It’s a terrible moment when, after wrestling with the obscure truth for some time you come to the conclusion that the art you pursue causes grievous bodily harm. I’ve put myself through many emotionally demanding tasks in the past, I’ve drank way too much, I’ve indulged in drugs and refused sleep, I’ve loved and continued to fuck way too many guys who do not, and will not, love me back. I watched The Terminal (never again).
But seeing Daughters five times in a row has left me more emotionally and physically broken than I could have ever anticipated. I left with a body mutilated by bruise upon bruise, pain upon pain, a black eye and concussion from the rogue foot of a crowd surfer, and almost had my back broken being pinned to the stage bent backwards by a crushing throng of some of the deadlier mosh pits I’ve seen in some time. My best friend, who is a hardened gig goer, who has survived Slayer pits, couldn’t handle more than 3 songs at the front during their Leeds set. As one fan turned to ask his son post show, “was it worth it?”
After a long hiatus, Daughters returned full force to the UK with a smattering of dates, putting their clammy feelers out, testing the waters. I deemed it imperative to catch them, to document this fucking important moment as one of those things that might just become infamous in musical history. And I’d never seen them live before so I was stoked.
Daughters unleashed their carnivorous energy to six sold out venues across the UK to crowds quivering with anticipation. Beginning in Ramsgate in a sweatbox the fear of death was real. There was no aircon, no windows, no nothing. Just a dark room, a tightly packed eager crowd and a floor stage dominated by six ferociously talented musicians ready to pulverize us into submission. Facing that kind of onslaught is like watching your worst fears materialise in front of you, only to befriend them. Daughter was cut from the set that night as oxygen levels were reaching dangerously low and perspiration was making it difficult to see. It is safe to say I had to change my attire that night, it was all just sweat stuck to my skin.
Bristol followed in a livelier turn of pace, watching them really hit their stride, delivering Less Sex in all its carnal blues driven glory. This turned into an all-out assault in Manchester, with Lex climbing the rigging, up into the top tier of the crowd, dangling carelessly at a terrifying angle above the crowd, until finally a security guard came and dragged him over the bar (not the first time he’s been reprimanded for his onstage antics, and I’m sure some of you know what I’m referring to).
Meanwhile Nick is having a fucking conniption over in the corner, komodo mouth going full throttle, vampiric in his aesthetic, undulating as if on the flames of Dante. He delivers his menacing licks and his scrupulous rapid riffs with infernal fidelity. His guitar sounds like it is being played through a badly abused church organ and acts as an audible metaphor for crippling anxiety and tortured intrusive thoughts made music, a preferred method as opposed to being driven to distraction. Quiet, calculating and incessantly alert, his amygdala ready to ping off at any minute, Nick appears to have poured everything into crafting this meticulous yet matured sound of Daughters.
Dear reader, if you hearken back to Canada Songs you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a flash in the pan sort of band as some might say, a niche not worth exploring. Especially given the gaps in between recordings. However.
This is not a comeback.
This is growth at its finest.
Fronted by Alexis Marshall, the prince of self-flagellation, pioneer of self-loathing, stands like an insane priest preaching to his wretched flock who sway with adoration for him, and who swallow him whole when he throws himself at their mercy. His poetic lyrics which, for me, act as an internal monologue to the feverish rantings of a demented man:
“That bastard had a head like a matchstick,
face like he was sucking concrete through a straw,
some faces not even a mother can love
Says the spit and spatter of broken glass from above”
His words conjure up perfectly the image of what is intended. Some of the most visceral lyricism I’ve ever encountered its almost tangible. Elvis-like in his tone, Hamlet-like in his melancholy (would that Lex were a Shakespeare fan I’d get away with that comparison), his presence on stage is impossible to ignore, especially when smashing his forehead into the microphone, or scratching his chest until it bleeds. Blood, in Morrisons world, might have been the rose of mysterious union, but for Lex it is an attack on the visual senses, wailing for attention, but rejecting the help.
