Published Nov 13, 2016Ugly times call for ugly music, and reunited Rhode Island noise rock unit Daughters returned to Vancouver this weekend quite weary from the U.S. election results. "Shit's real fucked up at home for us, so it's nice to be here," vocalist Alexis Marshall told a mostly full Cobalt crowd of the Trump victory, between haunted blasts from their back catalogue of Canada Songs.
Ahead of the headliners, though, tourmates Loma Prieta offered some of the most melodic and melancholic moments of the night. The Bay Area hardcore band's set was plenty jagged, and came filled with blast beats, but the set was also injected with distorted waltz dynamics, post hardcore sing-screaming, and a cough of dry ice that enshrouded drummer Val Saucedo for the last three songs.
The Body upped the volume of the night considerably, expressing the detuned, fuzz-covered distress of guitars and noise boxes through several towering speaker cabinets. While powerful, the trill of Chip King's guitar often eclipsed the sound of the band's electronic programming and vocals, which came either shrieked or sung.
The last time Daughters were in town was in 2006, a show memorialized through a pair of YouTube clips of the band playing to an empty room. In that sense, times have changed — the Cobalt was nearly sold out on this night. Marshall, meanwhile, is about 30 pounds lighter, having shorn his old, knee-length matte of hair in favour of a to-the-skull shave job. The band's music remained as oppressive as it was in the old days.
There were furious and freaky early moments like "Fiery," which found lead guitarist Nicholas Sadler screeching out octave pedal-affected guitar noise that alternated between sounding like a compound car crash and a spaceship heading into warp speed. Deceptively danceable, "Recorded Inside a Pyramid" pitted an almost disco-fied four-on-the-floor stomp against discordant, back-and-forth guitar passages and Marshall's carnival barker-style tirade.
While the set was heavy on the uncomfortable assemblage of grind and art rock pieces from the band's Hell Songs and their 2010 self-titled collection, the singer also assumed the same unsettling drawl for once-screamed Canada Songs cuts like "Fur Beach." The set wasn't all nostalgia, though, as Daughters also showcased new tune "Long Road, No Turns," a sinewy and cyclical stressed-out groove set to appear on a forthcoming project.
Throughout the night, Daughters offered a steady mix of damage-inflicting six-string zaniness, hard-stomped double-kick rhythms and more. Crowd-wise, the energy was met by a miffed stage dive from a towering blonde attendee, and a more successful crowd surfing attempt from a guy wearing a crocheted Batman hat and studded vest. Marshall's own punky performance found him staring steely-eyed into the crowd, or spitting up in the air and catching it back in his mouth. At one point, he tossed the mic cable over the Cobalt's pipe system, hung it overhead, and howled like a boxing announcer unhinged.
The singer noted that returning to the stage for an encore will "never feel not stupid," but "Cheers, Pricks!" got a push pit going quickly. The song, like most Daughters pieces, was hammered out viciously enough to leave a bruise. Even so, it was oddly beautiful.