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Soccer Mommy / Kevin Krauter @ Mr. Smalls Theatre (July 12, 2019)

I promised that I’d catch up on some missing show recaps and dammit, I’m here to DELIVER.

Show number two for Pittsburgh City Paper was Soccer Mommy, the stage moniker of Nashville wunderkind Sophie Allison. Like Mitski before her, Sophie went from playing a 250-capacity former Pittsburgh lesbian bar in 2018 to playing an 800-capacity former Pittsburgh church in 2019. Which maybe says less about the artists in question than it does the City of Pittsburgh’s taste in music venues, but hey, that’s neither here nor there.

Sophie was sick the night of this show, to the point where she couldn’t quite manage the trademark “ooohs” in “Cool,” but that didn’t deter her from putting on a great performance. The audience was all too happy to lend a hand and fill in wherever she couldn’t.

What I love about Sophie is how utterly unpretentious she is. Her shows carry echoes of the kind of dreamy bedroom vibe where she made her first recordings as Soccer Mommy. Listening to her perform feels comfortable, conversational, like you’re at a sleepover sharing “chill but kinda sad” songs with a good friend.

The personal highlight of the evening, for me, came when I was shooting from the balcony as the band left Sophie to perform a few songs solo. A few chords into “Still Clean,” a song which unmistakably inhabits the sadder spectrum of breakup anthem, the older woman next to me started to tear up. And alone on the balcony, she kept on quietly crying the whole way through the song.

I’ve shared this anecdote a few times now and have worried each time that it might come off as disingenuous, or worse, mocking, when it’s actually quite the opposite. I found it to be a genuinely beautiful moment that illustrated how music can connect us, keep us going even through our pain.

I felt that, sis, I really did. And wherever you are in the world, I want you to know that I’m rooting for you.

And then there’s Kevin Krauter, an artist I was sure I didn’t know until he opened his set with “Rollerskate” and I had a distinct moment of “WAIT A MINUTE, this is my JAM!”, and ended up feeling the music so hard that I almost forgot to take pictures. But don’t worry, I recovered. I’m a ~professional~, remember.

Two more shows to catch up on now before a whole slew of good stuff through the rest of September. High-ho, Silver, AWAY.

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