Sophie24 Kitchen Street 20/10/18
As a Londoner who falls a pinch more out of love with his adopted city every day, I don’t get up to Liverpool as often as I should. Everything I’ve come to adore about this part of the UK could be seen in pop-torturess SOPHIE’s autumn tour dates. You probably shouldn’t read too much into the banalities of venue availability, but in London, she was doing midweek, early-evening dates at FABRIC, which – iconic club as it is – can be achingly po-faced at times. 200 miles north, it is a Sunday morning slot at Berlin-worthy warehouse joint, 24 Kitchen Street.
This is where SOPHIE’s polyethylene beats deserve to be heard: sprayed loud onto a sweaty, smoky dancefloor to queer kids who have travelled from other cities, unconsciously decked out in red dungarees, New Rock boots and Hello Kitty tattoos, fully entangled in that four-hour micro-society buzz that keeps people surging back to clubs weekend after weekend, overdraft after overdraft.
If this sounds more like some manifesto and lacking in specifics of the actual night, that’s because my recollections aren’t as sharp as they would have been had I seen her at a renovated meat store on a Tuesday evening. Even so, just as with all the best nights out, fragments reappear in the days after like finds on some PC Music-soundtracked archaeological dig: the astringent synth scrapes of Ponyboy; the warped playground chants of Immaterial escaping into pounding crescendo; and Sophie’s red PVC gloves conducting it all, emerging intermittently from the shadows to squeeze out synthetic gems from a deck.
A look at a setlist is slight comfort to my holey memory with its domination of new material from forthcoming new albums that will undoubtedly continue twisting pop music into uncomfortable shapes. Sophie acolytes (of which there are lots) are known to record and decipher songs online with the fervour of sociologists poring over a new language and they’ll be occupied for ages with the less familiar sounds heard tonight. It all sounded as manically unclassifiable as her debut album, Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides; sounding not so much ahead of its time, as coughed up by someone with sensory superpowers, someone able to wring out the cutesiest, poppy sounds and crash them into an abrasive mix. Gushing aside, it’s invigorating and right at home on a Baltic Triangle dancefloor.