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I Attended a Secret Show in NYC: Here’s What Happened

I’ve always been a really big fan of music, but since moving to New York, I’ve struggled to find a music scene I could dive into. New York City has so much to offer, and it becomes slightly overwhelming. I knew that I wanted to listen to local artists, but I found most of the venues to be far away. I was ready to give up on all my city musical adventures until I caught sight of a flyer advertising Sofar Sounds. Sofar Sounds defines themselves as: “a global network of Artists, Hosts, and Guests. A ‘Sofar’ [Show] is an intimate, invite-only secret performance – the best new music performed in a unique space to passionate audiences of influential music fans.” In order to attend a Sofar, you have to enter a lottery and hopefully be selected to receive the invite an option to purchase a ticket. I created an account and selected several dates for shows I was interested in. The website shows the general location of the show and lists the closest subway, but no other information is given. I was selected for a Wednesday show in Midtown, I bought my ticket (which was affordable at $15) and waited for the location to be revealed. I would receive an email 24 hours before the show revealing where to go for the show. Most Sofar shows take place in stores or restaurants that have been converted for the show that night, and the performers are not revealed until the show starts.


    I wound up going to a Russian piano bar in West Midtown. Walking in the Sofar host asked for my name, and verified that I was on the list. The actual show took place on the second story of the venue. I ascended a staircase which was hidden behind a curtain and made my way towards one of the seats available. Luckily I had gotten there early enough to score a seat because as it got closer to the show nearly everyone attending was sitting on the floor. The show was very intimate, and it was made up of three acts each with around a twenty-minute set. I was able to be so close to the music-unlike any other show I’ve ever attended before!


The performances were all stripped down and acoustic,  and we were encouraged to not take too many photos and just be in the moment, to talk to those next to us and also the artist. The crowd was composed of mainly people in their 20s, but there were some older and younger people as well. No one was standoffish, and I was surprised by how many other were attending a secret show for the first time, and also by how many people recognized each other from past shows. Overall it was a great experience and I walked away with three new artist I was completely obsessed with.


AJ Pagnani

Marymount '21

Hello, I'm AJ Pagnani, a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College. I am majoring in Theatre Arts with a minor in Religious Studies. I am a supporter of soup and slugs - separately; never together.
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