Daughter -- Bowery Ballroom -- April 30, 2013
Elena Tonra stood sheepishly, having just returned to the stage of the Bowery Ballroom with the rest of her trio--the English indie folk band Daughter--for an encore. The previous hour was filled with her emotionally poignant and aggressive music, built upon a droning, bass-heavy foundation. Suddenly, in the waiting silence of the sold-out venue (a crowd that featured both Katy Perry and Robert Pattinson), a concertgoer shouted: "Play 'Get Lucky'!" The previous day, the band had released a cover of Daft Punk's latest single, "Get Lucky" (which has -- by the way -- already been officially dubbed the "Song of #Summer2013). Tonra smiled, ducked her head, looked up, and smiled again. And then again. And again.
"It's not 'Get Lucky,' just to stop that expectation," she said through a lovely chuckle. "This is much more depressing." The trio then launched into a medley of indie rock, featuring somber covers of Bon Iver's "Perth" and Hot Chip's "Ready For The Floor."
This was the theme of the night: Smiles into sadness into smiles. Daughter, who play another sold-out evening at the Bowery tonight in celebration of their debut record If You Leave's release yesterday, specialize in Music With Feelings. Emerging out of a solo project from Tonra, they trickled out singles and EPs over the past couple years, and now finally land with a full-length. The record is, no surprise, emotionally candid. Tonra's delightfully aggressive alto belts out open-wound statements like "I'm sorry if I smothered you/ I sometimes wish I stayed inside my mother" or "most of our feelings, they are dead and gone." It's something you should probably be careful about listening to on a rainy day.