Daugther Makes American Debut at Mercury Lounge

March 12th, 2012

Daughter – Mercury Lounge – March 9, 2012

Already creating quite the name for herself in her native England, Daughter (aka Elena Tonra) made her first live appearance in the US at Mercury Lounge on Friday night. I first caught wind of Daughter when UK indie label Communion put out two beautiful EPs of hers, The Wild Youth and His Young Heart, in the last few months. In what felt like a sold-out room, Daughter took the stage as a shy but friendly three-piece. They played to utter silence with loud applause in between songs, which regular New York City concertgoers realized was a rare thing to behold.

Songs like “Landfill,” in which Tonra sings, “Throw me in the water/ Don’t think about the splash I will create/ Leave me at the altar/ Knowing all the things you just escaped,” left everyone looking on in awe at an incredibly talented new songwriter. Daughter’s material is mellow and melancholy while retaining a hopeful edge. Songs, like “Candles,” that start slow but are joined midway through by a faster drum groove got the audience moving.

When she played her most well-known song, “Youth,” toward the end of the set, the lyrics once again stayed with me: “And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones/ ’Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs/ Setting fire to our insides for fun.” With her voice beautiful and clear and her words cutting through to resonate long after the set was done, it was clear to everyone in the room that they had witnessed something special. In time, this will no doubt be one of those shows you tell people about, that you were there for the first Daughter show in New York City. —Lauren Glucksman