In need of some good old-fashioned TLC? Indie pop artist Sophia Regina Allison, presently known as Soccer Mommy, may have the perfect musical antidote. Citing Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift and Slowdive as sources of inspiration, the Nashville-born star’s emotive yet upbeat debut studio album Clean, released in March 2018, rapidly accumulated a passionate following. Her follow-up, Color Theory, released February 2020, was also a goal-scoring success, receiving exceptionally high ratings from music critics. A year and a half later, Allison was able to return to the touring game with ease, as if the pandemic had never forced her to wait on the bench.
Over Halloweekend, Allison performed her San Francisco show at one of the city’s most historical venues: The Fillmore. Home to some of music’s most influential figures — from the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix in the age of psychedelia to The Smashing Pumpkins just a few decades later — The Fillmore serves as San Francisco’s go-to venue for artists who have proved their merits. On October 29, Soccer Mommy was certainly no exception.
The concert can be summed up with one word: balanced. Allison opened with some of her most iconic pop jams such as “circle the drain” and “bloodstream”— two hits from her newest record Color Theory. Cool blue lights accompanied the gentle pace of the songs, which served as easygoing yet engaging appetizers for the ups and downs of the rest of the set.
After performing a few other numbers, Allison introduced her fellow band members, including Rodrigo Avendano on keys and Julian Powell on guitar. Allison’s love and appreciation for her fellow tour buddies shined through the stage’s brightly colored lights, setting a heartfelt and community-oriented ambiance for the rest of the show. Just like Allison’s steady pop music, her calming energy filled the historic psychedelic venue with peace and overall “good vibes, man” (or woman, or enby — all love from Soccer Mommy.)
An artful set design accompanied Soccer Mommy’s dynamic music and lighting: stacks of old-fashioned TVs projected various colors onto the crowd, illuminating feminine dream-pop visuals that flawlessly supplemented the artist’s ethereal style.
After a few songs, band members exited the stage as the lights changed from blue to gray. Allison took the spotlight with slow, melodic numbers like the romantic “night swimming.” Its powerful, poetic lyrics silenced the crowd as Allison repeated lines rife with dark imagery such as “Try to break your walls/ But all I ever end up breaking is your bones/ Bruises show,” and later repeated the phrase “A sinking stone/ a sinking stone/ a sinking stone.” Allison also performed her self-described touring staple, “Still Clean” with songbird-like vocals and a captivating performance that had the power to move even the stiffest of audience members to tears.
This song’s restful aura continued as Allison played a cover of “Dagger,” a shoegaze classic by her idol band Slowdive. As Allison announced the cover, an audible burst of excitement poured out of the crowd. Though Allison’s rendition of the song exhibited fewer “Wall of Sound”-like elements than the original shoegaze version, her soulful take on the track was delightfully refreshing and innovative.
Allison picked up the pace as the lights changed from gray to yellow. She and her band performed rock-inspired hits such as “yellow is the color of her eyes,” “Scorpio Rising,” and her most famous song “Your Dog.” Lively and energetic, Soccer Mommy’s performance had the crowd dancing and singing along with unwavering glee. As Allison shredded on her shiny pink guitar, fans couldn’t help but cheer. The rest of the band delivered stellar performances, too — Avendano provided the audience with captivating facial expressions as raw, unfiltered passion expelled from his hands onto the keys. Overall, the concert was vibrant, soothing, feminine and fun — everything one could ask for from a Soccer Mommy.