No one embodies misfortune, panic, disease and filth quite like Daughters. And no one makes it so aurally empowering, either. For most of their nine-year existence, they only created obsessive cult fans or extreme haters until creative tensions led to their 2010 demise. They reunited for one final $13 show on Friday (September 13) at Rhode Island’s The Met, their first gig in four years, later adding a second Sunday set because of demand.
By a haphazard estimate, somewhere between 25% to half of Friday’s sold out crowd flew in from across the globe or drove from several states away. I came in from Seattle, sold a spare ticket to a dude from Sacramento, and talked to many pond-crossers from Europe. So, in order to get into a $13 punk show with no reentry in a bad Pawtucket neighborhood, roughly a third of the Met’s capacity (including myself) bought tickets within 36 hours of the show’s June announcement and flew a couple thousand miles just to see these guys one last time. This isn’t your by-the-book group of Warped Tour haircuts or impressive-but-generic speed metal band – but I digress, if you need further convincing, go check out what Russian Circles‘ Brian Cook had to say about their unsung importance.
Lead guitarist Nick Sadler took to the stage alone, almost feigning a soundcheck with the opening audio chafes of “The Dead Singer.” As drummer Jon Syverson sat down and turned on his personal fan, it became apparent they were subtly starting their set incognito until the frontman himself, Alexis SF Marshall, busted out in a full suit; a far cry from his famed days of wife-beaters, tighty-whiteys turned black with grime, and full nudity. Although opener Doomsday Student took over in the scrotum-showing department, anyway.
If there’s any argument to be made about a loss in manic intensity – the boys are older and now in tamer projects, Lex is rumored to be sober and is physically much cleaner – they made up for it in polish and heaviness. Unlike past, oft-rushed performances, everything they played that night dropped into a cathartic groove, from the straight grindcore of Canada Songs to the chaos of personal fave Hell Songs and the horrifically accessible self-titled, which was played in its entirety. Perhaps more importantly, the room’s energy was surprising to even my metal-head/Daughters-virgin buddies, enough for two other members of the pit to be escorted out for exhaustion (not for misconduct).
For closer “The Unattractive, Portable Head,” former Daughters guitarist Brent Frattini (now of opener Deleted Arrows, who brought a memorable slightly-mathy, instrumental Circa Survive vibe) filled in for Sadler, who had moved to organ for the happiest climax in the entire Daughters catalog as fans made their way on stage to scream along: [LISTEN]
The only minor complaint anyone had was wishing for more (especially of Hell Songs), and possibly the shared regret that many of us, like myself, hadn’t stuck around to see Lex dislocate his shoulder at the second show on Sunday.
So goes the story for all of us. RIP, Daughters.
Photos: Freddie Ross