Never before has a concert blown my mind and shattered my reality quite like this.
You can tell a lot about a band by the quality of their mosh pit. Some pits can be fun and energetic, full of bouncy individuals all laughing, jostling each other around in jest. Sometimes, though, a pit can feel animalistic. The audience fills with barbaric, cathartic energy, and the music can propel this catharsis to unseen levels. That’s how I felt when I had the pleasure of seeing Daughters live in New Orleans, at my favorite venue in the city, One Eyed Jack’s.
You Won’t Get What You Want, Daughters’ latest album, arrived last year. This work marked their first major release after an 8 year hiatus. A lot can happen in 8 years, especially for one of the most exciting noise rock bands out of the Northeast. You Won’t Get What You Want showcased a more mature, serrated sound. A sound that highlighted the personal development that the band had undertaken. Yet despite the time off, Daughters can still write some serious barn burners.
Seeing Daughters perform was akin to watching a vampiric ritual. The shrill tones coming out of the guitars, the shotgun-blast drum fills, and lead singer Alexis Marshall’s blood-pumping shouts were enough to get everyone in the pit vicious. The sheer animal energy was palpable, from show starter “The Reason They Hate Me” to the self-titled album’s “The Hit”, the room felt hot with hellfire, and Marshall was the maniacal ringleader of this twisted circus.
I found myself dodging in and out of the pit pretty often, as there was a slight panic in being a part of this cacophonous cavalcade. Still though, I had a damn good time. Despite their pure intensity, Daughters still allowed for some slower moments to take hold. Midway through the show, “Less Sex” managed to captivate the crowd through slow, riding rhythms and icy walls of dissonance to keep the tension high but the aggression down.
Marshall climbed on top of a speaker, hunched over like a noise rock Nosferatu, as the band played the blissful yet abyssal “Satan in the Wait”, and as the audience’s hands all clamored to grab Marshall’s, it became clear how affecting this music can be, how downright moving the unadulterated chaos can feel. It was equal parts intimidating and tear-inducing.
The show ended with “Ocean Song”, the second-to-last song on their new album, but the designated closer for Daughters’ recent tours. The song outlines the story of a man, Paul, as he is overcome with a deep, primal fear, and the urge to go, to run, to escape. It’s a terrifying song, equal parts tension building and explosive.
However, seeing it live, I can honestly say it was the first time I’ve ever been noticeably shaken by a live performance. Marshall stood, shirtless, atop a speaker center stage, eyes wide with fear, screaming, as the remaining band members slowly filed off stage. It was a closing moment so powerful, I’m truly at a loss for words to describe it.
Daughters remains the most abrasive band around, and if you like your live shows to be aggressive, loud, and spectacular, I cannot recommend seeing them enough. Don’t deny yourself the indulgence of letting your inner animal loose. You can listen to their album, You Won’t Get What You Want, below: