It’s fair to say a lot of Daughter fans were excited at the prospect of hearing Elena Tonra’s crooning vocals reverberate round the cavernous spaces of a church. At first, it sounded too good to be true: surely it must have been a converted church. But no, St Mary’s Church still hosts its regular Sunday service.
As we walked in it was a pleasant surprise to see the church virtually untouched with the pews still in place. That does mean the bustling disciples were sat down, but let’s be honest, you’re not exactly going to be raving at a Daughter gig (or in a church for that matter). It’s probably the largest crowd that had sat beneath the majestic arches for some time – many even ended up on prayer cushions, all cross-legged and gawping at the splendour of the moment. It was clear this wouldn’t be just some gig you went to.
Daughter’s sound is perfectly enhanced by the natural reverb provided by the church, which meant some of the production you hear in their EPs was stripped back. In return, we got a sound that was evocative and raw, the powerfully soft sound of ‘Medicine’ filled the room with such vitality that you could hear the goosebumps popping around the room. “You’ve got a second chance” has never been uttered with such aching honesty – even in this location.
The entire set was absolutely beguiling but the eerie fiddle on guitar sound in ‘Love’ was the atmospheric crest. The lack of tracks from their imminent debut album was the only disappointment because, for many, this was a chance to get a sneak preview before it’s released next month. It was not to be. Nevertheless, it’s not often you get to experience such a mesmerising night where sound and setting make a heavenly match.
St Mary’s Church, Thursday 17th January 2013
Words by Matthew Yau