There’s been a lot of noise surrounding Nashville’s Soccer Mommy AKA Sophie Allison recently. Following release of her much acclaimed debut studio album Clean, the rising star dropped in at Liverpool’s The Shipping Forecast, with support from South Shields’ singer-songwriter Brooke Bentham.
First up we are met by Bentham, unassumingly stepping onto a very sparsely looking stage here in the darkened basement, with only her Fender Jazzmaster and Princeton Reverb by her side. Her presence soon fills the room once she opens her set.
Displaying a mightily impressive array of vocal prowess, subtle harmonies are entwined with an effortless reach to the highest of notes.
A pin-drop silence is awash throughout the crowd during her set with onlookers transfixed as she provides a gorgeous country-folk blend with stunningly soul aching melodies.
Between songs she tips she has been recording with Bill Ryder-Jones, who’s also here tonight giving a few guiding words of encouragement from the crowd.
Bentham is definitely someone we will be seeing a lot more of in due course, the influence of Ryder-Jones is pretty evident in her delivery and songwriting.
Turning up late due to missing the ferry after playing Dublin the previous night meant Soccer Mommy and her band had a frenetic beginning to the evening. To be fair to them walking through the door at 8:40 to then have a fully arranged stage by 9:00 was pretty impressive going.
First thoughts of Soccer Mommy is the playing is surprisingly loud, a lot louder than expected given the finesse of the album, early reverb issues and overpowering drums drowning the vocals at the early stages is a little off-putting, a consequence of not having time for any real sound check.
These issues were extinguished soon enough though, as they worked their way through songs from Clean, the hauntingly written Your Dog sounding flawless, as good as on record, and one of the highlights of the night.
Flaw and Cool followed, before the band then hopped off stage to allow Alison to present a three song solo offering, this starting with a beautiful rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m on Fire, with Still Clean, and her self titled track Allison rounding off the mini set, her voice during this solo shift is stunning and would stop most in their tracks, a beautiful moment under these dimly lit spotlights.
As the band are brought back out for the final song of this ten-track set, it’s Scorpio Rising, it leaves a thought-provoking feeling of how much value they really add to the live performance, especially in these smaller venues. The inclusion of a very excitable lead guitarist who after several attempts to take his playing into the audience, and jumping to his knees after every song is somewhat uncharacteristic of the sound only heightening this notion.