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Anyone here know Sophia? It's the band of Robin Proper-Sheppard. He used to play industrial noise in The God Machine, but started to play more quiet (yet very dark and personal) music after the bassist in The God Machine suddenly died from a brain tumor.


I don't think he's that well known in the US or the UK, but he had quite some success in the rest of Europe (mostly Belgium, Holland, Germany and Italy I would say). He also had one alternative radio hit (well, at least in Belgium) with Oh My Love. [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR0SEIhWJqo]‪Sophia - Oh My Love lyrics video‬‏ - YouTube[/ame]


Anyway, I saw him live on Monday and it was the best, most emotional, heartbreaking gig I have ever been to.


Robin sent me an e-mail on Sunday inviting me to the last-minute gig he had planned in L'Archiduc in Brussels. L'Archiduc is his (and mine!) favourite bar in Brussels. Robin, who is an American, actually lived in Brussels for a couple of years and performed there quite a lot. In the e-mail he said it was a last-minute goodbye gig and that he didn't know how long he'd be gone. He didn't give a lot of other details but said that it was important that the people who have followed him since the beginning were there.


When I got there yesterday, he told us that he had been arrested last week and that he had to leave Europe by Tuesday at midnight (which was yesterday). Apparently, he had never bothered to get a proper (working) visa which kind of meant he had been living in Europe 'illegally' for the last 15 years. Which is crazy for someone who did tours all over Europe, released lots of albums and played the biggest festivals. :-)

On Sunday, his lawyer said the US would probably never let him leave the country again. He was completely devastated by this, but wanted to give his friends and biggest fans in Europe a final goodbye.


Needless to say, the gig was very emotional. At some point, Robin and the entire audience (which was quite small, the bar has a capacity of about 70 people) were in tears. Robin has a daughter who lives with her mother in the UK. Visiting her obviously won't be possible as long as he has to stay in the US. So when he started to sing Directionless, an old song, things got so emotional, he had to stop several times to finish the song. The song has the following lyrics:


I say goodbye to my friends

some I've known for years

this is the first time I've felt the fear

I kiss my baby she's just one month old

I kiss her mother nothing I say can console


I guess I'm losing my direction

I'm losing my direction


step on a train

wave underwater

I don't know if I'll be back again

I try to say 'it'll be ok'

it' s not the first time I've run away


I still tear up just thinking about it. Obviously, the entire gig was very special (with a mixture of sadness, but also lots of joy looking back at all those years and gigs that have passed), but that song just broke everyone's heart.


The good news is that he got a phone call from his lawyer after the gig who said that he will definitely be able to travel back to Europe in the future. It may take him a while until all is settled, but the court order can never be permanent. So he will be back in Europe someday.


So, anyone familiar with his music? I think the album People Are Like Seasons is his most successful.

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Yeah, his lawyer called him and said the court order won't be permanent (at first, they thought it would be, but apparently there was a fuck-up by the police). So he should be able to return someday. He doesn't have a clue yet when that will be though.

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