Daughter live at Hackney Empire
- By Greg Rose -
- Jan 25, 2013
If you headline a venue as large and grand as the Hackney Empire before you have even released an album, you are doing something right. From the queues streaming in from Mare Street for this long-sold-out gig, it is easy to forget that Daughter are essentially a new band.
However, when Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella take to the stage, you are quickly reminded of how inexperienced they are. A few bum notes and awkward mumbles are easily forgiven, but the band appear somewhat caught in the headlights.
The crowd is rooting for them though. Young couples abound in the gallery and the sense of goodwill from spectators to performers is palpable. After the world's politest heckler inquires where each band member is from, Daughter loosen up.
By the time Tonra sings "you're too old to be so shy," on 'Candles' they have really hit their stride. Her vocals, in turns taut and flowing, have the capacity to overwhelm her fragile songs at times, but the band are perfectly in sync. 'Love' is played superbly, sounding suitably anthemic in the echoing theatre.
With the moody lighting, two guys and a girl line-up and subtle sonic trickery, comparisons with The xx are easy to make. Both bands have an opaque yet uplifting sound and the ability to transform relatively sparse songs into epics. Daughter have sheer likeability on their side, from their awkwardness to the intimacy of Tonra's lyrics. They don't make music to to sing along to, but there is focused attention on the band as they trade instruments and whisper words of support in each other's ears.
They inspire a quiet devotion rarely seen. The lady in front of us coyly records her favourite songs on her BlackBerry. While not condoning bootlegging, it's rather sweet how much she wants to capture the moment and cling onto it, even on a tinny little phone mic.
There are few new songs aired, despite Daughter's debut album being set for release in March. Their two acclaimed EPs dominate, with 'Youth' and latest single 'Smother' standing out for the confidence of their delivery. Closer 'Home' borders on triumphant, finishing in a frazzle of guitars and howled notes. There is no encore; the gig feels suitably finished, but makes it clear Daughter are just getting started.