• Review

An Evening with SofaBurn

Photo Cred: Jared Bowers

I had a really validating, honest conversation with a new friend last night (being an adult and making friends is wild) that kind of brought home a few things for me. First and foremost, to be able to witness and take part in a scene like what’s happening in Cincinnati right now is a privilege. But even more so, it’s because there are a lot of people who really care about the scene and want to see it thriving. The hub at the center of a wheel, where all the spokes connect to other cities, their scenes, their music. Cincinnati is ideally placed on the map to do that, and I get the sense that it’s happening in real time. It’s cool to see, genuinely moving to witness knowing the passion behind the players, the ones trying to make it happen. Making it happen.

A truly lovely way to ease into the night’s proceedings, Mike Montgomery’s set was quiet, contemplative, confidently unassuming. Most recently I’ve been a fan of his work with R.Ring, so getting to hear his music in such an intimate setting felt special, the right way to kick off the night.


The throughline of last night’s An Evening with SofaBurn wasn’t apparent until Baltimore’s Super City took the stage. Lung’s performance more or less cemented the sentiment for me. Aside from all of the acts that performed last night simply being uniformly great, they’re all bands that kind of exist on the fringes of various scenes, not really adhering to the aesthetics of where they might draw their influence from. They’re the ones quietly eschewing the things that make their particular genres what they are in an attempt to do something that isn’t just “their own,” but is indicative of an artistic desire to be a part of something bigger.

And that’s what SofaBurn has managed to do with the collection of bands on its roster, last night’s lineup being an important reminder of the music community being larger than any one act, or any one scene.


Mosant, one of the more recent additions to SofaBurn’s roster, threw down, bringing a 2020’s rock and roll energy to their eclectic take on 70’s rock, soul, and a little bit of funk for good measure. I was impressed by both their stage presence and the surety with which they moved through their set, and judging by the amount of folks there to see them, I do wonder if we’re watching the start of something big. I certainly don’t want to jinx anyone, so I’m curious to see the reaction to their debut full length, coming out May 3 on SofaBurn. I have a feeling, though…


The Quiet Hollers, led by Shadwick Wilde and played by members of Dustbin, were a clever change of pace. Twangy with just enough rock and roll, quiet with just enough loudness mixed throughout, sincere and emotional without veering into the maudlin, their set was an interesting mix of southern comfort and northern exposure. I’ve always found the alt-country genre to be fascinating, if not one I really got into, with bands like Limbeck being my only real foray into the sound. It was great to see what others are doing with the genre, and to know that a band this good is also one that’s this local is reason for me to pay a little more attention.


More or less knowing what I was going to see and hear with Lung, Baltimore’s Super City were the big curveball of the night for me. Ostensibly rock, but oh, so much more, I honestly didn’t really know what to make of them at first. To be honest, I still don’t. And I kind of love that? Sychronized movement, absolute shredding of the guitar, they were dancey, heavy, melodic, funky, punk rock, and Weird, with a capital W. Taking at least some of their sonic cues from bands like Devo and The Talking Heads, they also reminded me a bit of bands like Zykos, Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer, and The Photo Atlas. I was immediately into what they were doing and hope they come back to Cincy soon so I can drag some folks along with me to witness it for themselves.


Closing out the night, one of my favorite Cincinnati acts Lung played essentially non-stop for about 40 minutes, tearing through a set that featured older fan favorites and some choice selections from their most recent releases - a split with Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends called Adult Prom, and their latest full-length, Let It Be Gone. This was the second time I was able to catch them live in 2024 and I consider myself fortunate to have been able to do so. Fresh off their tour with the absolutely legendary Brainiac, it was awesome to see them performing with fellow labelmates and helping to shine a light on the community that’s come together not just around their music, but SofaBurn’s as a whole.

And really, that was the crux of the night for me. It’s no coincidence two of my favorite shows this year - and in quite some time, truth be told - featured Lung. The community they’re building around their band, the one that they’re fostering simply by their presence, but also their very real hands-on work on the ground through Lung drummer Daisy Caplan’s booking at Northside Tavern, The Comet, and other venues, is one that the city and our music scene desperately needs and is something I am so excited to see coming together. Music is and should be synonymous with community, and it should be a group endeavor to bring it to life.

Sure, one person can get it started. It’s up to the rest of us to build on it, make it better, and stronger, to help it thrive. Labels like SofaBurn created a home for bands like Lung, Mosant, The Quiet Hollers, and Super City, who, on paper, don’t make sense as a collective. But nights like last night, a whole evening celebrating the diversity of sound and approach that can be found on a single record label - and one so close to home - absolutely must be celebrated, documented, shared, and continued. I’m glad to have some small part in that and applaud the bands and the label for making it all so much fun.

An Evening with Sofaburn

Open Album