Review and photos by Patrick Dunn
Soccer Mommy Adds Big Sound to Heartfelt Lyrics for Live Shows
With so many talented songwriters fueling Nashville’s productive music scene and cranking out arguably predictable hits, it’s refreshing to see an artist like Sophie Allison realizing a different path to success in a genre that reaches far beyond what this city is best known for. Her inspiring brand of Indie Rock has been attracting scores of young listeners over the past several years, along with a less obvious group of enthusiasts whose interests were peaked by a subtle ‘90s vibe that organically comes out from somewhere within Allison’s writing process.
This singer-songwriter who records under the name Soccer Mommy is currently on the road with her full band performing shows in support of their third studio album titled “Sometime, Forever”. Allison’s recorded material tends to fall somewhere between moody and ethereal, which does generates great vibe overall and clearly resonates with fans. As a first time flyer, I was especially interested to experience the live version of the material enhanced by full band instrumentation and jumped at the opportunity October 30th in Minneapolis. A return to First Avenue on the “Touring, Forever” itinerary made perfect sense and the show ended up being particularly spirited due to band members and bunches of patrons deciding to dress up in Halloween costumes.
Upon taking the stage, Allison greeted the audience briefly and then got right to work strumming her guitar through the opening bars of Bones with her vocal coming in nicely over the top. The sound, while sparse, was pleasing and exactly what the audience was expecting to hear. Slowly, her extended band began to introduce tasty bits of phrasing in just the right spots as the song ramped up, also creating a sense of anticipation. Luckily it didn’t take long for the full sound to come together and I must say it developed into something quite beautiful. Enthusiasm noticeably scaled up as the first notes of Circle the Drain rang out. While surprisingly early for such a significant tune, its timing was a lock on getting fans fully engaged and unable to resist the urge to sing along, which was infectious. Still only a few songs into the set, we were all happily grooving along to Shotgun and already the band had proven this material has plenty of undeniably crowd pleasing qualities.
The show continued to play out like an emotional journey with standout moments such as the extended jam on Crawling in My Skin, but also included a darker section anchored by Unholy Affliction. For my taste, Allison’s solo performance of Still Clean was a highlight that seemed to have the audience completely mesmerized. Her creative use of alternate tunings on this one results in a beautiful chord progression that perfectly complements her unique vocal tone. My other personal favorite, Yellow is the Color of Her Eyes was used to effectively close-out the set in strong fashion. Seeing Allison jamming the hardest she had all evening for this song was unexpected and motivating. It truly got fans fired up and practically demanding the band to return for more. Building off this momentum, the two-song encore delivered beyond my expectations. The live version of Don’t Ask Me had me drawing parallel’s to The Cure’s In Between Days. Finally although fully expected, there was no better choice to bring the night to a close than Your Dog.
A supporting set by Lightning Bug was a perfect choice to kick off this evening and their cover of The Cranberries Dreams was a standout.
Soccer Mommy Set List:
Circle the Drain
Crawling in My Skin
Feel It All the Time
Yellow Is the Color of Her Eyes
Don’t Ask Me