Daughter, Bear’s Den – 10/4/13 – Royale

Bear’s Den probably gets compared to Mumford & Sons a lot. They are both British, folky, have a banjo player, and sing sweet harmonies. One thing, however, that bothers people about Mumford is that they try and have a full-on barn party on every track. Bear’s Den take a more melancholic approach to rustic British folk. Their track, “Agape,” is definitely one of my favorite songs of the year and it is so sad. Yet so good.

While it was clear that much of the audience was unfamiliar with their music, the trio gave them a very useful introduction to their music. The mostly-female crowd seemed very impressed with their brand of bearded folk.

Listening to Daughter’s debut album, If You Leave, you won’t be amazed by the instrumentation, complexity, or grandeur. Instead, their music is extremely simple, soft, and is not afraid of silence. It thrives on its power to tug at your heartstrings while bypassing your thoughts. The songs tend to put the listener in a haze, where you may soon realize that you were zoning out for the last forty minutes of beautiful mournful tracks. To enhance the hazy music, fog machines were turned up to 11 and the whole stage appeared as if immersed in a cloud. Even when the lights turned up I could barely make out the drummer’s face!

Despite the relaxing music, the show wasn’t boring at all. Singer Elena Tonra’s voice kept my rapt attention and her incomprehensible whispers to the crowd between songs only made me more curious as to what she was saying. After she choked up while singing the emotional “Smother,” it became clear that these songs are more than just hazy ballads. They are personal songs that required the band to invest emotionally in the show. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a few tears come out of the audience too.

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