With their first full length album If You Leave released in March 2013, Daughter’s first major UK tour feels long anticipated. Originally the solo work of Elena Tonra, Daughter has come to encompass guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella, a trio making significant headway in the music industry. It is the second time that Daughter has graced the stage of UEA LCR, for those lucky to attend they supported Ben Howard in February 2012.
The support of the night came from Indians, a lone man and his keyboard, whose pleasant half an hour slot was hindered by sound difficulties, to which Haefeli reassures us later that despite the problems, go out and buy the album! With no jostling around for space and a range of both young and old(er) fans, the atmosphere felt relaxed and the crowd waited both expectantly and patiently.
9pm prompt, Daughter go straight into ‘Still’, an obvious choice for many, and guitarist Igor Haefeli attacks his guitar with a violin bow producing those spidery and melancholic sounds Daughter’s songs are known for. I find myself listening intently, along with the rest of the audience, stunned by the beauty of Tonra’s voice. The quietness of the crowd however doesn’t go unnoticed by Haefeli describing it as unnerving, but also thanking the audience for being so attentive. With other highlights of the night such as ‘Landfill’, from an older self-published EP, and favourites such as ‘Youth’ and ‘Smother’, Tonra weaves an intimate story to the audience. With emotion bleeding lyrics such as “I sometimes wish I’d stayed inside my mother, never to come out” Tonra often left the audience stunned and mesmerised by the sorrowful and heartfelt songs she sang.
The set itself was very modest, with few frills or unnecessary effects on offer. The only exception to this was the often blinding lights that flanked the stage and audience. The whole show was very stripped back and incredibly raw, only adding to the heightened emotion and intimacy of the gig. With minimal between-song banter coming from Tonra and awkward silences, the show lacked fluidity, the audience were frequently left standing in complete silence, waiting. Despite the awkwardness, the band was endearing and you could see their delight to be back, particularly with the timid and shy thanks Tonra regularly gave throughout the night.
Still very much in their early stages as a band on the gig circuit, it is likely Tonra’s confidence will grow as time progresses, presently it seems that she lacks confidence in her own ability to engage with the audience. Nonetheless, Tonra sang her soul to the crowd and the quiet and loving audience were truly taken in and captured by Daughter’s songs, with lyrics and sorrow that many can resonate with. It was clear to those there that the band felt blessed to be performing, uttering countless thanks to the audience before performing their last song ‘Home’. With no encore, I left with a thirst for more and a grown respect for the modest and extremely talented band that is Daughter.