A concert review of the band’s Grog Shop performance.
Last week I took a trip to Coventry Village, an eclectic side of Cleveland Heights, sometimes called Cleveland’s Greenwich Village. The area, former home of the late comic writer Harvey Pekar, still captures the spirit of the arts, with tattoo parlors, antique shops, and book stores on every corner.
Among them lives the Grog Shop, a 100 person venue that has lent its stage to Kid Cudi, MGK, Bruno Mars, and Panic! At The Disco, to name a few. Nashville native Sophia Allison, better known as Soccer Mommy, joined the long list of performers to bring her talents to the intimate venue, and delivered an excellent performance for one of my first shows post-lockdown.
Originally set to tour alongside the release of her latest album, “Color Theory,” in early 2020, the pandemic had other ideas. However, time did not dampen the excitement of the crowd nor the energy behind her performance.
Joined by her band, the singer-songwriter had a dynamic stage presence. Nodding along to one song was followed by head banging and dancing to another. Songs were reimagined in both arrangement and attitude to include heavier instrumentals, moving away from stripped down indie pop towards rock.
The track selection encompassed the full range of Soccer Mommy, featuring songs from both 2020’s “Color Theory” and 2018’s “Clean“. In “Lucy,” a song about the demon Lucifer, Allison flexed a different side of her vocal talent. After dismissing her rhythm section to play “Night Swimming,” her guitarists took a break and Allison stood alone. Performing “Still Clean,” she allowed her vocals carry the emotional song.
Soccer Mommy finished the set with a performance of “Yellow Is The Color of Her Eyes,” a seven minute song (“you’re basically getting two!”), about losing time with her terminally ill mother. The song brought together the best features of the band and Allison’s vocal talent, highlighting the strength in her ability to create personal and story driven songs.
The evening started even before Soccer Mommy’s tunes took to the stage. Opening the show was indie pop singer Squirrel Flower. She opened her act alone, expertly weaving atmospheric sounds with her guitar, voice, and effect pedals. Joined by her band, Squirrel Flower’s unique songwriting shined in songs “Deluge In The South,” and “Conditions,” the latter of which was sampled by Russian Rapper Face for his song “Лиза.”
Also notable on her setlist was her cover of Caroline Polachek’s “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings,” which trades the original’s nonchalant fun for a story of unashamed longing, while maintaining the 80’s feel brought on by the instrumental choices of the original.
Grandstand Media provided complimentary tickets for an unbiased review.