By Nancy Dahl
SOAK (given name Bridie Monds-Watson) is an Irish 19-year-old that has been a singer-songwriter of what can be described as etheral indie folk music for the last four years. She just released her debut album Before We Forgot How to Dream in May of this year. She finished off her month-long US tour at the staple Seattle venue Barboza, located in the middle of Capitol Hill, the city’s most famous area for nightlife among young 20-somethings. To get to Barboza, you first walk into Moe Bar, past the bathrooms where you have a 50% chance that you’ll get a stall with a lock, past another popular venue called Neumos, and down the stairs to the space; it’s surprisingly intimate and comfortable given that it can fit two-hundred people. The opener was Matt Bishop of the Seattle folk group Hey Marseilles. Although it was just him and his guitar, he commanded the attention of the room when he started playing. After his set everyone crowded in with anticipation.
Monds-Watson came on the stage, picked up her guitar and with the first tones she sang I immediately felt a great appreciation for solid acoustics and teenagers with talents that I can only imagine must be given to them from celestial beings. After her opening song “Explosions” she introduced herself as “SOAK, like in a bathtub” and comfortably responded to the questions the crowd spontaneously threw at her, saying that America has been “a shit-ton of fun.” Her next song “B a Nobody” strikes the listener with its depth of understanding; it’s hard to imagine that it was written by a teen, which at this point I’m thinking must be other-worldly herself as a result of her vocals that are a beautiful mix of Tegan & Sara and a young Jeff Buckley, yet her sound is completely original.
By the time she was singing “Shuvels,” a song about “scary, real-life things” and “Blud” about overhearing her parents argue as their marriage fell apart, my eyes were feeling some moisture and I was restraining my urge to pull a “Jesus-freak” and throw my hands in the air. Before she played her heavenly single “Sea Creatures” she explained that she wrote the song at the age of fourteen when she had “Green Day-type feelings” and only knew about four chords on the guitar. The song is about the difficulties of entering a new school, especially being gay amongst other things; however this girl is wise beyond her years and expresses herself in a truly timeless way.
Since hearing her album it has quickly become one of my favorites, I can’t get sick of it. She’s an incredible talent that leaves us all wondering, “What the hell was I doing at eighteen years old?” I can tell you that personally it was not writing an incredible album and touring the world giving performances that were light-years ahead of my earthly age...to each their own, I guess.