Apr. 9 '00: All Tomorrow's Parties, Camber Sands (UK)
Sophia - Apr. 9 '00: All Tomorrow’s Parties, Camber Sands (UK)
"Here goes nothing I suppose. We’re Sophia, thank you for having us here." No, no, the pleasure is all ours. This from former God Machine member Robin Proper-Sheppard, a band not known for aural pleasure.

So what follows is one of this weekend’s best performances by far, a veritable oasis in a barren desert of tunes. Sophia begin by coming on all dark and brooding, not at all welcoming but gradually pull us in to a set of sad, sad songs laced with bitterness.

Yet, these tales of broken hearts and broken dreams are strangely beguiling, beautiful even. Sophia are a shoulder to cry on, the kind of band that like an old friend says, "Hey, come in, pour yourself a glass of whiskey, pull up a chair and tell me your troubles".

The whole set bristles with anger but doesn’t give way to hurtling guitar solos. Instead, it's pinned together by steel guitar and crystal clear acoustics. It’s very emotional, utterly mesmerising and totally compelling. Sophia end with the unlikeliest but most fitting of cover versions, namely ‘You Only Tell Me You Love When You’re Drunk’ by the Pet Shop Boys. Before everybody runs off screaming “Noooo!”, 100 people will testify that this duet, indeed the entire set, was a rare moment of magic. Several indie kids cry into their beer in awe and wonder. Fantastic. More of the same please.

AG, www.music365.co.uk

Sophia - Apr. 9 '00: All Tomorrow’s Parties, Camber Sands (UK)
Sophia lead-singer Robin Proper-Shepard amusingly comments, ‘How I make my living as a guitar player I do not know,’ his eyes twinkling in the red light as his mouth arches a smile. This comment is made in reference to a suspect acoustic guitar solo he made in his opening depressing and affecting almost hymn-like opener. Before this, there were further problems, this time more funnily in the form of trying to turn off some tacky holiday music, which sounded in place in such a venue. Sophia’s set in general picked up a lot of positive feedback, though at points it does just get too much, as the title indicates in ‘Death Comes Too Soon’, which interestingly, sounds not too far off Echo & The Bunnymen’s only 1990s top-ten hit ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’. However, closing with the recent Pet Shop Boys’ top-ten hit, ‘You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk’, the crowd is more than appreciative and the sombre mood elevated. Slightly.
Toby L., www.rockfeedback.com

So slow
Are you happy now
If only
Every day
You only tell me you love me when you’re drunk (Pet Shop Boys)

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