Last week I went to see Daughter at the Kentish Town Forum.
They’re a band fronted by Elena Tonra, whose voice is the aural equivalent of securing a free seat on the tube during rush hour when you’re a bit hungover.
Yep: she’s that good.
I did my usual thing of buying two tickets without checking if anyone wanted to come first, because successfully getting tickets for gigs in London is stressful enough without the added suspense of waiting for a double blue tick to decide your fate, and because someone is bound to want to go and see some live music if you tell them it’s free, even if It’s Not Really Their Cup of Tea Or They Think They Might Have Something On That Night Not Sure Can I Let You Know.
And that person is usually Harriet.
Harriet and I have been gifting each other gig tickets for about two years.
Not only is giving and accepting free tickets with other people a good way to see live music that you otherwise wouldn’t, but it also ensures that your friends consider you a valuable addition to their social circle, a bit like if you’ve got a mate who also happens to be a lawyer, or has a dog, or works in McDonalds, or can swipe you freebies from the make up counter at Selfridges*.
*if you would like to be this friend, pls let me know
The gig also coincided with Harriet’s 30th birthday, and I knew her ideal way to celebrate would be an evening of gloomy, slightly depressing yet relatable music, accompanied by several hundred pints of beer and an ill-advised G&T nightcap in the only pub still open at 12am in Kentish Town on a Thursday.
And to be fair, I wasn’t wrong.
Once inside, we managed to find a spot 100% unhindered by tall people.
This area was also seemingly free of Annoying and / or Noisy Bastards, who often have a habit of positioning themselves near me at music events.
We also made friends with a girl who was either Finnish or Flemish, and was there on her own, and therefore had no choice but to listen to Harriet talk about her love of Copenhagen and save our space on trips to the loo.
And oh, the music was really good.
Daughter have that knack of making the entire audience do a collective happy sigh within the first few notes of each intro, and even though the new album is, well, new and unfamiliar – somehow it already seems like you know each song.
Plus, it’s always a good thing when everything performed live in front of you sounds exactly like it does when you listen to it in your room, in bed, gently weeping at the fragility and unfairness of life in between episodes of Making a Murderer.
There’s just something about her music that you can relate to.
It was later the next day on Wikipedia that I found out why.
The reason it all seems so real to me is that the lead singer Elena is from Northwood, which is just one tube stop from where I grew up in the suburbs of London.
So now I’m even more sure that when we eventually meet and become best mates, it won’t just be a shared passion for beautiful music that bond us, but also our painful experiences of a youth spent waiting unknown amounts of time on cold platforms for Metropolitan line trains in and around north west London.