Daughters

support Jeromes Dream
author AP date 23/10/19 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

When the news broke earlier this year that Daughters would be performing in such an intimate setting as Loppen, it almost sounded too good to be true. I had just watched the band master an audience of almost 3.000 people at Roadburn, and deliver one of the most energetic and mental performances I have ever seen, and the tiny Copenhagen venue seemed like the perfect place for that energy to unfold in an even more explosive way. And Daughters’ reputation as a spellbinding live act has clearly not escaped the attention of Danish fans; the venue is packed to the rafters with an unusually diverse crowd already when I arrive some 45 minutes before the support band is supposed to start. This bodes well, I think to myself, and move quickly to secure a position as close to the stage as possible…

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest


Jeromes Dream

For most people in attendance tonight (and certainly for yours truly), Jeromes Dream is likely to be something of an enigma. The screamo band from Connecticut was originally only active for a short stint from 1997 to 2001 and never made it over the Atlantic Ocean — but last year, the four musicians reunited and recorded a new, untitled album, which was released this past summer. And now, more than two decades after its formation, the quartet has finally arrived on European shores by invitation from Daughters, which, of course, is an intriguing prospect in an of itself. The band maintains the enigma by refusing to interact with the audience, and even performing in an unorthodox circular formation in which the bass-wielding frontman Jeff Smith plays with his back to the audience for the entire duration of the 30-minute set. When the first song is aired, it also becomes obvious that screamo is quite a simplification of the sound and style of Jeromes Dream, with strong touches of math and noise rock, and even grindcore and powerviolence protruding from the music. It is very extreme, and as such, it is no wonder that a violent moshpit immediately forms, and sends scores of unassuming people upfront fleeing the maelstrom of flailing arms and legs in front of the stage.

In spite of Jeromes Dream shunning crowd interaction, it would be a gross understatement to call their showmanship introspective, with the two guitarists in particular exerting themselves wildly throughout the concert. The duo never cease to move as they execute spins and swing their axes precariously close to the frontmost members of the jampacked audience, who look to be lapping these songs up with a thirst not often seen when talking about support acts. I am not surprised, however; for fans of noisy, vitriolic music it is hard to imagine a much better route to catharsis than this four-piece. Both their performance and their songs are marked by an unpredictability that keeps me on the edge always, with especially the snarling vocal style employed by Smith striking an interesting nuance into the proceedings, as it is not often one hears a voice better suited to sludge metal used in what is still essentially screamo. As a wall of noise gives way to a receding whine of feedback after the final song of the evening, I thus find myself with some homework to do, that being to dig into this band’s discography and see if Jeromes Dream are just as far up my alley on record as they are in the live setting.

8


Daughters

If sweat was not already dripping from the ceiling, Daughters ensure that the venue reaches boiling point when “The Reason They Hate Me” off the Providence, RI-based noise rock group’s excellent latest album “You Won’t Get What You Want” erupts from the PA. The sound is dense and abrasive thanks to the heavy presence of drummer Jon Syverson and session bassist Monika Khot (who is also known as the experimental noise artist Nordra) in the mix, with especially the intermittent double pedal kicks by the former providing ample fodder for the moshpit, which has been raging in the front from the very first second of the concert. Indeed, everyone in the vicinity of the stage is forced into a movement one has no control over, as the sold out crowd ebbs and sways to the rhythm of the quintet’s music. Taking note of the euphoric reaction, vocalist Alexis S.F. Marshall gets into his usual wacko character, imposing himself unto, hugging, and eventually surfing over the crowd as “Satan in the Wait” is aired. Just like at Roadburn earlier this year, he is here, there and everywhere, pounding his microphone into both the ceiling and his own forehead, making it hardly a surprise that there is an assortment of disfigured mics for sale over at the merch stand tonight.

But where at Roadburn virtually all of the attention was on Marshall, in these more intimate confines the rest of the band seems to come alive as well (or at least the other musicians are able to draw more of the spotlight onto themselves). Guitarist Nicholas Sadler is a particularly vivid sight on stage right, swinging the neck and head of his axe so close to the people in the front row that it is a wonder no one gets a souvenir head scar akin to Marshall’s. Neither does he shy away from crowd surfing and moshing himself when the more psychedelic cut “Dead Singer” off the band’s self-titled offering from 2011 is played. Marshall may have entered the stage elegantly dressed in a suit and patterned shirt, looking quite gentlemanly and bowing in the direction of the equally kooky Mike Patton. But as the heat inside the venue rises and the madness grows more severe, he gradually sheds most of it to reveal a completely different aspect of himself, one who reminds me of Frank Carter as he once again surfs on the heads of the audience and scrapes the ceiling with his microphone during the likes of “Less Sex”.

I have to be honest: the mayhem (and heat!) gets a bit too intense for me during that song, so I extract myself from the front and watch the rest of the performance from further away. But even from my new vantage point, the spiralling descent into chaos is spectacular to behold, and when the maddening “Guest House” reaches its climax in those screams of “Let me in!” by Marshall, my voice joins the rest of the audience in reciprocating them, too. During the penultimate song “Daughter”, Marshall adopts an almost demagogic personality, standing completely still with his hands behind his back as though he were marvelling at the profound impact his antics have on people. It is yet another facet of what must be one of the absolute best frontmen in the world. And indeed, now that bands like The Chariot, Dillinger Escape Plan and The Psyke Project no longer exist, it is a relief that Daughters are still there to provide us connoisseurs of chaos with a fix. It all comes crashing down with cascades of feedback, and Marshall taking one last dive into the arms of his fans in the closing track “Ocean Song”, and once that rings out, I cannot help but feel sorry for all the people that did not get to witness this latest blast of insanity from what is swiftly becoming one of my favourite live bands.

9

Setlist:

  • 01. The Reason They Hate Me
  • 02. The Lords Song
  • 03. Satan in the Wait
  • 04. The Dead Singer
  • 05. Our Queens (One Is Many, Many Are One)
  • 06. Long Road, No Turns
  • 07. Less Sex
  • 08. The Hit
  • 09. The Virgin
  • 10. Guest House
  • 11. Daughter
  • 12. Ocean Song

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