Live Review: Communist Daughter – Elbo Room

Communist Daughter at the Elbo Room in San Francisco

Going to the Elbo Room in San Francisco is like entering the seventh circle of hell. It is such a dive and not the good kind. They schedule bands too late so nobody comes out. They seclude the bands in an upstairs cove that nobody knows about and only one minuscule sign points to and the sound is worse than awful, it’s absolutely atrocious. So it takes a lot for me to come out on a Tuesday night to check out a band there. The band that got me out there yesterday was Communist Daughter.

They have got a nice little buzz about them and a very loyal fan base so I was intrigued to see what they were like live. First I had to sit through two of the worst bands I have ever seen in my life. That isn’t hyperbole, they were really bad. It was like watching an open mic night that wouldn’t stop. The first act had a lead singer that couldn’t sing, who kept fumbling with his harmonica to the point where he had to stop playing in the middle of a song, apologize and then said, “I’ll just make it a guitar solo.” The second act couldn’t get the sound to the point where they actually wanted it and had so many instruments that each member, minus the drummer, played at least two. It was a horrific, jumbled mess and I only stayed to see Communist Daughter.

Communist Daughter at the Elbo Room in SF

By the time Communist Daughter hit the stage it was 11:00, I was pissed for having sat through two abominations to music and I was pretty sure I was going to take out all my rage on them. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The difference between competent musicianship and should never pick up an instrument again is wide, but Communist Daughter exceeded my expectations and assuaged my anger. I’m a music snob it isn’t a secret, but they fed my snobbery and even made me realize that I was somewhat entitled to feel such a way. This is what good music should sound like.

This small group of friends from Wisconsin took the hardened heart of a jaded Californian and softened it just a bit with beautiful melodies, brilliant harmonies and a camaraderie that was so evident it actually made the music better. Playing songs from their Lions and Lambs, I got the feeling that this band, this group of talented musicians that can get into the soul of an asshole such as me, will be playing better venues and working their way up the musical ladder in no time at all. I’ll remember the first time I saw Communist Daughter in an absolute shithole in the Mission, with drunkards, junkies, overdressed girls and a bachelorette party that the thing that stood out was their undeniably wonderful music.


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