Daughter and Choir of Young Believers at 7th Street Entry, 10/24/12

Daughter and Choir of Young Believers at 7th Street Entry, 10/24/12
Photo Courtesy of Daughter's Facebook

With Choir Of Young Believers
7th Street Entry, Minneapolis
October 24, 2012

On a dreary, rainy night which certainly made the headliners feel right at home, London's Daughter and Copenhagen's Choir of Young Believers both delivered stirring Minneapolis debuts at the Entry on Wednesday. The emerging young trio from the U.K. is only touring behind a pair of promising EPs (with a full-length on the way), but the relative novelty of Daughter didn't keep their die-hard fans away. The club was packed with attentive fans who were eager to see and hear the burgeoning band's inaugural Twin Cities stop, and Daughter didn't disappoint during their impassioned 55-minute set.

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Daughter's Remi Aguilella talks band dynamics ahead of their Entry show Wednesday

Denmark's Choir Of Young Believers, despite having two LPs and a slew of singles and EPs, were also making their premiere Minneapolis performance, and the sterling quintet delivered an expansive 40-minute set that was led by the dramatic vocals and easy charm of frontman Jannis Makrigiannis. The songs were augmented by the subtle strains from the cellist and keyboardist, whose muted flourishes gave the slow-burning songs a whispered elegance. But the songs were driven along by Makrigiannis, the mastermind behind the group, and he led the band through the opening three tracks from their glorious recent record, Rhine Gold, as the set started with the slowly building pulse of "The Third Time" which transitioned smoothly into "Patricia's Thirst" and the intoxicating swing of "Sedated."

The band went back to their striking debut, This Is For The White In Your Eyes, for the first time on a dramatic rendition of "Next Summer," a heartbreak song if there ever was one. But it was during the sprawling throb of "Paralyze" that the set truly caught fire, with Choir's sweeping sonic arrangements sounding reminiscent of the soaring flair of M83. Makrigiannis seemed quite pleased with the warm reception his band received throughout the set, and sincerely thanked us before their last song, "Hope to see you again someday. Have a good Daughter show tonight. Cheers!" And with that, the set ended with the inspired urgency of "Hollow Talk," which found both the band and the crowd lost in the raw intensity of the number.

Sadly, there was an interminable delay between sets, with 40 minutes passing before the start of Daughter's set and many in the packed club growing restless. But Elena Tonra's sheepish allure and her delicate but devastating songs made the wait more than worth it. The set started with "Run," which found drummer Remi Aguilella serving double-duty on bass and percussion as the track blossomed slowly, led by Tonra's pitch-perfect vocals and the subtle guitar flourishes of Igor Haefeli. A spirited version of "Landfill" quickly followed, but as the band switched instruments for the next number, Tonra joked, "Does anyone like gin? I know I'll sound like a spokesman for Hendrick's, but you should try this shit."

Haefeli took a bow to his guitar during a showstopping version of "Love," adding an ethereal sonic sweep to the heartrending number, which featured Tonra delivering her desperate vocals while also playing bass. "Candles" was guided along by Tonra's swelling acoustic guitar, as the poignant number gradually took flight. The crowd cheered after the first two notes of "Youth," causing Elena to chuckle a bit, surprised at that instantaneous recognition of her song in a city so far from her home. But of course the world is getting to know "Youth," as it is unquestionably one of the singles of the year, and their fiery, emotional rendition of the number was one of the clear highlights of the set.

After a rousing and well-deserved ovation, Tonra abashedly replied, "Thanks guys," before announcing that she needed a gin break before she introduced the next number. "I haven't played this in a while, so it might go wrong. If it does, I'll blame him (Haefeli)." A stunning solo acoustic rendition of "The Woods" followed, with Tonra fervently singing about needing Saint Christopher to find those that are lost before they come to harm. It was definitely a moving moment in a show full of them.

Tonra went back to her Demos EP for the next two songs, as both "In The Shallows" and "Tomorrow" took on an added resonance with the full band in contrast to the stark solo arrangements of Elena's original versions. But neither of them lost any of the vulnerable, unvarnished emotion in a live setting, as both numbers decidedly hit their mark. Tonra seemed almost reluctant to tell us that the night was coming to an end, "This is our last song. Awwww. You've been amazing, and we can't quite believe that we're here. Thank you." And with that, Daughter left us with a soaring and textured version of "Home," affectionately reminding us all where we are heading before we hopefully meet up again.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I love the recorded works of both bands, but hadn't seen either group perform live. I was impressed by both acts, and hope that they return to Minneapolis sometime soon.

The Crowd: A near capacity crowd who all have been captivated by Elena Tonra's songs and voice, so much so that you could hear a pin drop during their set. How refreshing it was to be in a packed club full of fans who were there to listen.

Overheard In The Crowd: Everyone around me was remarking how tired they were during the long wait between sets. But once Daughter took the stage, the complaining all ceased.

Random Notebook Dump: I was truly surprised that Daughter didn't play their brand new single, "Smother" (playing its B-side, "Run," instead). They also had sold-out of their vinyl and all copies of His Young Heart EP, and only had CD versions of The Wild Youth EP on offer. Obviously, U.S. audiences are clamoring for anything and everything from Daughter, whose star is decidedly on the rise here in the States as well as overseas.







The Woods

In The Shallows



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