‘You felt, heard and saw every pick, strum and percussive hit of musicality’
Giving his set a sense of no-nonsense musicality, Martin Piehlmeier took Sofar Sounds at Bianca Road Brew Co into a very different direction. Prior to the gig starting, I had overheard a few people saying about him being a ‘solo guitarist’ and not a singer-songwriter. However, while this was visually the case, the sound was anything but. Opening with ‘Last Drop,’ you got an immediate sense that this is someone who sees their instrument as very much an extension of themselves.
Seeming to be at one with his guitar – and after 10 years on the circuit with numerous Sofar Sound performances to his name – it was no surprise the level of musicality and creativity on display. Yes it was a solo guitar performance, but it was unlike anything I had heard before. It was like hearing a band in one guitar and with percussive hits providing rhythmic accompaniment, and countless variations of barring, finger picking and strumming, it made for an explosive start.
Taking us back to the more intimate nature of the acoustic sound of Chisara’s set, Martin’s second track ‘Old Stone’ – written for his grandad’s funeral – saw demonstrations of the more ‘lyrical’ side to his style. Much slower, and equally much warmer sounding than the opener, it was a complete contrast. Re-emphasising the use of structure evident in ‘Last Drop,’ the track seamlessly moved through its alternations of styles and grew to a point where the emotion within came pouring out.
Continuing in the more restrained atmosphere, ‘Symmetry’ provided a further showcase of Martin’s accomplished skills as a composer. Having already shown that he knew his instrument inside and out, this track proved how seamlessly the multitude of techniques can be interweaved to create an incredible track. While more reserved than the opener, the endless combination of drones and finger picked arpeggiated melodies made for a perfectly complimenting choice to what had come before.
However, on closing his set, ‘The Road’ saw a return to the opening atmosphere and after smothering you in a plethora of strums, picks and percussive hits, you became completely absorbed by the insane musicality you were witnessing. To see it for yourself, watch the footage from a previous performance on Sofar Sounds YouTube.
To find out more about the other artists and their performances, choose a review below and continue discovering:
Chisara Agor: ‘It felt heavily intimate and we hung on to every last syllable.’
Ganda Boys: ‘This is music which is about more than ‘just the music,’ it’s a whole cultural experience’