Daughters / HEALTH - live in Boston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Daughters / HEALTH

live in Boston (2019)

live show

This was quite the noisy, abrasive gig to get one in the holiday spirit. Post-grindcore noise rock darlings Daughters were closing out this co-headlining tour with industrial loud-racketers HEALTH in the former’s kinda home market of Boston just a couple days before Christmas, and it was a gift indeed.

First up was NYC’s Show Me the Body, who were just getting into the swing of things when I arrived. This is a band that’s always confounded me a bit, but maybe that’s their goal. I believe they bill themselves as a hardcore band, more or less, but if I was seeing this right, I don’t think they had a guitarist -- definitely a bassist, and according to the internet, a banjo-ist, though it looked to me like an additional bassist. Their bio professes hip-hop, noise rock, industrial and sludge metal influences being incorporated in the mix, but I don’t know, really; I think they just sort of sound like Iceage (but more erratic and directionless) with those slurred sort of vocals, and a more primitive, vintage punk undercurrent. It doesn’t really do much for me, honestly, but they certainly had energy and a ferocity that was warming the crowd up well. The audience was super into it, in fact, feeding off their energy and giving it right back, as their singer leapt onto the crowd once or twice, as well as their bassist (/synth operative, I think?).

I actually reviewed HEALTH’s first album way back in the day when they were just as noisy and experimental, but more in the company of Liars than Nine Inch Nails. I thought that self-titled LP was pretty cool, but I just didn’t keep up in the intervening years as I’m sure their sound got harsher and stranger (and the multitude of remix albums and a video game soundtrack seems to all but confirm that). I did, however, appreciate the visual aesthetic of their latest album, Vol. 4 : : Slaves of Fear and checked out its title track lead single, enjoying it enough to scope the full album and, yeah, it’s good! These days, they’re definitely loud and noisy and experimental; but they’re much more in the industrial sphere, with slightly nasally, slightly higher-register vocals one could sensibly compare to, say, Placebo. While the bands billed this as a co-headlining venture, HEALTH had a very standard 45-minute opening set, which seemed like plenty as their live show is some major sensory overload: a near-constant barrage of harsh industrial beats and strobe lights that are practically unrelenting. The opening salvo was straight-up cacophony before settling in, while there was one song in particular with a bleating, rattling rhythmic noise that veered a little bit past “how much art can you take?” for me. But the rest was cool, a more tasteful procession that included songs like “Feel Nothing” and “Strange Days (1999)”.

Hoo boy. The crowd was already a ruckus, but it seemed like a fire broke out as soon as Daughters busted into opener “The Reason They Hate Me”. The atmosphere was just chaos. The crowd went nuts as the raucous Daughters sneered and clanged their way through most of their acclaimed 2018 album, You Won’t Get What You Want, sounding very good in the process. There was some funny interaction where a request for some songs off 2003’s Canada Songs was met by frontman Alexis S.F. Marshall with a simple grimace and a “nope.” The furthest back the band would go was 2010’s self-titled, but it was totally cool as the strange and catchy recent material created a riotous scene, with Marshall putting an exclamation point on it by diving on top of the crowd several times during the second half of the set.

The band barely paused as they moved from one song to the other, with Marshall offering very little banter. He thanked the openers at the halfway point of the set as if it was premeditated, and that was it, really. It lent itself to a consistently menacing atmosphere as a result with little reprieve, and the suffocating nature of it all was an apt live recreation of You Won’t Get’s vibe.

Set list (10:18-11:20):

1. The Reason They Hate Me

2. The Lords Song

3. City Song

4. Long Road, No Turns

5. Our Queens (One Is Many, Many Are One)

6. Satan in the Wait


7. The Hit

8. The Virgin

9. Less Sex

10. Guest House

11. Daughter

12. Ocean Song