SOAK at Koko
Eyebrows were raised and heads were turned when Bridie Monds-Watson, aka SOAK, was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize last year. It’s not uncommon for relative unknowns to sneak onto the nomination sheet, but for someone so young (she was 18 at the time) to be sitting at the top table of British and Irish music was unheard of. But all it took was one listen of the sublime Before We Forgot How to Dream for it became apparent that age is just a number, and often has little influence on songwriting talent. A year older, and perhaps a year wiser, SOAK played Koko last night and proved she is no one-album wonder.
Koko is an awfully big venue for one girl and her guitar, but Bridie didn’t seem too bothered – indeed, the opening three tracks were just her, a guitar and a spotlight. It was not until the beautifully haunting B a Nobody wafted over the audience that she asked for help, which was more than dutifully supplied by a keyboard and drums. If everything that is great about SOAK could be summed up in a song it would be this one; the sheer deftness of touch and lightness of the vocals served as a suitable reminder that SOAK knows how to write good music, and has the musical skill to smash them home live.
Shuvels and Garden were also gems in their own right, the former being a classic acoustic folk track and the latter quickening the tempo and giving the previously stationary audience a little rhythm to dance to. Bridie seemed genuinely surprised by the cheers and applause after every song and it was deeply comforting to see an artist who feels embarrassed by the affection levelled upon her by the crowd. She was helped by the ambiance at the venue, with soft purple light creating an atmosphere of intimacy.
Tender, touching, but most of all genuine, SOAK has clearly got all of the abilities required to make her a fan favourite for years to come. If she can back up her debut long player with an excellent second, a successful career surely awaits. After all, she’s had a pretty decent head start…
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about SOAK and future events visit here.
Watch the video for B a Nobody here: