By Annie Zidek
I used to listen to Daughter in high school. I listened to their first EP religiously, their soft vocals haunting me for years. So naturally when they came back to Chicago for the first time in over two years, I had to see them.
Smashed into the streets of Wrigleyville, Daughter and their opener—the budding band, Wilsen— performed a mellow set at the Metro.
Wilsen, conceived in NYC, prefaced Daughter with tender sounds and soft shouts of love that echo Florence and the Machine. With whistling sparsely strung throughout their songs, the band also emulates nature for inspiration, almost adding an Appalachian feel to their soft indie rock. Hearts beating and drums being beaten, Wilsen powered the stage. Their familiar (even familial) sounds to their headliner proved Wilsen a sincere coupling for Daughter.
Dressed in all black, Daughter’s front woman, guitarist, and lead vocalist, Eleanor Tonra, centered the stage. She carried herself lightly and with grace, mimicking the air of her songs: whispered vocals, delicate guitars, heart racing builds on the drums.
With little commentary in between songs, the focus was solely on the music. The crowd, a mix of young and old, was dead silent during Daughter’s songs, a profound respect for the band that hasn’t been to Chicago in over two years. Not only did the silence say something about the audience, but it also gives insight about the band: Daughter’s sound is soft and somber, eerie and haunting. It modestly commands attention.
Two songs that seemed drastically unlike the rest were “Tomorrow” and “No Care.” Starting softly like the rest, “Tomorrow” diverged into ceremonial sound: heavy and ceaseless drums coupled with low vocals. Strikingly different was “No Care.” Straying from their traditionally slow tempo, Daughter performed “No Care” with such an upbeat energy, breaking out a rock vibe: quick paced, relying on hard guitar and drum beats to carry the song.
Admittedly, since I only really listened to Daughter’s previous works, I hadn't listened to their newest album, Not to Disappear. But I wasn’t alone. The crowd cheered when Daughter started playing “Home” and “Youth,” both songs featured on their second EP. Because I hadn't listened to their new album, I came into the show with little idea of how their recent songs sound. I was blind. And almost all their songs had a pattern: a soft beginning (typically vocals only or vocal coupled with guitar), a heavy build up and climax featuring thick drums and guitar, and a finish with a drifting off of sound.
Needless to say, I left the show with heart full of love and with skin itching to get home and listen to Daughter again (and check out Wilsen).