Daughter @ Fillmore, SF 10/7/13
Elena Tonra is not an imposing presence. A slight frame hiding under a thick, cropped mane of dark brunette, the lead singer of London’s folk-tinged, brooding trio Daughter wouldn’t seem the type to summon hoards of anguished sound for an eager audience.
And they were eager. The level of audience variation Daughter clearly appealed to was only matched by the audience’s level of adoration for Tonra. After every song in their 90 minute set, someone tucked away in the recesses of the room loudly professed their love for her. While audience engagement was not her strongest performance quality—nothing she said was audible—the quality of her delivery overall was emotive and gripping.
The Fillmore, in all its historical glory, does not lack personality. It has housed many of the world’s greatest musicians, and its walls have heard legends and icons. It’s a feat in itself to work up the nerves to play amongst those ghosts.
That being said, Tonra and Daughter did not falter. While they are known for grasping and re-channeling static pain and pathos into a crashing, engrossing force, it is still alarming to be marooned within it. Despite awareness of that fact about Daughter’s music, it’s nevertheless far too easy to get lost in it—soon enough, “Candles” is half over and the last few minutes were spent in remorse thinking about that person.
The song titles on albums and EPs from His Young Heart to this year’s If You Leave are pithy but loaded — “Still”, “Love”, “Youth”, “Human”, etc. — and Daughter’s performance stayed true to that form. Daughter relied on the clarity of their simple instrumentation and Tonra’s somber, sweet tone, and instead released arrangements of desolate, crushing resplendence. The audience left with heavy hearts, but a more profound appreciation for the balance between love and woe.
Check out more beautiful shots of Daughter HERE.