Those who made their way to a Portland-area wellness and acupuncture studio on February 16 found an unexpected experience awaiting thanks to Sofar Sounds Portland. With audience members seated on the ground, beers in hand, the folksy Cedar Teeth clan set about sharing some new music with the attentive listeners.
Sofar Sounds is a global organization that throws intimate performances in nontraditional spaces, and for this session curated by the Portland chapter, "What was so unique about this particular Sofar was the unexpected venue,” Sofar’s Ghada Soufan says, which “stood out from our already interesting history of venues. It brought an element of surprise to the audience, and as they crammed in to listen, there was a calmness and collectiveness that the space lended to the performance.”
The new song “‘Open Invitation’ explores what it means for a person to feel like an afterthought in their own life and how someone might overcome that feeling,” tells vocalist and songwriter Dylan Martell. “For whatever reason, I began to imagine this wild party going down on the Oregon Coast, packed with all sorts of people and gods, some of whom this person would never think to invite, even though he’d hate to not be invited to that party. So this character is kinda working through his disappointment and confusion at the same time, before concluding: ‘What more can we do than say fuck it and throw our own party where everyone is invited?’”
While Sofar’s under-the-radar events may make some feel like they've been left out if they didn’t get the memo, they are open to anyone in the know, so really, the yet-to-be-recorded “Open Invitation” was a fitting song to share—and one that has “a good chance” of appearing “on our next album, which we plan to begin working on in fall 2018,” Martell says.
“Right now, so many folks are left out of this or that party and the marginalized among us are now speaking out and taking action,” he continues. “For us, ‘Open Invitation’ is an attempt to offer one voice that speaks to that marginalized experience, but also revels in an eventual rebellion against it."
From left out to truly connected, Soufan says the audience had the opportunity to engage with the artists, and “In the end, lots of the audience members and band members ended up hanging out together over a few beers to relish in what was an incredible show!"