Soko Concert Review

Soko photo courtesy of  Purehoney Magazine.
Soko photo courtesy of Purehoney Magazine.

SOKO shines at the Peacock Room

Andrew Corbit

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The weather was sporadic Wednesday night as light rainfall turned to cool breeze and back again. The Peacock Room was filled with a fine crowd as the night’s talent mingled with the crowd, made up of fans, as well as those who were in the room in search of a night of music and art.

The show began with VSN QST playing a collection of obscure tracks mixed with beloved favorites. Phil Santos, whenever he wasn’t behind the sound booth was playing the room, reading the vibes and matching them with his playlist of originals and remixes setting the tone for the night. Blending the roles of DJ and host seamlessly.

The stage began to take form as Orlando local TIGER FAWN perused the venue with jewels on her face and a flowing skirt wrapped around her. Taking the stage with her rhythmic accompaniment she describes as he “lemur drummer” with long hair, long limbs sitting atop a box drum with face paint and a flashing light grill in his mouth.

TIGER FAWN initiated the show with sultry layered loops of her soulful vocals and ukulele. Dancing while layering minimal loops that blend into an orchestral collection of smooth vocals that pierced the air. The lemur took to a bass drum and the crowd sang along to “The Fire Licks the Wood.” A crowd favorite was the rhythmic “Praise Jesus and Pass the Pipe” consisting only of the box drum while TIGER FAWN played the bass drum as her seductive vocals and movements captured the room. The duo was a spectacle of the strange, setting the mood for the acts to come.

VSN QST took back to pumping the room with lo-fi dance music and the night was in full bloom. Artists and audience smoked cigarettes together as SOKO and band blended into the crowd, yet stood out in there mannerism’s. After the smokes were done and drinks were gathered, the room filled up once again as SWEET BRONCO began to take the stage.

The sons of Ft. Lauderdale were on point as well as in place, SWEET BRONCO filled the room with powerful atmospheric indie rock with distinct vocals, interjected with background vocals. The four piece blended a number of styles to create their own. Tastes of surf rock revival with a line of psychedelia that was melodic and sewn tightly.

Rich reverb guitars that sing clear laid atop the precise drums, guitarist Dave Barnard placing his riffs and notes perfectly amongst the wall of music. Subtle yet driving bass carried the set along, Bassist Brady Newbill fingering his strings and providing backups vocals. Songwriter/vocalist Chris Horgan has the ability to remain calm yet present a sense of excitement through his songs. The set standout being Astronaut, a driving indie track featuring a chugalug guitar riff. SWEET BRONCO are in sync, they set out with a specific sound in mind and achieve it flawlessly. The band is currently touring in support of their debut album Morning Night, a recommended listen as well as show anyone will enjoy.

As SWEET BRONCO breakdowns their set, VSN QST takes back the room. SOKO mingles about in a loud floral skirt help up with suspenders over a thin white shirt, her short blonde mop waves across the room. Catching her outside she talked of her first Florida experience.

What is the vibe you are going for tonight?
“I don’t know, we’ll see what the vibe of the room is. We have a pretty wide range of punk songs and more like gothy songs and more like super mellow intimate songs. We really try to go through the whole spectrum.”

What is your impression of Florida so far?
“It’s been awesome, we went tubing two days in a row. We went first in, I don’t know how to say that river, I-chee-kin-chee-ni? In, uh, fucking Gainesville, that was so beautiful. And today at Kelly’s river, and that was so awesome. It started raining, like crazy storm and we stayed like tubing in the storm and whole scenery totally changed, cause it was like crystal clear water and in the rain it became super green trees and crazy grey sky and it was so beautiful, like that was the first time it felt like a total adventure and we were in a movie. Like it was raining and we were tubing down the river! It was really cool, we went with Sweet Bronco. It was really cool to hang out with them.

Outside of music, what are you future aspirations?
I act, too, so I have four feature films booked for next year, that’s going to be hard to fit in my schedule but that’s going to be so fun. And I also direct all my videos. Whenever I get back to LA in November I’m going to direct a few videos for my new album.

What is the meaning behind SOKO?
I haven’t been called my real name since I was five, it was my father’s nickname before he died. It’s my last name Sokolinsky. It was my nickname in school but I took it as my name when I moved to Paris when I was sixteen.

We finished our talk and the others finished their smokes and the room was once again filled, with a palpable sense of anticipation, VSN QST laying the soundtrack to the spectacle of SOKO and her band. The show began as SOKO spoke reverently to the crowd before being overcome with excitement and started the set with minimal electro indie song that captivated the room immediately. SOKO plucking the bass and crooning in her unique voice.

She was warm with the ability to connect with the crowd with banter and laughing with a timid demeanor. Her band is a grab bag of exceptional musicians each from different countries, bass player from Sweden, guitarist from Australia, another from New Zealand and drummer from California. The cast exchanged instruments and blended together perfectly as SOKO played keyboard, bass and guitar. The beautiful bass player asked to play “Destruction” and SOKO gladly complied saying, “If that’s what she wants she will get what she wants.” Lighthearted laughs followed by the song that echoes 80’s emo with angst pain lyrics.

After noticing a girl in the front row singing along to the songs, SOKO invited her onstage to dance with her. SOKO led with resonating movements that left a haunting feeling, all the while bouncing about and timidly speaking to the audience of her fears and dreams. A group of people talked loudly in the room, only to be surprised with SOKO calling them out saying, “Shut the fuck up, if you want to talk go outside.” Few claps and the room silenced as she confessed her dreams and self-reality, leading into space age dream pop. The crowd was dancing, bumping into each other and sloshing about. SOKO controlled the room completely. Her varying styles of each number staying within the obscure.

The band left the stage as she got behind the drums and performed “Nervous Breakdown” choppy drums each verse leading with “I’m getting closer to, a nervous breakdown. Can’t you see?” Picking up her guitar she stood alone before a captivated room. Began to calmly pluck “For Marlon,” a truly honest and haunting ballad to a sincere lover, displaying the pain of being in love with a drug addict. Everyone swayed in hold of SOKO presenting a vulnerable moment to a room of strangers. The band came back for cello accompanied final.

SOKO is truly a talent that deserves attention, although she may shy from it. A busy artist that you should expect great things from. Adorable composure that is confident and doubting, yet she is sure and defined.

Andrew Corbit
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