Concert Review: Wilsen, Daughter @ The Great Hall, Toronto, Canada
Last night, London trio Daughter played The Great Hall on Queen Street West in less than ideal conditions. From the warm weather inside the venue to the pre-show sound troubles to the lighting guy going a little crazy, the gig had it all. Before the sold out show, PeteHatesMusic chatted with the band, so check back here and follow us on Twitter @PeteHatesMusic to catch the launch of the interview.
Having never been to the Great Hall, I was impressed with the small, intimate nature of the venue, with the unique U-shaped balcony over top of the main floor. It’s a shame the ceiling fans did nothing but spread warm air directly to my body. But instead of bitching about the weather like an old man, let’s talk shop.
The openers were Wilsen, who Remi noted in the interview are an excellent band. Having seen their set, I would have to agree. The band are a 4 piece acoustic rock band from New York, also led by a female singer.
The first song received quite a positive reaction, which I actually think surprised the band. The next track continued the layered, acoustic mix, with the musical intro giving way to a switch up in pace and direction, almost like an entirely different song. The band featured (perhaps too much) lots of building up the music and then dropping the sound away. Granted this was an effective, it not sometimes predictable, way of engaging the listener.
The highlight of the 7 tracks played would be the surprisingly delicate cover of the Grimes track Oblivion, which I don’t think the crowd entirely recognized. If you like Fleet Foxes (and I hate comparing bands to other bands), I would give Wilsen a listen.
Daughter took the stage with singer Elena Tonra, percussionist Remi Aguilella and guitarist Igor Haefeli, plus a fourth touring member for most of the tracks. Elena smiled as the crowd cheered after first couple of lines of opener Shallows. She also appeared giddy during the quieter parts of the song as the crowd cheered yet again. The track was slow and sparse until the percussion took over to join a reverb-heavy guitar.
Elena briefly engaged the crowd, thanking us for waiting and noting they had a few technical issues (which is what they told me before our interview).
Candles kicked off to great applause, with the percussion gentle until the booming end. The track was fairly true to the album version. After the song ended, the band tuned and changed their instruments, which led the crowd to chat as there was essentially silence.
Igor brought out the bow to play his guitar during Love, and did the same during the follow up track Still. What can I say, the crowd loved the bow.
Amsterdam had a nice layered and building intro, not dominated by any one sound. Elena still seemed surprised and displayed humility after the crowd’s applause following each song. YOUR SONGS ARE GOOD! If only we all had such problems.
A slightly more up-tempo Landfill followed, with the crowd singing along at parts. There was a good build up towards the end of the first verse for the next track, Run, with a nice, powerful ending. The stand out track from If You Leave – Human – was next, and was really upbeat and lively.
Here’s where things went a little awry, due to no fault of Daughter. As the band played Smother, the stage lights cut out. I thought it might’ve been an odd attempt to change the dynamic of the track, but gauging by the band’s reaction when the lights came back on, this was not planned. The lights continued to have about 5 seconds of darkness, followed by brighter lights than the rest of the set had. Elena eventually laughed at the madness, and almost cut the track short, but managed to recover (unlike me from my hangover this morning).
The lighting problems didn’t end there, as Winter started in darkness, which is actually sort of symbolic. I felt bad for the band, given the kind of day they had
and idiotic interviews they had to do.
Up next was Tomorrow (NOT a Silverchair cover
unfortunately). The track was more urgent and pulsating live. Youth was the penultimate track, with Home closing out the set with an explosive finish, arguably producing the loudest noise from the band during the entire night.
Despite the rapturous reception the band received, they opted not to do an encore
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PHM Rating for Wilsen: 8.0 out of 10
PHM Rating for Daughter: 8.5 out of 10
Setlist for Daughter @ The Great Hall, Toronto, Canada – May 7, 2013
1 – Shallows
2 – Candles
3 – Love
4 – Still
5 – Amsterdam
6 – Landfill
7 – Run
8 – Human
9 – Smother
10 – Winter
11 – Tomorrow
12 – Youth
13 – Home