By the time Elena Tonra cooed the opening lines of “Run” — near the end of Daughter’s set at Neumos last night, the audience was in too deep. The feelings were too close to the surface and there was no turning back. That seems to be the theme of Daughter’s music — it has you feeling all the feelings, from all directions, at all the same time.
The last time the London-based trio came through town, in October 2012, it played to a small, adoring crowd at Barboza. In the months since that show, the band has released its full-length debut, If You Leave, a 10-song collection of introspective dream-folk tracks — and the demand has swelled.
Silence fell over the room the moment the act took the stage. This was a show for lovers and listeners, and as the percussion began to build, smiles were suppressed and bodies began to sway. Feelings washed over the room for the first of many times.
Though calm and collected behind the shield of her sparkly guitar and emotive lyrics, Tonra turned mouse-y and bashful when stripped of either. It was the juxtaposition of this demeanor against the raw magnetism of her songs that proved the most endearing revelation of the night.
“We really didn’t expect this,” Tonra said time and time again during the show, one stop on a tour that marked only their third time stateside.
The genuine surprise was a refreshing moment of authenticity, and a sentiment made only more powerful as the words “I love you so much, but I hate your guts” poured from every corner of the packed room.
Although the soul of the project is Tonra, and her angelic noise, Thursday’s set also proved a worthy introduction to guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella. The pair shined on tracks “Human” and “Home” where the sparseness of the arrangements gave ample space for their instrumental girth to be fully realized, the result being the erratic heartbeat to Tonra’s emotive tracks.
Daughter makes the kind of music that finds you wrapping your arms around your chest, holding on with all your might, and hoping to never let go. Because that’s the only way you’re going to keep your pounding heart from breaking into a million pieces — that’s the only way you’re going to keep all the feelings from pouring out as you sing along.
As the group dove into “Youth,” Tonra gave into the inevitable, asking the crowd to join in. When the act returned to the stage — in a truly unexpected move — to play their slow-burning cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” the room seemed to explode.
There were just too many feelings — and Tonra couldn’t have stopped them even if she tried.