Review: Daughter at the Portsmouth Pyramids

By Mia McTigue-Rodriguez

Picture this: a student night out that doesn’t involve sticky floors and anxiety pangs. Sound impossible? Think again. The tranquil electro sounds of Daughter are filling the Pyramids and it’s a world away from the bitter January cold and the rowdy streets of Portsmouth.

The venue has great acoustics – perhaps something to do with the famous glass roof? Either way, having the stars visible above the audience certainly adds to the magic.

Pixx (a.k.a Hannah Rodgers), the support act, is just as electronically inclined as the headliners and lyrics such as ‘I miss the lonesomeness I miss’ create a melancholy vibe. The richness of her voice compliments these raw, confessional lyrics; it’s hard to believe she’s only nineteen. If you’re feeling strained check out her EP Fall on ITunes. You’ll be relaxed in no time.

DaughterWhen Pixx finishes there’s a half hour interlude before the humble, smiley Elena Tonra graces the stage. Then come Igor Haefeli (guitars) and Remi Aguilella (drums). The trio are joined by a mystery member, a female keyboardist who isn’t introduced but whose dancing is infectious. With a modest ‘Hello’ from Elena, they effortlessly begin playing ‘Numbers’, the lead track from their new album Not to Disappear. The drums are beautifully controlled, making space for Elena’s gentle voice.

I’ll admit the lighting is distracting throughout, a little too school disco-esque for this gloomy trio, but it’s forgivable. The audience of slouchy, swaying jumpers makes a change from the typically student sight of cold chaotic queues outside nightclubs.

Other new tracks such as ‘No Care’ show that the band has transformed. Their pace is faster, their song structures more robust. Lyrically, there are some delightfully poetic – but also crude – metaphors and similes. For example: ‘there has only been one time where we fucked, and I felt like a bad memory’. There’s something a bit shocking about these words coming from the mouth of nervous Elena, who, girl-like, fiddles with her hair during applause.

Themes of loss and heartache echo Daughter’s previous albums. But on Not to Disappear they take it a step further. At one touching moment, Elena sings from the viewpoint of a dementia victim, aware of losing memories. When old favourites ‘Human’ and ‘Youth’ appear I’m lost in emotions I didn’t know I had, longing for lost lovers that don’t exist.

When the band returns for an encore, another newbie, ‘Made of Stone’, has Elena welling up. And as she sings the final line ‘you’ll find love can’t exist’, some in the audience bring their hands together and prove her wrong.

Photography by Mia McTigue-Rodriguez.