In the wake of their second album, ‘Not To Disappear’, Daughter’s live show at Birmingham’s O2 Institute was an anticipated one, but unsurprisingly , they delivered nothing but a pure, dreamy delight.
Walking timidly on stage, there were no frills and there was no build up, just nervous smiles and waving hands. Then the band headed into the atmospheric ‘How’ taken from the new album and they appeared at once, accomplished, composed and poised. Elena Tonra’s airy vocals whispered throughout the track, contrasting with the booming instrumental chorus. ‘Tomorrow’ from their 2013 debut ‘If You Leave’ followed, drawing the comparison between the two albums, with the newest being heavier, with an electronic layer, whilst the elder is fragile, with a folk-rock vibe. Tonra’s delicate vocal sang ‘don’t bring tomorrow, cause I already know I’ll lose you’, and it was one of many spine tingling moments from the set.
‘Numbers’ is a progressive track and building through drum rolls and pulsing bass lines as Tonra’s lyric ‘you better make me better’ echoed continuously throughout the venue it seemed to lift the crowd. The set dipped in and out of the two albums and past eps, providing the perfect balance of crowd pleasers and the showcasing of new tracks.
‘Doing The Right Thing’, is one of the saddest and most emotional songs from ‘Not To Disappear’ as Tonra sings of her Grandma’s deterioration through Alzheimers, but it was the bass driven chorus that gripped the crowd at the show, as Tonra hushed ‘then I’ll lose my children, then I’ll lose my love, then I’ll sit in silence, let the pictures soak.’ The harmonious ‘Home’ from the 2011, ‘The Wild Youth EP’, was certainly a favourite, as was ‘Winter’ to which a fan with a thick Brummy accent yelled, “ten out of ten for that one.” ‘No Care’ took the show in a new direction as they drastically changed the tempo. It was the first track where the crowd really began to move or interact with the band and after thanking the crowd, Tonra received possibly the most Brummy response, ‘that’s alright bab’, which immediately swept you back into the reality of the venue and out of the euphoria the band had led you in to.
Highlights inevitably came from two older and popular tracks ‘Smother’ and ‘Youth.’ The former’s desolate tone and quavering vocal demonstrated Daughter’s impressive ability to deliver tracks live, executed to the level of their recordings. The latter, which is equally as delicate and is possibly their most famous track, certainly seemed to resonate emotionally with fans, which is quite possibly the reason that it has a sense of longevity to it.
Having described their audiences as being either drunk and dancing, or quiet and attentive, it was certainly the latter in Birmingham, as the crowd appeared totally engaged and immersed in the set. However, in terms of the music itself, it’s nice to see that the band have maintained the healthy rawness to their music, but continued to develop it, keeping their sound very much theirs.