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Live Review: SoMo + Friends in Cincinnati

Rising Pop Star: R&B-Inspired Singer Joseph Anthony Somers-Morales, better known as SoMo

When my teenage sister heard that SoMo was going to be playing at Bogart's in Cincinnati (5/1/15), it was all she would talk about for weeks. I had not previously heard of this singer, but agreed to listen to a playlist of Drake, Tove Lo, and Weeknd covers that my younger sibling was so smitten with. She happily gave me every detail in a - perhaps overly excessive - biography of her heartthrob idol who was from Denison, Texas. SoMo had released his self-titled album last year to enter both the top ten of the Billboard 200 Albums and Billboard R&B charts and had had moderate success with the single "Ride." 

After a few work conflicts with friends, she finally asked me if I would take her to the concert. Like a good older sister and music fan, I agreed to on the condition that I would do media coverage of the event - and thus escape the chaos of navigating my way through the disarray of a million screaming teenage girls. Her birthday was upcoming, and I already had two events booked for that weekend, so it was the least I could do to make up for hectic planning on my own part. We arrived on time, me letting my sister sing along to her SoMo CDs in my car on the drive there, and entered the venue without waiting in the neverending line that wrapped around the streetcorner and down the next block. 

SoMo conversed with fans during an acoustic pre-show for those who had purchased VIP wristbands.  He performed a handful of his most recent songs and joked with the audience about using their cellphones too much during the event. The vocals were great and those present became even more excited for the full set later on.

After the doors opened, a DJ set up on stage and began spinning hits from Iggy Azalea and Drake while the audience filtered on. Performances from local hip-hop artist Kid Quill, and then SoMo's fellow Texas singer Johnny Stimston followed, although it was clear the teenagers filling the room were only here to listen to one person.

Later, Columbus-born pop singer Spencer Sutherland - who has also been opening for Austin Mahone and Ariana Grande - took the stage and performed his new songs as well as a cover of the Nick Jonas hit, "Jealous." 

And here's Spencer's guitarist.

Finally, SoMo takes the stage. Some girls are screaming, some crying tears of joy, and all taking flurries of selfies in order to cement the ideal of capturing every moment possible. The chaos is real, folks. 

SoMo played the majority of songs from his 2014 album and did so skillfully and as a true performer. He also did a number of covers that the audience already knew by heart. Here's a shot of SoMo's guitarist, Matt Haze. 

Overall it was an electrifying concert and my sister had the time of her life. Whether he's furthering his status as a viral sensation with weekly YouTube covers, or releasing more albums and songs to top the charts, it's clear that SoMo's career has just begun. The next time he's back in town he will undoubtedly play even bigger venues, and my sister - one of his thousands of loyal fans - will undoubtedly be there. 

*NOTE* Please do not use photos without credit to Up to Tempo.

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