An eight-year recording hiatus can frustrate fans, but experimental noise-rock band Daughters made sure it was worth the wait. After receiving rave reviews on its latest studio album, “You Won’t Get What You Want,” Daughters returned to Chicago for a sold out show at Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake St.) March 8.
Vocalist Alexis Marshall, guitarist Nick Sadler, bassist Sam Walker and drummer Jon Syverson — the four members of Daughters — are touring North America and Europe this year alongside keyboardist Lisa Mungo from He Whose Ox is Gored and bassist Chris Slorach from METZ.
Daughters was preceded by two openers: HIDE and Wolf Eyes. HIDE performed a 30-minute set that consisted of droning, industrial-sounding music with vocalist Heather Gabel and Seth Sher playing synth.
Gabel put on a captivating live show with her haunting facial expressions, revealing outfit and thrashing movements. The rhythmic electronic sounds paired well with the constant strobe light that illuminated the stage.
Conversely, the second opener, Wolf Eyes, was much less energized on stage. The old-school experimental Detroit duo, consisting of Nate Young and John Olson, performed for about 45 minutes. Each song ran into the next as did each performer’s stage presence.
For the entire set, Young looked as if he had smelled something bad while he pressed buttons on his synth. Olson utilized two strange, handcrafted instruments to produce various noises, almost all of which were unpleasant. One of the instruments looked like a recorder with a metal plunger head attached the end of it. The other appeared to be crafted with polyvinyl chloride, or PVC pipes and string.
It’s clear Wolf Eyes is simply past its prime as it was a notable experimental electronic group in the 2000s with hundreds of recordings to show for it. However, its music didn’t coincide well with the other acts, and the audience’s weak response made that obvious.
Wolf Eyes exited the stage, and the audience waited anxiously for the chaos that was about to ensue.
After calmly walking across the stage, Daughters immediately began pounding through the setlist, opening with “The Reason They Hate Me.” Marshall, who wore an expensive-looking dress shirt, black pants and dress shoes, went into complete savage mode at the sound of the first note.
With glow-in-the-dark plugs filling their ears, the front row of the audience matched Marshall’s manic energy instantly. The young crowd — evident from X’s on the backs of hands — was melodically moshing by the third song, pushing the entire crowd in different directions and following the rhythm of the songs playing.
Marshall’s performance was shockingly primal in many ways.
Early in the show, he deep-throated the microphone and pulled it back out with a string of spit attached. The vocalist proceeded to hit himself in the head with it, bloodying his own forehead. Later in the show, he even wrapped the mic cord around his neck, scratched his own chest and spit all over himself and his surroundings.
As if this wasn’t enough, Marshall gave the mic a final blow. After smashing it on the stage floor several times, it had to be replaced with a new one before the show could continue.
The crowd couldn’t get enough of the lead singer. They reached out to him in awe and allowed him to seductively suck on their fingers without pulling away. By the end of the show, Marshall was crowd-surfing and even pulled Slorach into the pit with his bass in tow.
The rest of the band fueled Marshall’s intensity with Sadler aggressively strumming his guitar and Syverson beating the life out of his drums without pause. The group as a unit was so loud the distinct noises ran together creating a cohesive and cacophonic sound that complemented Marshall’s unexpectedly melodic and drawl-ridden vocals.
At least two of the string instruments had their own pedalboards. This, paired with the synthesizer played by touring guest Mungo, explained the band’s ability to seamlessly translate its jarringly distorted studio sounds to its live show.
The show left a lasting impression on its audience members who were fortunate enough to see Daughters after a brief split and extensive recording hiatus. Daughters’ music is available to stream online.