One of the first qualities that stand out about seeing Soccer Mommy (Sophie Allison) play live is her sweet and genuine nature. What stands out next from the 22 year old from Nashville is her exceptional talent and the energy the tight band brings, who started backing her for her latest album Clean (2018). Allison retains her indie bedroom pop vibe she began creating on her EP and first two LPs, but the band adds a fuller and rock-heavier sound that translates well in concert.
Kevin Krauter opened the show at Mr. Smalls theater in Millvale July 12th, a beautiful, intimate venue created from a former church to a young crowd that clearly liked Indie music. Krauter’s band sounded similar to Twin Peaks, though mellow and a bit spacier. Lyrics often were light-hearted meditations on love, and killer drums were a signature of the band that had a lot of fun.
Soccer Mommy’s set consisted largely of material off Clean, and they opened with some solid tracks including “Try”, “Last Girl” and “Wildflowers”. “Last Girl” was wonderful to hear live with lots more energy than the studio version, as Allison sang about unrequited desire, softly crooning “I want to be like your last girl/ She’s the sun in your cold world /and I am just a dying flower.”
Dressed in a comfortable skirt and t-shirt, Sophie said that she was sick and enlisted the help of the crowd to sing “Cool”, a great song that had lots of singing in the audience from fans who knew the lyrics.
The band took a short break near the end to let the original Soccer Mommy play some tunes solo, and her cover of “I’m on fire” by Bruce Springsteen, after she joked about how steamy it was inside Mr. Smalls, was a good change of pace. The crowd stood in silent appreciation, and it carried through to the next song “Still Clean”, which highlighted the range of her pretty voice.
Concluding the set were two of her best songs, “Scorpio Rising” and an encore, “Wildflowers”. On “Scorpio Rising” Sophie sings “You’re made from the stars / And we watch from your car /And I’m just a victim of changing planets / My Scorpio rising”, as the band rejoined her onstage.
Soccer Mommy’s simple arrangements and heartfelt lyrics translated into a quiet achievement showing their ability to crisply deliver solid songwriting.