Soma Returns To Westford Academy

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.

The second show Soma played at Westford Academy went much better than the first and it was probably the most solid show of our careers. Unfortunately, tensions in the band made it seem like it might also be our last show ever. The differences were put aside for fifteen minutes on the stage that night though. For me there were so many good things about that night that I don’t even know where to begin.

Let’s start with the setlist:

  1. It’s A Shame About Ray (Lemonheads)
  2. Proposal (Clark/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy, Martin, Mills)
  3. Coconut Grove (Hicks)
  4. Orange (Hicks)

First of all, the set was short. It was the length we should have been playing along. 99% of the trouble with Soma was that we tried to tackle too many damn songs. There would always be some new cover we wanted to learn or else someone would get bored with a song they’d written that we’d just started to get right. It was fucking chaos. The four to five song set was where we belonged. It was where we could have excelled.

We opened with “Ray” with JonMartin on vocals, Dubner on drums, Beth the Bassist on Bass, Andy on guitars and me and KenMills basically playing with ourselves. That was another problem. There were a lot of times where there were at least two band members with nothing to fucking do. But I digress… The song was musically on target but Jon was a bit hesitant with his vocals. Most of the time he was on but there were a couple of slip-ups. It was a pretty decent start to the show anyway.

The premiere of my song “Proposal” was next. I’d written the angry lyric mainly in my continuing disillusionment with the memory of Tracy and we’d set it to music with a fucking kick-ass jam one evening. It was the fastest, angriest song we’d done and I believe everyone really got into it because it was a true team effort. The thing I remember most about this part of the show was that, for the first time, I got to hear Beth the Bassist kick ass. She’d hooked up to someone else’s bass rig for the show and MY GOD WAS SHE GOOD! It was as if all we needed to to was give her some fucking volume. Beth’s bassline got me through the song, which otherwise broke me vocally.

The real special part of the performance was the full-band premiere of Andy’s song “Coconut Grove.” It was a classic in Westford already. He’d done a MOD version of it on his computer and probably played it on guitar at school a couple of times. Our band had been trying to get it right for months, but it wasn’t until this show that we finally pulled it out of our bag of tricks. As I recall it went pretty well.

“Orange” was almost like an encore after the excitement of “Coconut Grove.” The organizers of the concert were trying to get me to hurry the guys and gal off the stage but Andy was going to finish the song no matter what. Maybe he knew something about this show that we didn’t.

After the show Ken and I drove to Lowell and saw Tommy at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. We’d thought we might miss it because of our place in the talent show but the first band had canceled and we went on first. It was a great fucking feeling. We’d done a great show and then we went and saw a great show.

Now it was back to work on the play I was directing and the relationship I was trying to build.