Since Friday night marked Daughter's first time headlining in Milwaukee, the U.K. band's Turner Hall Ballroom gig arrived highly anticipated tonight. Normally, the band hits Chicago rather than here, but they decided to mix things up – and you could obviously tell their Cream City fans were excited about it.
Walking up to the venue an hour before the show, there was already a line waiting out door, and when you finally made it inside, the band's rare Milwaukee visit managed to pack the house, pretty much filling up Turner Hall both on the bottom level and the balcony.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that, right from the start of its set, Daughter had the audience hooked. The band members all wore black and white, so that the stage's lighting and decor – featuring colors switching from warm oranges and light pinks to a cooler set of purples and blues – could stand out, entrancing the audience with the atmosphere. To help keep the crowd under its spell, the lights would flash throughout the set, and the backgrounds wold change with cool patterns and shapes as well.
However, what really drew the audience in were front woman Elena Tonra's amazing pipes. Her hauntingly beautiful voice gave chills to the audience – and even brought some members to tears – as she sang powerful songs like "Smother" and "Human."
The band surrounding her complimented her voice well with their arrangements. Their guitar and drums featured powerful beats that weren't overbearing, but rather reflected the calmness and haunted aspect of her voice and lyrics.
The chill music created a smooth and relaxed atmosphere in the crowded Turner Hall Ballroom space, making the show feel like the perfect way to unwind after a long week. A sense of calm washed over the audience, and at peace, they swayed to the band playing through several new songs off their latest album, "Not to Disappear," – such as "How" and "To Belong" – as well as some older tunes like "Shallows" and "Tomorrow."
The highlight of the whole show, however, arrived when they kept with their calming vibes and sang their classic hit, "Youth." Tonra opened it off powerfully, singing with her guitar with no other band members and bringing chills to everyone in attendance. Her powerful voice made you feel close to the band, like you were seeing them in an intimate setting rather a crowded room full of people. The fans in the room also began to sing along to the words as the song went along, a beautiful moment of feeling like a part of a bigger thing.
Besides being entranced by the music, Daughter made it easy for the audience to fall in love with their personality and quirkiness as well throughout the evening. They were shy and didn't say much early on, but once their London roots – and British accents – kicked in, people in the audience were swooning. One guy even yelled to the band from the back of the crowd, "I love you!" The band started to smile, and you could just tell they loved being there, which made it easier for us to love it too.
As they wrapped up their setlist and headed off stage, the audience went into a crazed mode, yelling and applauding like wild beasts in the hopes of earning an encore ... which they did. Daughter popped back out to close out with "Medicine" and "Fossa," smiling the whole tie with gratitude and making you feel proud to be a fan – a buzz that endured well after the show officially wrapped and people happily milled their way out of Turner Hall.
Needless to say, Daughter exceeded Milwaukee's expectations as a headliner and left the audience hoping they'll continue to ditch Chicago for Milwaukee more often in the future.
"Doing the Right Thing"