Live Review: Daughter, Liverpool

Daughter

daughter - gaz jones02 Academy, Liverpool, 22nd January 2016

Words: Gary Lambert
Photos: Gaz Jones

I was surprised when it was announced that Daughter would be playing Liverpool O2 Academy on their first tour to introduce to the world their sophomore album Not To Disappear. This was not because they are not suitable to Liverpool, but rather because last gig in Liverpool was a breathtaking event that topped many Gig of the Year polls by local writers. It was a special night at the Anglican cathedral where musical art and architectural beauty combined to lift the soul to the skies.

 

However until a band reaches the heights where every gig needs to be an event, sometimes you have to do the nights when the inspiration solely comes from those on the stage. And trust me playing in a former abattoir between Liverpool’s mainline train station and its most forgotten city centre shopping street is one of those.

 

Opening up events was Pixx, 4AD’s latest future star. With a history of being a graduate from the Brit School this challenged by prejudices as my inertial music snobbery associates such alumni with being generally people who want fame through music rather than make music and for fame to be a liked or disliked by-product. However within her opening two songs I knew Hannah Rodgers, to use her real name, was more than a fame seeker. With an angelic, artistic folk voice such as she owns there would be very quick ways to the public eye than producing slightly weird, intricate musical structures. Young, artistic and exciting, hopefully Pixx will become the flag bearer for her alma mater in the future and smite snobs like me blinded by Dane Bowers, Leona Lewis and their ilk.

 

On to the stars of the night, Daughter. Until I was in the gig I did not realise how far Daughter had passed into the general consciousness of the average person. But if someone enjoys music and puts their money where it matters then I am not going to overly complain. However I will say if you are at a gig to hear one or two songs or because all the girls are going, at least feign interest and look towards tdaughter - gaz joneshe stage.

With a distinct contrast between their two albums, I found the set from Daughter to be not quite disjointed, more lacking in momentum, as the quaint rock of their debut has been superseded by a darker, louder style. It was tremendous to hear the rockier new tracks played live. And oh boy do they sound rocky. The flip side of that is at times the beautiful voice of Elena Tonra was drowned out by some pulsating guitars, bass and keys. The drumming of Remi Aguilella remained a slight mystery to me as I couldn’t decide if it felt for me fabulously uncomfortable with the staccato rhythms on some tracks denying the opportunity to build up routine whilst not missing a beat; yet other times it felt as though the sound was being held back. Igor Haefeli though was the star performer acting like a full on guitar God at times with heroic poses and power chords regularly on show.

 

The strength of this set, and indeed the performance, is based around the quality of the songs available for Daughter to play. The set was filled with high points such as Amsterdam, a hypnotic Alone / With You and the highest of all, obviously, was the performing of Youth which was with every note, beat and syllable a perfect pop song. It was very pleasing too to appreciate how big the band sounded. When we all lament the lack of new, challenging headliners to entertain us through summer the newly structured sound of Daughter is big, bold and made for summer nights in a moonlit field. But work needs to be done, in my opinion, on the flow of the set list. Gigs should build throughout.

They might not be as instantaneous and uplifting for the music fans now, but Daughter might just be starting something special for themselves. If it is special for them, then have no fear, it will continue to be special for us too. Let’s hope though they play their way beyond the former-abattoir circuit soon as the music of Daughter deserves to be an event.

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