

Semmelbeck and his Denton-based band Seryn say that's why they're such big fans of the music movement called Sofar, which moves concerts out of clubs and into private living rooms.

Semmelbeck has both played in and hosted an event.

"It's all people that want to be there and that want to listen to the music, actively,” he said.

Singer Sarah Sellers  of Richardson is also a big fan of the intimate Sofar audience.

"They love music and they're open-minded,” she said.

So, what makes a Sofar audience so great? Simple: The organization keeps the bill a secret until just before the show begins. And to go along with such a strategy requires an audience that truly appreciates the music.

WFAA asked a few Sofar concert-goers who they were about to see.

"I have no idea,” said Anthony Marks.

"I don't know, it's a surprise,” Rachel Bach said.

Rafe Offer, an American living in London, co-founded Sofar with the unique idea to keep the lineup secret and that no money change hands.

"We've now done about 230 of these around the world and we've never — knock on wood — had an incident," he said. "I think that really says that the people that seek this out really just go to enjoy something different and check out new music."

At a show earlier this month, Sarah Sellers played to about 70 people at an East Dallas home. A much larger global audience also tuned into a live stream of the Sofar event.

"You come to the house and you get to see everybody's faces,” she said. "Smaller groups, intimate settings. Definitely more nerve-racking,” she added.

And though she's played the House of Blues before, playing a plain old house was equally great.

"Amazing, amazing, I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Sellers said.

Because artists love an audience that loves them back.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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