Friday, February 7, 2020

Live Shows: Justin Golden, Wyn Doran, and Juan M. Soria, Sofar Sounds, Allston, MA 2/5/20

Two things I've been dying to experience live for quite some time has been seeing Justin Golden live and checking out a Sofar Sounds show. Once I saw that Justin Golden was playing a Sofar Sounds show, I knew the time was right.

For those unfamiliar with Sofar Sounds, it's a series of shows in four hundred cities. The appeal is that you get three surprise artists in non-traditional venues. It's usually a home, but sometimes it's another location, such as the PRX Podcast Garage lobby, where this particular event was held.

Seeing that I knew Justin Golden was playing, it was a bit of a cheat for me. But considering he lives in Richmond, VA and has never played in Boston before, cheating a little is allowed. We've been adoring fans of his bluesy folk for a while now, and his live show has strengthened that even more. It was just Golden and a guitar for his performance, but I don't know what else could have been needed. He completely captivated the audience with "Damage" and "I Hate When She Calls" along with stories of the songs. He's an artist just starting to play shows outside of VA, so if he's coming to your area any time soon, do yourself a favor and check him out.

Wyn Doran is an artist from Nashua, NH. She was the only musician to play with an electric guitar, except for a cover of Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box" which she played on ukulele. She's classically trained and worked with Ben Folds on a songwriting retreat in California. This woman has some serious chops and cred, and here she was playing in front of a few dozen people in a lobby. That was some of the magic of the night. Her own songs are self described as "soul-tinged" and include her experiences living with a chronic illness. Her songs weren't exactly the cheeriest, but she is a dynamic performer that we should all check out more.

Juan M. Soria started life in Argentina and moved to the Appalachians before settling in New York City. He plays a unique blend of folk rock and slide guitar with some songs in English and others in Spanish. He bounced between more quiet heartfelt songs and some of the more aggressive acoustic guitar I've heard in a while. Opening the show, he completely set the mood of the night and made a roomful of new fans.

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