Soccer Mommy in Manchester – live at the 02 Ritz Tuesday 21st September 2022






It’s a dull dreary Manchester we find ourselves in tonight, but hey, the rain’s held off as we make the short walk from Oxford Road station to the much loved and iconic 02 Ritz – my second trip to this familiar and nostalgic venue in less than a week and I’m happy to be here – it’s a great venue to see live music. Tonight’s headliner, Soccer Mommy, promises to be quite some performance. Hailing from Nashville, Soccer Mommy (Sophie Allison) is more widely known in the United States but has quite the following over here nonetheless, and, although tonight’s event isn’t a sell out, there really is such a buzz in the air, it’s a relaxed feel, a good crowd to be amongst.

Support – Francis of Delirium

Jana – lead vocal/guitar

Jeff – guitar


Another new one for me, US based band, Francis of Delirium, are supporting for the duration of this Soccer Mommy tour, and announce it’s been amazing (apparently a word they never use, but have been inspired by Manchester to do so several times) – but it’s nearly over, which they’re sad about.

As the set begins I get instant grunge feels, they have immense stage presence: muddy, fuzzy bass lines, jagged guitars, strong, powerful drumbeats, up tempo but with that sorrowful, grungy angst. The vocal is excellent: sweet and light but with a real edge to it, almost in contrast to the rest of the sound, but it works superbly well. All 3 band members are quite clearly very focused, very driven and brimming with energy, positively bouncing on stage. This is quite some performance; they look like they love playing up there… As a crowd we’re happy – it’s a great set. Our guitarist and front woman are both bouncing around the stage, holding guitars high in the air whilst playing and jumping about with vigour, meanwhile the drum kit is taking one hell of a beating, Honestly, the enthusiasm is another level.

The sound is of quite epic proportions: real Americana feel – grunge, punk and rock all collide and explode into one hell of a performance. The American accent really comes through in the vocal in that delightful but mournful way only US grunge does. The shimmering sound of cymbals smashing, complex guitar riffs, starting off strumming and light then becoming louder, more textured and angrier. The vocal becomes dark and mysterious, the recital of woeful scenarios and stern warnings, often a 90s American grunge feel, I get real Nirvana vibes especially from the bass lines, then it shifts, becomes lighter, more rocky, uplifting, a more pop punk/modern punk feel. The vocal alternates from sweet but dark, fast singing to almost wailing and the male backing vocal really adds to the effect, it’s very atmospheric. A great opener, very genuine, great interaction and our front woman, Jana, even hung out at the merch stand afterwards, meeting fans and chatting, after handing the set list to a particularly enthusiastic fan on the barrier.

A set that has flown by. Well worth looking up this band. Thank you, Francis of Delirium, for bringing your US brand of cool to this north western British city, and for rocking out massively.

Set List:

1/ Funhouse

2/ Red

3/ Circus

4/ Let it all go

5/ Losing

6/ Ash

7/ QFA



Soccer Mommy – Headline

So, as the brilliant Francis of Delirium pack down and leave the stage and we await our headline act, expecting to see the usual assortment of tour roadies, guitar techs and crew members setting up for the next performance, we’re surprised as a huge cheer ripples through the crowd. We look up to see the band and Sophie Allison (Soccer Mommy herself) are setting up – pretty unheard of for a headline act of this calibre in a venue of this nature, they clearly like to be involved! I’m guessing this was possibly the most filmed and watched pre gig set up that Ritz Manchester has ever seen.

Not long after, the house lights dim and our band and Sophie re-enter the stage to roars and huge applause. Clouds of dry ice swirl out toward us as an eerie, bright blue light shines onto the stage, illuminating our band members like moonlight on freezing fog. The enchanting sounds of strumming guitar filter out through the venue. Very mellow, very light, the vocal is almost dreamlike but with a sombreness, a sadness, very morose….the loveliest soft and gentle feel to this set and the entire audience is completely transfixed, A hush has filled the entire place. Lullaby feeling, soothing, so relaxed and laid back, the crowd are swaying and Sophie really does have a beautiful voice with stunning tone and it carries, reaching out to one and all of us.

The next song has a totally different feel: Americana, eerie, evocative, anthemic, of the type that would sit perfectly within the bindings of a David Lynch film or series. It’s spectacular: multi dimensional, layered sounds interwoven like some complex musical spider’s web; grunge feels, that angst in the lyrical is present. Extended instrumentals are impressive, wrapping us in beguiling sounds and feels. The bass lines are haunting, drums are smashed, keys add another layer, retro 80s ‘Stranger Things’ type elements. Backing tracks, drum machines and sampling all combine into one amazing effect. It is truly mesmerising! It feels mid century, eccentric, fascinating – an air of mystery and faded glamour, but familiar and everyday, of times gone by. There’s a yearning, a soul searching. It’s such a clever and effective sound.

We alternate between material from the latest album ‘Sometimes forever’, released in June of this year, to older hits from the previous 2 albums. The tempos, themes and feels alternate with the songs. The older tracks have a more grunge, punkier, angrier feel to them; indie sounds. The newer work is more sombre, intriguing, filled with sorrow but in a knowing and accepting way. Sophie is such a talented song writer, equally diverse, as tonight’s performance proves, and her voice is perfectly suited to these differing styles. Inspired by the cities of Nashville and New York. You can detect hints of both influences – the new York in the form of punk, indie, folk, We even have moments that are very Suzanne Vega like. With Nashville there’s that southern sound, even a slight country feel, vastly different from anything produced in the UK and it’s a fantastic sound to hear.



Drumming rolls like distant thunder beneath waves of electro and keys, shimmering guitar and soaring bass lines. electronic sound effects are used in some tracks, giving yet another differing genre, then back to strumming. One stunning, all consuming, completely spellbinding set; very eclectic and very evocative. The overall feel I’m left with from this exquisite sound bath is of quirky, cinematic, subtle but offbeat mid century dramas; of motels off deserted highways, with flickering signs and faded decor; of old TVs that crack and G plan furniture, lampshades with tassels; of a diner in forest lands, serving “damn fine coffee and cherry pie.” Absolutely brilliant, real feels, atmospheric…a lovely, inclusive and laid back feel.

I would truly love to see Soccer Mommy live again. Real Americana with just enough grunge and punk in the mix. Hand on heart, I’m impressed with this tonight. A very moving, fascinating, creative, inspiring and technically on point set. I’m going home right now to box set binge on Twin Peaks…that good! More than good…epic!

Set List:

1/ Bones

2/ With You

3/ Circle the drain Shotgun

4/ Crawling in my skin

5/ Unholy affliction

6/ Darkness forever

7/ Lucy

8/ Feel it all the time

9/ Still

11/ New demo

11/ Yellow is the colour of her eyes


12/ Don’t Ask me

13/ Your dog