The Sunflower Lounge
Review by SdM
Tennessee trio Daddy Issues set the tone for an evening of state-side grunge slacker-rock on a cold and damp Monday evening. Slabs of distorted guitar, the heavy dum-thwack! of two-beat drums, and thunderous bass and charming harmony vocals warmed the expectant crowd. Playing a selection of songs from their 2017 album, ‘Deep Dream’ and the alienated anthem, ‘Drop Out’, The Sunflower Lounge gave a big Yee-Haw* welcome to the young ladies from the land of Elvis and Dolly.
Lead singer and guitarist Jenna Moynihan, her hair bleached almost to white and wearing all black, played a battered and world weary looking guitar with a loose casual air of detachment. With her eyes shut tight her delicate voice plays a wonderful juxtaposition against the more aggressive cymbal crashing and heavy bass.
‘In Your Head’ continues on from the opener ‘Lemon’ with Jenna’s voice gaining a gruff edge of anger and bitterness. The musical beat-stops in the song have a 90’s lo-fi Beck in his more youthful ‘Odelay’ days, together with a dose of early Pixies bellicose belligerence.
Emily Maxwell and Jenna Mitchell, drums and bass respectively, also provide the 60’s-esque harmony backing vocals. Emily swings her drumsticks with a casual flick of the wrists and in the stage lighting it makes sustained sweeps of light in the air. Bassist Jenna, looking the all-American girl in a flowered dress and long dark hair, lifts the neck of her bass head-height in rock-star pose, smiling at the fun of it all. She takes particular delight when turning up the volume, stomping on the distortion pedal and thumping the bass strings for all they are worth – most evident on the penultimate track, ‘Boring Girls’. ‘I don’t think they have guitars in hell’, sings Jenna sweetly during the song. Or bass guitars, possibly.
The opening notes of set closer ‘Dog Years’ are met with a cheer from an excited coterie of fans who shouted for the song earlier in the set. Easy to see why this is a fan favourite – the low guitar tuning plunges another of those heady 90’s days in sounding like Alice In Chains in their darker and more menacing moments; Jenna even sings and phrases her vocals in a similar way. The heavy bass and thudding drums add more than a hint of oddly enjoyable foreboding-doom to the song. With cymbals beaten and a brace of quick sharp hits on the the snare drum Daddy Issues draw the set to a close. And with applause and smiles all round their first ever gig in Brum was over. With the sing-along devotion shown it won’t be their last.
*Well, in spirit at least, no one actually said it.
In Your Head