Show Spotlight: Soccer Mommy @ The Anthem, 10/15/19
Once again, please welcome Ben Kirst. His take on Soccer Mommy proves once again that it's usually worth getting to shows early - before you see Wilco at The Anthem tomorrow, be sure to get there in time for Soccer Mommy.
What were you doing when you were 22? I was flipping burgers at an Applebee’s on I-90 and desperately trying to stay awake in my senior English seminar.
Ar 22, Sophie Allison — the singer/songwriter/guitarist behind acclaimed indie outfit Soccer Mommy — is touring with Wilco, the venerable alt-rock institution that released two beloved albums before Allison was born. While Allison is watching the music world open up in front of her, Wilco is easing back into the lifestyle after a lengthy hiatus from both touring and studio recordings. Ode to Joy, the band’s 11th studio album and first since 2016’s Schmilco, was released on Oct. 4.
Allison’s self-described “chill but kind of sad” bedroom project arrives in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Oct. 15 as the opening act on Jeff Tweedy and the boys’ first US tour since 2017. Doors open for this sold-out show at 6 PM at The Anthem (901 Wharf St. SW), the show starts at 7:30.
Ignore the opener/headliner dynamic for this one, folks. Allison is a legitimate attraction in her own right.
Soccer Mommy’s 2018 debut album, Clean, was a critical hit, earning an 8.4 from Pitchfork and comparisons to everyone from Taylor Swift to Liz Phair. A thoughtful New York Times review acknowledged that Clean, after Allison’s scattershot series of Soccer Mommy EPs and singles, is “...cleareyed and passionate…(and) growing up in public, unabashed.” The Times later named Clean its album of the year.
The acclaim shows no sign of abating. Soccer Mommy new single, “lucy,” was labeled “an extremely good new song” by Spin and “sinister...a slow-burner with a fuzzy guitar riff and intense, sensuous lyrics” by Rolling Stone.
Allison and her bandmates have kept a full schedule over the past 10 months. Soccer Mommy has bounced from Australia, across the United States, and into Europe over the course of 70-some shows in 2019, while also making time to record material for an as-yet-unreleased album. The upcoming DC performance marks the first of five dates with Wilco after eight late summer/early fall stops with Vampire Weekend.
While supporting bands with major name recognition isn’t new for Allison — Soccer Mommy has spent spending time on the road with Paramore, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves (!), and Stephen Malkmus, among others — warming up a crowd isn’t necessarily her preferred m.o.
“You always feel the energy a bit more when the crowd is there for you, and they’re into it,” Allison told Brightest Young Things last November.
At the same time, there’s acknowledgement that it’s a pretty decent way to spend an evening.
“There are also days where I love supporting, because it’s so easy,” Allison continued. “It’s such a non-stressful day when you show up to the venue later, play a set, and then get to watch a great band and relax a little bit more.”
This isn't Soccer Mommy’s first stop in the DMV. Allison brought Soccer Mommy here last December, playing Black Cat with Chicago’s Ratboys and DC’s Tosser. Odds are good she'll be back here again soon, the only real question is how big the stage will be.
[words by Ben Kirst]