Live Review: Daughters @ Black Cat — 2/17/19

Daughters 1 Daughters perform at Black Cat on Feb. 17, 2019. (Photo by Andy Jillson)

Daughters’ show at DC’s Black Cat recently was nothing short of amazing. Watching Daughters perform live is equal parts beautiful and disturbing. 

I was fortunate enough to have seen Daughters at The Metro Gallery in Baltimore less than a year ago, which was ear-opening. They blew me away that night, but I wasn’t expecting their show at Black Cat in DC to be all that much different. I was wrong.  

For the band’s performance on Feb. 17, they were more energetic, unified, and rehearsed. The vibes were positive and the atmosphere they created was uplifting and intense. There was a feeling of overwhelming joy in the room mixed with a feeling of impending doom. Strange combination. Fans were completely losing their shit the entire set. It was much more difficult than usual to obtain my shots of the band due to the low-lighting, tightly-packed audience, and spastic movements of the band. I was, however, able to capture some of the magic.

Daughters’ sound is difficult to describe. Their music is aggressive, abrasive, and unpredictable.  The vocals sound similar to David Yow’s vocals of The Jesus Lizard (which sound similar to Nick Cave’s vocals of The Birthday Party). Other than that observation, my mind cannot seem to categorize Daughters. The music itself sounds like almost nothing I’ve ever heard. I honestly can’t compare their style to any other specific bands or genres. They’re refreshingly unique and have really created their own sort of DIY sound. They’re kind of psychedelic, punk, metal, industrial, alternative, hardcore, grindcore, mathcore, noise rock. There. That should sum it up!

The band’s setlist consisted mainly of songs from their newest album, You Won’t Get What You Want (which is the band’s fourth studio album and first album in 8 years); however, they did play a good amount of fan favorites from their earlier releases. Songs Daughters played that stood out to me were, “The Reason They Hate Me,” “The Lords Song,” “Our Queens (One Is Many, Many Are One),” “Long Road, No Turns,” “Less Sex,” “The Hit,” and “Guest House.”

Stream You Won’t Get What You Want by Daughters on Spotify:

The venue was boiling hot, concert-goers were hopping up and down and slamming into each other, and you were going to be an active participant in this event whether you liked it or not. Drinks were being spilled left and right, and people were crowd surfing and falling on the floor.

Lead vocalist Alexis SF Marshall’s vocal delivery was scathing. He channeled a higher power deep within himself, unleashing a barrage of primal screams, groans, grunts, and demonic bodily postures. Possessed by the power of his own voice and the sound of Daughters churning behind him, he repeatedly bashed himself in the head with his microphone, screamed at the audience, and spit on the stage. He even encouraged the crowd to take part in the abuse, grabbing some close fans by their arms and slapping himself in the face with their hands.

By the end of their set, Alexis had stripped off his suit and button up shirt, was completely drenched in sweat, bloody, and in his element. It was a real life horror show. The other members of Daughters were also engulfed in the music, enjoying their present moment, and deconstructing their instruments. Guitarist Nick Sadler basically sexually assaulted his guitar during the last song.

Daughters’ music sounds like it’s performed by a band of savage outlaws fronted by an escape mental patient — and that’s kind of what they look like too. Their music is chaotic yet calculated. It would work great as the soundtrack to a David Lynch film or as a torture device in a prison camp.   

Raw, brutal, and unforgiving. These are daughters that cuss, drink, smoke cigarettes, and have chlamydia. These are daughters that break societies mold, stab you in the neck with it, and watch you slowly bleed to death.

If you don’t know, now you know! Go buy Daughters’ newest album on Ipecac Recordings (that’s right, Mike Patton’s label), You Won’t Get What You Want. Then find out where they’re playing near you, buy a ticket, and go have your mind blown already! Daughters are without a doubt one of the best bands I have yet to cover. This review doesn’t even come close to accurately describing how great this band is.  

Here are some photos of Daughters performing at DC’s Black Cat on Feb. 17, 2019. All photos copyright and courtesy of Andy Jillson.     

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