Tuesday night at the Curtain Club in Deep Ellum was characterized by sweat, spit, and a complete assault on eardrums as Providence, Rhode Island’s Daughters were in town in support of their latest release You Won’t Get What You Want. The venue was packed by the time support act Cult Leader took the stage. By “packed,” I mean it was nearly impossible to get a sight-line, much less move about the venue. Even the balcony was open and filled with fans. The collective body heat of the crowd meant you were sweating upon entry on this cool weekday night.
Largely playing material from You Won’t Get What You Want (like “Long Road, No Turns,” “The Reason They Hate Me,” “Satan in the Wait” – and others) and a few songs from both 2006’s Hell Songs (“Daughters Spelled Wrong,” “Recorded Inside a Pyramid”) and 2010’s self-titled album (“The Dead Singer,” “The Virgin,” “The Hit,” and “Our Queens”), the band was a furious, abrasive, and sometimes overwhelming unit. Vocalist Alexis S.F. Marshall was maniacal. Whether he was spitting into his hand, holding that hand in the air and letting the spit drip back into his mouth, or banging the microphone against his head with no regard for either his head or the microphone, Marshall fearlessly teetered between unhinged and in complete control. Often surfing atop the hands of the crowd, climbing on the stage speakers, or wildly contorting his body and banging his head, he held the audience captive as his band filled the room with atypical melodies and unexpected time changes. Indeed, Marshall’s behavior would seem self-centered, or off-putting, if it wasn’t for the wall of noise so carefully generated by the musicians behind him and his every move corresponding to that madness.
Guitarist Nick Sadler bent notes and riffs around the backbone provided by drummer Jon Syverson and bassist Sam Walker. Additional guitarist Gary Potter helped flesh out the sound as the whole band would crescendo and decrescendo in a manner that was obviously carefully planned, but often felt improvised. I can only think of a few other bands with live performances as engaging as Daughters. If they were sloppy, it would be unbearable. But, the band works their songs from the inside out with precision. Simply put, a Daughters live gig is something you will remember for years to come. They’re loud, provocative, and reckless. Pigeonhole them in whatever category pleases you, but this is the essence of rock n’ roll.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); Lauren Frederick (photos)
– click to enlarge photos –