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Sophia - Bush Hall, London, 18/11/2003

  by Jon Rogers

published: 23 / 11 / 2003



Sophia - Bush Hall, London, 18/11/2003

intro

As a prelude to a European tour and their new album 'People are Like Seasons', both of which are due early next year, Sophia recently played a low-key gig at the London Bush Hall. From uncertain beginnings Jon Rogers finds them on fine form


"We love you Robin," shouted some eager punter. "No, we really love you." Sophia certainly has some dedicated fans. Playing in the plush surroundings of the Bush Hall, Sophia played what is usually dubbed a low-key gig to debut for the first time a selection of new songs from their forthcoming album 'People are Like Seasons.' Joining the usual band set-up on the tiny stage was a string quartet to add extra depth and subtlety. Robin Proper-Sheppard is on fine, jovial form as he and the band showcase the latest batch of introspective, heartfelt songs of self-doubt and melancholy. He humourously berates a woman for laughing halfway through an encore: "I'm laying my heart open while you're telling knock-knock jokes..." As with any test drive things aren't yet perfectly polished and well defined and at times it's all a little shaky and uncertain with a couple of fumbled beginnings. But that just adds to the charm of the occasion. It's all trial and error. Anyway, if you want glitz and a slick, polished performance I'm sure the latest pop puppet will be lip-synching to their greatest hits at a soulless stadium near you soon. The new songs, such as 'Fool', 'Swore to Myself' and 'The Desert Song No 2' see the band mine the usual areas of emotional vulnerability. Songs once again often rise up from a simple acoustic guitar with layers of drums, piano and strings added one by, reminscent of 'On the Beach' era Neil Young or the expanse of Galaxie 500 as the intensity builds-up brick by brick. Along with the new songs, favourites like 'Bastards' and 'The River Song' also get an airing. Ending the set is the out-and-out, testosterone-fuelled rocker 'If a Change is Gonna Come'. It's unapologetic and unrepentant and hurtles along. The tone swiftly changes for the first encore 'So Slow' which sees Proper-Sheppard return to perform with the string section only before the rest of the group are called back on stage. Hopefully, the album will match the early promise of this first outing. It looks very likely.



Picture Gallery:-
Sophia - Bush Hall, London, 18/11/2003


Sophia - Bush Hall, London, 18/11/2003



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Interview (2009)
Sophia - Interview
Sarah Maybank finds Jon Spencer to be in aggressive mood when she speaks to him about Heavy Trash's new album, 'Midnight Soul Mood', and how he divides his time between it and his other band, the Blues Explosion
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reviews


There Are No Goodbyes (2009)
Understated and slow-growing, but ultimately rewarding fifth album from Sophia, which depicts in powerful detail the agony of a relationship having gone sour
People Are Like Seasons (2003)
Seduction Of Madness (2002)
De Nachten (2001)


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