December 7, 2018 at Brighton Music Hall
Soccer Mommy’s music doesn’t stray far from the current trend of lo-fi indie music, but her presence on countless album of the year lists proves she’s doing something right. She seems to have captured the hearts of music critics through her charisma and relatability. She tells stories of unrequited infatuation and a desire to be cool, touching on the worries of young people. Even in front of a sold-out crowd at Brighton Music Hall, Sophie Allison seemed like a casual friend to everyone.
On stage, Allison surrounded herself with fake animal skeletons she lovingly called her pets. The skeleton in the back looked a little worse for wear – its head fell off not too long into the set. She brushed it off, commenting that it “doesn’t have any skin to hold it up.” Her pets had the same level of stage presence as her band. Allison was humble and quiet, but she still stole the show since her bandmates seemed to fade into the background with their lack of charisma.
She shined when the rest of her band members left the stage and she played a solo cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire.’ The cover switched up the crowd’s energy, as all her die-hard fans didn’t know what to do and the older crowd in the back had fun with the ’80s jam.
‘Your Dog’ was a clear highlight of the set. The song’s energy and pungent lyrics create an anthem for anyone who has ever been emotionally manipulated, and that anthem felt so much stronger in a live setting. She transitioned from aggressively singing “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog,” to a goosebump-inducing bridge that revealed her vulnerability as she sang, “Forehead kisses break my knees, leave me crawling back to you.” Allison perfectly encapsulated the rollercoaster of emotions that come along with being treated like shit by someone you’re infatuated with and her performance served as a reminder of resiliency.
‘Cool’ also stood out from the rest. Allison sings about wanting to be as cool as “Mary,” a girl with a heart of stone. It was a departure from the vulnerability of ‘Your Dog,’ acting as a perfect companion as she showed her desire to be unbothered by others’ actions. The song is nowhere near musically perfect, but it sounded infinitely better live. The song’s out-of-tune conclusion sounded awful on the recording, but it finally made sense as the band jammed out. It requires context to sound OK, and the performance finally improved ‘Cool.’
Allison told stories to break up the monotony of her set. She joked about being mistaken for Snarky Puppy at Ritual Arts before the show and told the crowd about a rude man she’d dealt with earlier in the tour who told her he didn’t like her music. She played along with the crowd – someone yelled about being depressed as she asked how everyone was doing, to which she responded, “We all are.” It had the potential to come across as snarky, but the crowd loved it and laughed along with her.
Allison ended the show with the last song on Clean, ‘Wildflowers.’ The conclusion made the show feel complete, there was no need to beg for a second song in the encore. Her performance made me realize why critics love Soccer Mommy. She’s not a performer, she’s just a person who wants to share her feelings with the world in the hope that someone understands.
Photos by Ingrid Angulo