Sophia - Sep. 12 '97: Les Nuits Botaniques, Brussels (B)
Went to Brussels to see Sophia play at Les Nuits Botaniques (10 day festival of the French speaking community in Belgium). Saw Robin (with or without the rest of the band) eight times this year, so luckily they did something else than usually. But first something else : the two support bands. Zop HopHop, a local band which also opened in Le Botanique in February, sounded so good that I went outside to have a little chat with the die-hard GodMachine/Sophia audio and video tapers from Brussels. Some other people who are on this list (and who are at every Sophia show ...) were there too again. Next up were Speaker Bites Me, Robins newly discovered flower. A Danish fourpiece with an oh so cute Scandinavian singer (who sometimes reminded me of Björk), a superb bass play and a farfisa organ ... what more can one wish ??? Robin compared them with Sonic Youth and Tortoise, not such an accurate comparison, imho. They have some really strong songs, some mediocre ones too, but in the end the balance goes over to the positive side. Soon on Flowershop... saw a copy of the cd the day before yesterday, so I guess it will be released somewhere this week. I'll see if I can do something via the website (for those who are interested of course).
Third - and last - band of the night: Sophia. With a completely different line-up: Robin on vocals/guitar (thus not completely different), Frank Ramsey on piano (as on the Fixed Water album), Jeff on drums and Bernard Plouvier (former member of the Belgian band Mad Dog Loose) on organ, cello and violin. The four piece did a very intimate show. Sometimes a little bit too loud, maybe. For the rest approximately the same order as the previous show, but the antique instrumentarium gave the show just that little extra finesse ! Magnificent versions of 'I can't believe the things I can't believe', 'I'd rather' (a song from the new ep, previously labeled as 'Waste of my time'), 'Woman' and 'Are You Happy Now'.
After good three quarters of an hour (just a little bit more than one side of a tape ... ask Kristiaan), they left the stage under a huge applause. Robin came back to do some songs on his own (as usual), starting of with 'Death of a salesman'. Then a little chat about the past few months he spent in Brussels, about cabbies who never understood him when he asked for Rue de Flandre (the street he lives in ... but with a horrible French pronunciation...) and about how much he loves this city etc etc ... flattering the Belgian audience indeed ... the t-shirts sold like popcorn afterwards ... He wanted to play a - not finished - song he wrote during the past few months, sounded a lot like the stuff on the album. He ended with a song he announced as 'this will be my big hit' ... don't know if he'll get Elton John from the number one spot with this one, but it surely was ok. He played this one at one of the solo gigs too (I think the one supporting Live) and I remember the last part was very good, unfortunately he broke a few strings and ended the song after a few minutes. Bye bye.
We thought they would all come back to play 'Going To The River', but they didn't.
Nice show ! And a big thank you to the guy who gave us ride back to Gent.
Christophe Demunter, Purity-list

Set list
So slow
Are you happy now
Another friend
I'd rather
When you're sad
I can't believe
Death of a salesman
Within without
Every day