Daughters - live in Cambridge (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


live in Cambridge (2019)

live show

Daughters are having a moment right now, in case you haven’t noticed. You Won’t Get What You Want, the band’s reunion record released last fall, received massive accolades with glowing reviews across the board. And it’s completely warranted: You Won’t Get What You Want is a harrowing, end-times experimental rock record that sounds fit for the current social and political climate, so no wonder everyone’s hopping on board.

Montreal’s Big Brave were closing out their set when I arrived. The three-piece played kind of sludgy, noisy doom, with a bit of a post-metal feel. They weren’t too bad and set up more of the foreboding atmosphere for Daughters to soon capitalize on.

The show was sold out and the venue was packed, the crowd definitely teeming with anticipation. The band came out onto the stage with a backdrop of their new album cover that had been hanging during the whole show, then ripped it open with the dementedly dancey “The Reason They Hate Me” and the audience started to whip into a frenzy up front. It didn’t really let up much from there aside from the slower “Less Sex”. The band played the lion’s share of their new, aforementioned album, as well a nice quartet from their last pre-breakup album, 2010’s self-titled, and two off 2006’s dizzy Hell Songs. People were fucking stoked no matter the song, though, especially the heavenly hellish “Satan in the Wait”, the sneering “Long Road, No Turns” and the bombastic, demonically repetitive “Guest House”. There’s a newfound catchiness and hook-driven basis for these songs, and it garnered lots of crazed shout-alongs. And they almost never stopped moving, shoving, and pushing.

The band was equal parts intense and entertaining. Singer Alexis S.F. Marshall always seems to have a cut on his forehead every single live show, presumably from bashing the mic into his forehead every night on tour -- it’s basically a bindi. He also occasionally swallows the mic or swings it into the floor, stalks around the stage in a possessed sway, and spits straight into the air with his head thrown back and catches it with his mouth or hand. It’s a series of mildly unsettling quirks that complement the band’s atmosphere pretty well, to be honest. The band behind him sounded wonderful, clashing their guitars with that mix of noise rock and industrial that they’ve honed so well by this point while performing with the right amount of energy that didn’t make Marshall look completely out of place.

Daughters have always been delightful weirdos since they formed in the early 2000s, but they really are something special now and it’s very cool that people are catching on. Here’s to hoping this is actually just the start of a long and fruitful artistic career (à la their forebears in Swans) that results in more stunning gems like You Won’t Get What You Want.

Set list (9:50-10:52):

1. The Reason They Hate Me


2. The Lords Song


3. Satan in the Wait


4. The Dead Singer

5. Recorded Inside a Pyramid


6. Our Queens (One Is Many, Many Is One)


7. Long Road, No Turns

8. Daughters Spelled Wrong

9. Less Sex

10. The Hit

11. The Virgin


12. Guest House

13. Daughter

14. Ocean Song