I don’t know what kind of crowd the members of Daughters expected to come out for the first official taste of Hell Songs (released August 8 on Hydra Head), but they certainly didn’t approve of who showed up: an assortment of Hot Topic train wrecks and a higher-than-allowable ratio of Jnco jeans per square foot.
After much anticipation (mostly from wanting the terrible opening bands to stop playing), the members of Daughters took the stage and worked their way through their new material, as well as some tracks from their 2003 debut, Canada Songs. Singer Alexis Marshall paused between songs early in their set to address the fact that he has abandoned his screaming for, as he put it, a more “refined” singing fashion. His new delivery is quite a departure from his previous work; it’s more like the ranting of a Southern Baptist minister on valium than actual singing. The effect is completely disturbing. Imagine a longhaired, wild-eyed Marshall dressed like a cowboy delivering his sermon of the insane to the sea of cult-like devotees in front of him while the band raises the dead with an unholy combination of treble, percussion and speed.
Marshall seemed to be seething with contempt for the crowd through the entire set. At first it seemed to spur him into spastic hair-swinging and entertainingly violent gestures toward the audience. It seemed he could barely tolerate the crowd that had paid to see him perform. The band’s songs are generally short, sweet and to the point, so there’s no telling how long the set was intended to last. About twenty minutes into the set, though, an audience member climbed over the front few rows of people and slapped Marshall’s outstretched hand. This was apparently the final straw: Marshall drew back and dropped the microphone and even fiddled with his belt and pants for a minute before presumably deciding that this crowd wasn’t worthy of seeing his genitalia.
As the song finished, Marshall walked off stage, and the rest of the band followed. The house lights remained off for the next five minutes — apparently whoever was working them thought that the show was supposed to continue. The crowd applauded and anticipated the band’s return to the stage, but it never returned. Eventually the house lights and music came on — an anti-climatic finish to a tension-filled show.