Gary Potter, an exceptional guitarist, did a stupendous job of bringing the madness to the fore and Chris Slorach of Metz held the fort incredibly, filling the role of bassist as Sam Walker was unable to join the tour. Both unique guys who utterly immersed themselves into the feel of the music.
Triggering the nightmarish background sounds was badass babe Lisa Mungo of Fucked&Bound. A self proclaimed “G.G Allin with tits” and a curious woman with whom I could have shot the shit with at length if only there had been more time for us. But tour demands, and tour taketh and tour does not giveth an incheth.
There is an unshakeable trust and love from Daughters fans who are not to be trifled with. Their music has spoken to thousands of disenchanted people frustrated at the banality of life and all its suffering, made it relatable while still remaining avant garde, distilled it into their albums, laboured painfully and birthed it à la l’enfant terrible. A choice opening line “I’ve been called a sinner” roused something in me I had forgotten was there. I could also see it truly resonating within the chests of many of the attendants every single night. And there’s no shadow of a doubt of whether or not they can top this. They’ve just proven that they already will. I found myself absolutely losing my mind every time they played The Virgin, and seeing Jon going totally ape shit on the drums to Pyramid caught me off guard, I froze on the spot momentarily, concentrating silently on the fibonacci patterns blossoming in front of me, taken aback by the ferocious focus in his expression, before snapping back into some sort of frenetic expulsion;
I was overcome. Defeated. Damned.
There are protective elements to Daughters that should be shown a level of respect, perhaps even if I were not shown that same consideration in return. But Glasgow shook me. Lexs stillness against the backdrop of their horrifying music made the sound of Daughters all the more terrifying. The scraped and scooped out remnants of the contortion of a human beings soul.
Listen to my interview with Lex here
Podcast Playlist here
I don’t know what it is, but their music troubles the mind, stirs memories, feelings you thought you had dispersed with your therapist, ghosts you thought had been sleeping for an age. Particularly on the song Long Road, No Turns with the constant whirring like a molecule of thought trapped inside a metal box clamouring for release. It is the sound of pure unadulterated bedlam, imploying* (in parts) that rare beast Locrian B mode, exploiting a heavy chromatic bias to drill a metaphysical hole into the listeners skull with its repetitive, vicious riff, delivering the lobotomy you never asked for. Our Queens felt like a summoning, and Guest House ruined me every night, left me reeling, unwanted tears came screaming, chaos swarming all around me…
I think I might have caught Daughters on the brink of something much bigger than themselves, transgressing, emerging from a diabolical cocoon, bearing witness to the shattering of an eight year silence, smashed to pieces, taking with it whatever their gnarled hands could grip onto; faces, lips, teeth, sanity. Unabashed, the gangly front man displays his mangled body for an audience baying for his blood, sweat, spit. And truth. And with success should a warning come, like an antiquated fable, to anyone making art of any kind:
The Red Tape hangs like a noose in waiting so keep your hand at the level of your eyes.
The Cult of Daughters will continue to grow until it engulfs us all, leaving us splintering in their wake, with some semblance of piety. And a much needed psychological review.
Either way, I think I am gonna stick around. I guess I want to see where this whole thing lands, too.
Still languishing in obscurity,
Bruise count: 10
Miles clocked; 1,195.16
Friends made: 2?
Mosh pits started: 2
Mosh pits endured: endless
Free pizzas: 1 🙂
You wont get what you want is out now everywhere on Ipecac records.
A Sea Above the Pains of our Youth by Alexis S.F Marshall available through DeathWish
A magnificent, critical read for anyone grappling with their own mortal coil, and a poignant accompaniment to a masterpiece of an album.
“and remember, one day you dreamed of being where you are now”
Thank you eternally for the kind image contributions/words of encouragement from the following photographers <3
imploy. Verb. (third-person singular simple present imploys, present participle. Imploying, simple past and past participle imployed) Obsolete spelling of employ. Obsolete spelling of imply: to make use of.