“I’m trying to get out // Find a subtle way out // Not just cross myself out // Not just disappear”

Elena Tonra professes to us, midway through set opener ‘New Ways’. A mixed message from their latest cut Not to Disappear, which was released last year to critical acclaim and has subsequently catapulted Daughter to the dizzy heights of the UK top 20 and the dark open spaces of Manchester’s Academy, one of their biggest gigs to date. There’s no opportunity for a subtle way out right now though, not even to sneak out the back door. Despite the stage being filled out with the addition of a brass trio, percussionist and Joe Duddell milling about the synths, Tonra still manages to cut an isolated figure.

Tonra’s turn of phrase is key tool that helps us to connect – it is also something that makes Daughter stand to the side, be individual of comparable acts such as Beach House and The xx. Though ironically, a theme running through Not To Disappear is a sense of losing one’s identity and individualism. This is only realised through the sheer honesty, openness and even vulnerability of Tonra’s lyrics.

There have been arguments in the past that there is no engagement with the crowd, the silence between songs is deafly at times. Or perhaps Daughter has gathered us in the palm of their hand and is holding us close, never too far away from their bosom. I believe that it is a little bit of both; the silence could easily be misconstrued as being southern and rude (if you’ve ever watched Laura Marling live, this is something she professes that she is not being). After all, the spaces in-between should be time to reflect on moments passed – this is where the engagement is; as an audience, we’re left to ponder our own thoughts, our brains are ticking, realising how the song has made us feel, if anything. It would be satisfying for us to gain an understanding of how the band feels too, this is perhaps where the silence does them no favours – they give nothing away. They don’t let us in.

With the aforementioned additions to the line-up, Daughter’s live performance has been able to recreate the multiple textures and lift them to the heights of their most cathartic moments on Not To Disappear. ‘To Belong’ reaches an almighty din as Tonra’s ethereal vocals let out “I don’t want to belong. Not to you, not to anyone”. Whilst ‘No Care’, a recent Radio 6 Music favourite, brings a welcome change of pace to the set and lets drummer Remi Aguilella run riot. Encored ‘Fossa’ has much the same effect; a surging of noise that feels like it could lose its way at any second, brings the night to a dramatic close, leaving us to breath heavily and reflect in the resonant atmosphere. We are released from the apparent trance that we were under. Daughter depart, having hypnotised us with ease.

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forever a student of music. Been in bands. Regularly attends gigs in Manchester's more intimate venues. Lazy blogger.