Photos: Daniel Kirby
Going into hibernation is tricky business for any musical band, no matter how creative or innovative their sound might be. The hardest part about it is the manner in which they return. What usually occurs is a simple rehashing of old ideas, trying to capture a magic that is not fully there anymore. This has been the case with the comebacks of numerous acts, but there are some obvious exceptions to that rule. Swans might be one such example, reaching an artistic peak thirty odd years after Filth came out. And the other example is of course Daughters, who not only performed a complete return to their extravagant form with You Won’t Get What You Want, but they also released their finest work to date. The band’s latest record was brutally dark, oppressively hopeless and technically flawless. I never got to experience Daughters live before they initially called it quits, but thankfully they were passing through Manchester and I could not miss the opportunity to experience their new work in its live form.
Arriving at The Deaf Institute there was another act on stage that put on an impressive performance. Jessica93 is the project of Geoffrey Laporte, which is easy to tell given its name that it owes a lot to Current93. Taking the stage on his own, Laporte unleashed a complete tour de force of his sonic vision. Alone on the stage he would begin this performance by setting up simple drum loops and then alternating between playing guitar and bass, recording each part of the track and then carrying on, playing on top. Just the process of performing this act was impressive, and it actually aided the colder, more detached post-punk sound of his project. The industrial beats would meet with the powerful bass lines and on top the experimental new wave lead work and the fantastic vocal delivery would complete the scenery. His sound translates very well on stage, retaining both its dark sense of melancholy and also the immediateness and catchiness of his work. Do check out his Bandcamp page and especially his latest record Guilty Species.
At about 9.15 Daughters came on stage with the core line-up (excluding Sam Walker) joined by session musicians, to take over the bass, guitar parts and additional sound effects/synths and vocal duties. From that point on the whole set felt like a primal, mystical ritual capable of bouncing from moments of extreme aggression and utter relentlessness to introverted instances of utter nihilism accompanied by acts of penance. The set started in a hellish manner with “The Reason They Hate Me”, as the band unleashed an all out sonic assault through the no-wave, punk infused progression of the track. It was the perfect opener due to its immediate effect and sardonically playful attitude. What followed from that point on was a clinic on performance and musical aptitude. The much more dissonant and off-kilter “The Lords Song” arrived through its cacophonous guitars and piercing synths, creating a haze of unyielding mantra-like repetitions as Marshall screamed “I cry about it, I cry about, I cry about it because I want to.”
The tour through You Won’t Get What You Want continued with the demonical “Satan In The Wait”, with the immersive, mesmerizing melodies would clash again with the transcendental deliveries of Marshall and his over the top performance. Throughout the show he was the quintessential frontman, not only delivering a fantastic vocal performance but also in his interaction with the crowd and the different manifestations he would assume. At times like the bravest of punk vocalists he would join the mosh pit and crowd surf, would jump on top of the bar to deliver his messages or would climb to the venue’s balcony. But, then there were these times when he would go to a much darker place, which included moments of self-punishment as a process for some unearthly form of penance. The dystopian sound of “Less Sex” was the perfect setting for him to change from his punkish attitude and take on the form of a anarchic mystic, leaving the stage and joining the crowd before slowly ascending the venue backseats and facing the rest of the band on stage. Easily one of the most powerful moments I have ever experienced in a live show.
Daughters would revisit some of their earlier works from Hell Songs, giving some erratic renditions of “Daughters Spelled Wrong” and “Recorded in a Pyramid”, and they would also move to their self-titled work. “The Virgin”, “The Hit” and “Our Queen (Many Is One, and One Is Many)” never shined brighter than when performed in that manner. But again it was the tracks for their latest record that really showcased what this band has been able to achieve. The end of the show felt like a double barreled shotgun being shot again and again, with the band first unleashing the transcendental “Guest House” with its helpless, aggressive leads and Marshall’s echoing screams to “Let me in”. And then everything finished in the most transcendental and cathartic way possible with “Ocean Song”, with the band taking the structure of the track and forcing it into an even more extravagant trajectory with their fiendish rendition. The band slowly departed the stage one member at a time, while guitarist Nicholas Sadler took over with his dissonant lead work to round up a perfect performance. No goodbyes, no farewell, no encore or anything like that, lights simply come up and the show is over. I do not think I was mentally prepared for something like this, but again, I do not see what can prepare anyone for a performance of such scale. Simply unreal on all levels, if Daughters are passing by your town make sure you do not miss them.