Review: Soccer Mommy @ Perth Festival
The US artist returned for a special show at The Rechabite as part of Perth Festival 2023
Photo credit: Court McAllister
Returning to Australia for the first time in four years, Nashville-based artist Soccer Mommy wrapped up her Au tour with a special performance as part of Perth Festival Thursday February 23, 2023 at The Rechabite Hall in Boorloo/Perth. Releasing two LP’s since her last visit, we caught up with Sophie Allison (a.k.a Soccer Mommy) to chat all things touring and returning to Australia prior to the show (which if you missed you can read here), to now see her performance was an exciting thing.
Starting the night off were the electrifying shoegaze sounds of local Boorloo outfit Ursula, a four-piece band that combine energetic and intricate live-drums with driving bass lines, gritty guitar riffs, and sensational dual male and female vocals. Playing songs from their 2022 LP Brains, Waste, Heart the group filled The Rechabite Hall with a beautiful array of sonic textures, remaining consistently raw and honest in their sound and stage presence to yield an impressive and thoroughly enjoyable performance. Whilst it was not my first time seeing the group, it was one of my favourite performances of theirs, the setting and clarity of the sound system doing them justice, with the added benefit of it being nice to see a quality local act be give a well-deserved opportunity to support an international artist such as Soccer Mommy.
Exiting the main hall area to have a little explore of The Rechabite’s many layers, rooftop, ground floor, and basement powder rooms, I returned to a very full room parking up near the sound desk to see the Soccer Mommy band enter to a now reconfigured stage layout. With the drum set now backed in the corner, with a guitarist in front, bassist to his left, and synth/keyboardist on the opposite side of the stage, Sophie entered in all her glory to centre stage, guitar over shoulder and ready to start. Grumbling into Bones to begin, there was a loud response from the audience as the band fired away. Maybe it was due to my position in the audience, or the new stage configuration, but I found it difficult to hear the guitar and vocals of Sophie, the drums and second guitarists’ volume overpowering the overall sound.
Playing fan favourites Circle the Drain followed by Shotgun third and fourth respectively, the sound team were working through some sound difficulties of feeding-back microphones. Despite this Soccer Mommy still got right into the set and gave it their all for their Boorloo fans - some of which were acting quite strange and meowing in between songs. Acknowledging that there were some “cats and dogs in the audience tonight” and laughing off the behaviour, I couldn't help but think it was disrespectful to keep doing it for most of the night.
That aside, the performance got quite magical in fact goose-bump evoking in the later half, as Sophie played Still Clean and newdemo solo - just her guitar and voice. Intimate and heartfelt, it was nice to finally hear her clearly as she really demonstrated her skill as a vulnerable artist and talented singer songwriter. Inviting her band back on for dreamy anthem yellow is the colour of her eyes from 2020’s colour theory the song finished with the dimming of lights and the band leaving the stage. With an uproar of claps and cheers from the crowd for an encore, Soccer Mommy indulging us by returning to stage to rock out with a very fuzzy Don’t Ask Me before finishing the night with 2018’s hit single Your Dog.
With the fade in of the house music, the night was complete as we descended the wooden staircase out of the venue. Reflecting on the fantastic set from Ursula, it was a little disappointing to hear how the sound wasn't as great for Soccer Mommy - although it did improve towards the end. Overall it was still a thoroughly enjoyable performance from both bands, and a very exciting way to spend a Thursday night in Perth city.
Thanks to Perth Festival for letting us be a part of the experience, and to Court McAllister for the delightful snaps.