On Sunday the 12th June, to mark part of Symphony Hall’s 25th Anniversary Celebrations, the Project SoundLounge team were given permission to take over the Artists Bar!
Usually hidden to the public, the artists bar is tucked away, commonly used to give artists a place to relax between performances.
After having had a look at the venue during one of our Wednesday sessions, we were certain we wanted to create a homely, relaxed environment for passers-by to appreciate some local talent.
We ensured that this desired setting was created by getting in touch with local artists, and booking those that not only fit the theme, but would give visitors the chance to delve into various genres.
To add to the café-style environment that the Artists Bar already resonates, the team hired some set dressing from The REP to give the place a real edge. Think lamps, tablecloths, some literature classics, old records, a television from the 80’s, etc.
We were in nice and early on the Sunday to ensure everything would go to plan (and to allow time for any inevitable interruptions on the way). Chris Cuthbert’s team from Acquis Media still beat us there, already setting up the tech for the takeover before we even got in! They did a fab job of ensuring the AV side of things ran smoothly for the duration of the event.
After initial sound checks were performed, we were good to go. Opening the event was Joe Cook, former Project SoundLounge fellow, who delivered a spoken word piece specially commissioned for the takeover, and a piece on the music industry. Ziryab, a member of this year’s Project SoundLounge team delivered a longer spoken word piece, which explored similar themes.
We then welcomed Ashley Allen’s quintet to the stage and they shook things up with some soul vibes, which the audience really got into. They performed a remarkable cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘All I Do’, and a great rendition of ‘No Diggity’.
Cathy Msuya and Sabrina Abdou were next to perform. Cathy, being the youngest member of this year’s Project Soundlounge cohort, truly represented the young talent that this wonderful city has, performing various acoustic versions of some pop classics. She even successfully took on Adele – a feat that many older vocalists would tremble at the thought of doing! Cathy and Sabrina both ended their set with a wonderful cover of a Tori Kelly classic.
The final act we programmed was Karl Monroe, a local band who have a very distinct sound. After a slight mishap with some missing cymbals (don’t ask), they performed various originals, some purely instrumental. These guys are also performing at our main festival on the 6th August, so if you attended the event and liked what you heard, catch them at Town Hall on the 6th!
We’d like to thank everyone that made this day special, as we soon realised it was not just about promoting our main event on the 6th August – it was about so much more. We had the opportunity to provide visitors of Symphony Hall with a space for them to appreciate some local talent and listen to genres of music they may not necessarily usually dip into. We had the opportunity to offer some local musicians the chance to perform in front of a wide audience. As a team, we are also grateful for the opportunity as it has prepared us well and put us in good stead for the main festival.
Thanks to the amazing AV team provided for us by Acquis Media, thanks to the REP for lending us some great set dressing, thanks to THSH for letting us take over the space, thanks to the artists for doing a wonderful job, and thank you to the audience for attending even though there were some really good football matches that you could have been sitting at home watching…
Blog by Uma Lanka, (Project Soundlounge Team 2016)
Photography by Omar Shakiel, (Project Soundlounge Team 2016)