Sophia - Feb. 07 '97: Jeugdhuis Nijdrop, Opwijk (B) with Fading For Amanda
Tonight I went to see Sophia at Jeugdhuis Nijdrop in a little village called Opwijk. I was really looking forward to this show, but didn't know what to expect about it.
This is very strange, but all Belgian shows are completely sold out. Tonight's venue can have 400 or 500 persons, and all tickets were already gone last week. If you know this wasn't an exclusive show for Belgium (that very small country in the middle of Europe) - there are four more Belgian shows to come this week and next week -, this sounds kinda weird. No one expected this, especially Robin.
After the shoegazing support (some local band, I forgot the name but it was quite ok, remembered me of my Slowdive and Lush youth) we had to wait for more then an hour before Sophia hit the stage. 'Hit' might be a wrong word : no movement at all on stage, everyone seated (which fitted perfectly with the atmosphere of the songs).
Around half past ten, they kicked of with a new song (probably called 'Losing My Direction') which was very similar to the stuff on Fixed Water. Next up was 'So Slow', Robin took up the wrong part of the lyrics at the beginning, after the song he told he was just so nervous because he didn't expect that much people.
After 'Are you happy now' and 'Another Friend', they presented another new song, called 'Woman'. I'm quite sure this one will be on one of the next releases (I hope so ...). Another new one followed and the audience got more and more enthusiastic ; in between the songs of course, during the songs everyone was sooo quite, when someone tried to open his mouth, the audience went 'Shtttt'.
'When you're sad' and 'I can't believe the things I can't believe' were as astonishing as all the rest. The last song was 'Going To The River', earlier this song has already been compared to the God Machine stuff ... well, let's say it's more like The God Machine than the songs on Fixed Water, but that's where it ends ... after all, The God Machine was a band with Ron, Jimmy and Robin. The ending of one of the new songs (don't remember if it was this last song) reminded me a little of 'Temptation'. The five-piece Sophia collective disappeared and a few minutes later Robin returned and told us there were no more songs the band could play so he was going to do some songs on his own.
These songs were the three songs from the album we hadn't heard yet : 'Is it any wonder', 'The death of a salesman' and 'Last night I had a dream'. It seemed like the whole audience was paralysed by the beauty of these songs, unfortunately no gooseflesh due to an overheated venue...
It was clear everyone liked it : they sold loads of lp's, cd's, posters and t-shirts (black with the Fixed Water cover image on it) afterwards.
Also met some die-hard God Machine freaks (yeah, really freaks ...) I only knew from my mailbox ... funny experience ...
Only spotted two persons wearing a God Machine shirt ...
No one requested God Machine songs ... luckily ...
And this nice venue also has nice beer prices (thanks Nijdrop !).

I hope you'll all get the chance to get to one of the upcoming Sophia gigs. I'll surely try to catch the show in Ottignies the day after tomorrow and the show in Aartrijke further this month.

The setlist:
* Directionless
* So Slow
* Are you happy now
* Another friend
* Woman
* Sometimes
* When you're sad
* I can't believe the things I can't believe
* The river song
* Is any wonder
* The death of a salesman
* Last night I had a dream
Christophe Demunter, Purity-list

Photos by Caroline Werbrouck