by Dylan Garsee
Last week brought an interesting double bill to Emo’s, with brutalists HEALTH and Daughters coming together to display two very different approaches to noise terror. HEALTH’s brand of brutality is very surface level while Daughters’ is very visceral. HEALTH is a flaying, Daughters is sepsis.
HEALTH, one of the few bands who survived blog rock and lived to tell about it, opened the show with their tried and true brand of LA noise pop cum mutated fuck boy-ery. A powerhouse trio at this point, they worked their way through their relatively brief catalogue, all but ignoring their first records. If you wanted to hear “Crimewave” or “Rhinoceros,” go back to 2009.
A relentless light show, cycling between strobes set to kill, deep blue, exit sign red, and almost a sunset orange, HEALTH used all of the tools in their relatively minimal tool kit to overwhelm the audience. A valiant effort considering a majority of the crowd was outfitted in Daughters merch. At one point the person next to me was scrolling Tumblr. The dream of 2011 is alive in Austin.
When HEALTH played “We Are Water,” an early fan favorite from GET COLOR, I expected a shift in energy. The song is a masterclass in building and releasing manic tension, ending in a bath of noise that is just as cathartic to hear now as it was on record 10 years ago. The sign of a great band is the ability to make you feel like they are perfuming you and only you. In this case it felt like it because I really did seem to be the only one paying attention.
Drawing heavily from 2018’s vile masterpiece You Won’t Get What You Want and 2010’s self titled record, they recreated the recorded material with shocking accuracy, mics swinging and all, a testament to both their studio prowess and abilities as live musicians. This was especially shown off in performances of earlier tracks like “Our Queen (One is Many and Many Are One),” “The Hit” and “The Virgin.” The one two punch of “The Virgin” and “Less Sex” in particular is a pitch perfect setlist joke that only Daughters can pull off.
P.S. “Satan in the Wait” still sounds like a middle period Modest Mouse song and I will never apologize or change my mind.