Daughter | Live Review

Daughter @ Komedia, Bath. 24.10.13.


Anyone who paid any attention in that room tonight felt her subtle but sharp scorpion sting…

As I enter through the door of vibrant and popular Bath venue Komedia, I am excited at the fact that very soon I am going to be faced with the glorious task of reviewing a band that I actually am head-over-heels for; that band is Daughter. Determined to get as close as possible I push my way right near the front like some crazed madman nearly elbowing a girl in her side, she swears at me. I am eager, I am fierce, and my readiness to get upon Daughter is justified.

Finally as the lights dim singer and multi–instrumentalist Elena Tora emerges to the stage looking fairly androgynous in a plain black shirt and hair tied back, she reveals a shy delicate smile as she casually strums the first haunting chord of hypnotic opener and single Still. Looking around the crowd has turned from suitably rowdy to completely mesmerised in Elena’s captivating presence, causing a standstill.

Shortly the silence is broken by strong thunderous drums credit to Remi Aquilella and the atmosphere is lifted as the lights change covering Elena in a pool of cosmic florescent pink. As she transitions into Amsterdam, the intro takes effect with finger style guitar which sounds refreshingly organic and bare. Elena continues to steal a few more hearts and you can almost hear the crowd all secretly swoon as she fixes her eyes upon us and whispers “I will sleep with him, show him all my skin, then I’ll go, I’ll go home…”

Naturally most of the set comprises of their new material from debut album “If You Leave” so it’s a nice surprise when we are soon treated with Landfill taken from “His Wild Heart” EP. Fitting in nicely aside the others but without the usual reverb wash, this track is beautifully raw and minimalistic, with gentle clean folky guitars and Elena’s soft vulnerable whimpers with that inevitable sting “I want you so much, but I hate your guts, I hate you…” finalised with a cheeky smile, I can’t help but think, what is this girl all about? From beautifully graceful and delicate sweet to painfully solemn and dark, Daughter certainly are a bittersweet biscuit, and I imagine are an acquired taste.

As I tilt my head to check out which instrument Elena has transitioned to next (I can’t keep up) my ears are feasted to one of my personal favourites Winter another off the debut. Again with her impressive lyrical poetry “Drifting apart like two sheets of ice, my love…” Elena looks to the ceiling almost awkwardly in a cool blue puddle of light as the glimmering guitars with spotlight on guitarist Igor Haefeli effortlessly creates an almost warped backwards sounding masquerade of sighing delayed guitar adding to the painfully lonesome and ghostly feel of the song itself. Just when I feel my indulgent wallowing is over, there is more, with the skilfully projected cold black sweep of sore lullaby Shallows.

Although I personally could listen to dreary depressing music all night long I feel the crowd are just a little pleased to hear things pick up as they are brought into a state of pleasant shock and start jolting their bodies to the instant introduction of thumping drums and unfamiliar dynamically strong and pronounced vocals, setting it aside as almost an orphan track off the new album titled Human.

Suddenly we are pulled backwards once again into the older material Youth off “The Wild Youth” EP (2011) There is definite clear praise here from the crowd as they cheer and jump about enthusiastically, standing on toes whilst getting their smart phone’s out and singing along as Elena causally cries; “Setting fire to our insides for fun.”

As the set reluctantly comes to a close, it’s surprising to find the finale track is actually a cover –always risky – but chosen well it’s a laid back approach to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky which inevitably impresses me. Despite a fairly long set I am sad to depart and as they leave the stage Elena graces the crowd with bashful thank-yous and polite gestures, so surprisingly down-to-earth and non pretentious despite her London roots… Mind you, if her offstage persona is anything like onstage I wouldn’t get on her bad side - for anyone who paid any attention in that room tonight felt her subtle but sharp scorpion sting.

Enjoy a special live version of ‘Human’ right here:

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