April 5, 2016 Daughter Cast Spell On Mohawk Austin, TX 3-28-16 w/ Wilsen
Haunting, introspective, and human, these are just a few of the words one could use to describe the British Alternative Rock band known as Daughter. Initially begun back in 2010 when lead singer Elena Tonra felt merely playing acoustically did not suite her, she soon teamed up with Guitarist Igor Haefeli and the two began collaborating with one another. Crafting something unique, tapping into a variety of genres ranging from Pop, to Alternative, to Folk, Daughter began to create a buzz, and within a year, would self-release the EP His Young Heart. Still only a duo at the time, the now romantically involved musicians would quickly become a trio with the addition of Drummer Remi Aguilella prior to the release of their second EP, The Wild Youth. A complete band and seeing their musical vision coming into shape, they would go on to release their debut full-length album, If You Leave, in 2013, and it would quickly become a huge success in the UK, reaching #16 in the Top 100 Chart. With a bright future ahead of them, it would not be before long that Daughter would be discovered by listeners outside England, and by the fall of 2013, they would be headlining a tour in North America.
Quickly rising to international acclaim, Daughter returned in 2016 with their sophomore album, entitled Not to Disappear, a release many are calling the band’s most complete today. Dark, ambient, but more textured in sound, Not to Disappear continues to attract new listeners, and just a couple months after its release, Daughter embarked on a new North American tour which kicked off March 3rd. With dates running through April 6th, the band would make their way to Austin, TX on Monday, March 28th, to perform at the popular indoor/outdoor music venue Mohawk, which is nestled in the city’s downtown area. Comfortable weatherwise, a sold out crowd gathered into Mohawk and prepared for an evening under the stars with Daughter and supporting act Wilsen.
With the sun not fully set just yet, New York City based singer-songwriter Tamsin Wilson going under the band name Wilsen was first up. Originally from London, England, Wilsen adopted residence in the borough of Brooklyn just a few years back, and with bandmates Johnny Simon Jr (guitar) and Drew Arndt (bass), they have formed a sound that could be simply viewed as dreamy Indie Pop. Having released a mini-album, entitled Sirens, in 2013 and the EP, Sirens, in 2014, Wilsen has shared the stage with everyone from Rodriguez to London Grammar, and of course, Daughter.
Casually approaching the platform, the band quickly swept the audience off their feet with their ambient sounds of subtle guitars, bass, and Wilson’s angelic vocals. Reminiscent of artists such as Dido, Wilsen created a warm, inviting atmosphere that had the audience’s attention through original songs such as “Centipede” and “Magnolia.” Delicate and fragile by nature, each song Wilsen performed tapped into the inner thoughts of listeners who wondered where the music would go next. That mystery is what made the set that much more interesting as it featured other beautiful tracks such as “Garden” from Wilsen’s catalogue, which hopefully will expand into a new full-length album in the near future. A fitting supporting act, Wilsen’s set was nothing less than mind-blowing and there is no question big things lay ahead for the young band.
Now, as the night set in and the outside air still warm, Daughter was ready to take to the stage as fans gathered tightly on the floor and the rooftop to the right gazing over the railings in anticipation. No stranger to the cultural city of Austin and Mohawk, Daughter’s history with the two dates back to when they visited in September of 2013. A memorable experience for all involved, there were more than a handful of those in attendance returning to Mohawk to see the band three years later.
Immediately capturing a vibe, Daughter lifted off into the new track “How,” where guitar melody soared high along with Tonra’s voice. Having the audience howling in the brief moments of silence between songs, they returned to their debut album with “Tomorrow” as Tonra began the song solo on guitar and vocals and Aguilella shimmered sounds on the drums before Haefeli joined in for the full composition. The textures were ear-tingling as the flowed seamlessly along with other songs such as single “Numbers,” followed by heartbeat driven “Alone/With You.” Allowing the music time to breath and staying within the groove, Daughter moved forward with few spoken words, but connected with the audience on a deeper level. The connection was so deep that the common cellphone, which usually plagues a modern concert with people snapping photos, video, or just texting, was mostly unseen and all eyes were simply locked into the music.
A cohesive entity unlike no other, Daughter later moved into other favorites including “Amsterdam,” “Human,” and the emotionally driven guitar work of “Shallows.” Weaving back into a more upbeat tempo, 2011’s “Home” and the absolutely addictive “No Care” picked o pace up slightly. The balanced offering of songs from both albums was more than the audience could have asked for and Daughter meshed it all together, creating a sonic journey. Continuing on the piano complemented “Smother,” where Tonra’s voice faded in and out around the music magically.
Having some fans even joining in on vocals, favorite “Youth” was one of the only tracks that no one could resist but to break out their phone to record. Collectively taking a breath following the song’s conclusion, the audience was lead into the final piece of the night, “Fossa,” which built the energy as it went soft to heavy assortment of guitar, drums, and bass. The most lengthy song of their set, the audience was still not satisfied and yearned for more as they screamed in excitement, prompting an encore with “Made of Stone.” A slow burn, the final hurrah for the night featured some of the most mesmerizing tones yet, and sent the audience away floating on air.
Daughter creates a world all their own with their music. They are not the type of band one goes to their concert expecting to bounce around or mosh about. They simply entrance their audience with a palette of sound harking influence from Alternative Rock, Dream Pop, and Shoegaze. With that said, anyone looking for a concert experience that is both memorable and uplifting to their inner being, Daughter is the band for them. They heavily showcased Not to Disappear, and Daughter showed why their music is only getting better as they move along. The songs were re-created with the utmost detail in the live setting and it was surely a night no one will forget anytime.Photo credit: Mark Vittek