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Daughters Brings An Intimate Vibe To The Fans

Photos & Words By Jake Rabin

Walking up to Emo’s Austin, past the band’s enormous idling tour van, it’s clear that in the span of a few short months, the band are now moving forward in their career at an exponential pace. The last time I shot Daughters in Austin in March of this year was at a smaller, maybe-500-person capacity venue. The more intimate setting allowed for the band and the audience to connect and engage in a way that you don’t often get to see at larger shows.

No press pit, no barrier; just frontman Alexis Marshall screaming directly into the faces of a chaotic crowd. It was loud and intense and cathartic and physical. Is such an intimate performance even possible at a larger venue?

It turns out that yes, yes it is. 

Taking the stage at the 1700-capacity Emo’s, the nearly sold-out crowd immediately went into a frenzy as the band began performing songs from their 2018 release “You Won’t Get What You Want.” In contrast to their 2003 release “Canada Songs,” or even their most recent release, 2010’s self-titled LP “Daughters,” the newest Daughters material feels the most structured, deliberate, and coherent.

They do not shy away from the at-times-hard-to-listen-to elements found in their early material of course (if anything they lean into them). These often jarring sonic elements feel like carefully crafted pieces in a bigger, more artistic composition. The music is gritty, violent, beautiful, moody, fast, slow, abrasive, enveloping. It entices you in as much as it gently pushes you away, and it’s this dichotomy that makes a Daughters performance so mesmerizing. Whether swallowing the microphone whole, hurling it around his head and neck, or shoving it into the entranced faces of the screaming crowd, Marshall’s stage presence feels more like a cult leader than a lead singer. His energy and intensity are absolutely captivating, a blend of violence and mystery and aggression and compassion. 

Throughout the 60-minute performance, the crowd proved just as energized and enthralled as they did in March. People were screaming along with Marshall from the very first note. They were pushing and clawing their way to the front of the barrier. Eventually, Marshall climbed down from the stage, through the press-pit, and stood perched directly on the railing. He gave the audience that personal physical element required of a proper Daughters show. A subtle smirk crawled across Marshall’s face. Even he couldn’t help but show his approval. 

Overall, the show and performance were incredible. This was a real testament to how far this band has come since it’s inception. Also, where it now stands in the musical landscape. Rightfully so. Daughters consistently make powerful music that forces emotion into the listener. Whether instrumentally, vocally, or lyrically, you’re now captivated. You’re hooked. And that’s the best way to feel at a show. 

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