Concert Review + Photos: Whirr and Cloakroom @ Sneaky Dee’s – Toronto

The morning after seeing Whirr, I woke up feeling like I was underwater.  Everything was fuzzy and muted and far away, my head in a drug-like afterglow.  I got a coffee, made breakfast and sat down at my Mac to look at the photographs from that night.  I still haven’t emerged from the wave of guitar that drowned me the night before.  “Stuck on you, my mind is reeling.  Fold to the floor, the walls are reeling.  Sneer at sleep, up to the ceiling.  Immerse myself, into reverie.”  The words were almost whispered underneath a crushing mass of doomy sound.  It was like feeling warm in a lucid nightmare, and in such a good way.  The sweet points I remembered from 2012s ‘Pipe Dreams’ were buried alive in the noise, registering in the blurry blue and green brightness that glowed in the distance.  If I had dreams last night they were less surreal than the hour I spent at Sneaky Dee’s.

I purchased the digital download of Whirr’s new release ‘Sway’ and am currently on my second run through.  The singles ‘Heavy’ and ‘Mumble’ have been in heavy rotation since I heard about their release.  The more delicately dreamy ‘Pipe Dreams’ was introduced to me by a friend who has since returned to his native Australia and I can’t help but wish he could have been there.  Whirr is easily my favourite of the recent shoegaze resurgence, and it was interesting to see a crowd consisting largely of people who would not have been born when My Bloody Valentine released their hugely influential ‘Loveless’.

The show started early and I regret that I missed the opener Iris as I had heard good things about them.  Cloakroom was on stage and I pushed my way to the front to catch their last few songs.  I loved their single ‘Bending’ and based on the end of their set I will definitely be catching them if and when they return to Toronto.  As Whirr took to the stage the lights dimmed dramatically.  Looping ambiance followed by the smack of four guitars and a merciless drummer.  At times they looked and felt more like doom metal than shoegaze, as some of the best shoegaze bands do.  It reminded me of catching Jesu at Lee’s Palace years ago, and I consider that a huge compliment.  The barrage floated relentlessly and ended suddenly and all too soon.  Whirr owns an hour of my life that I don’t want back.




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Review and Photos by Benjamin Telford | @bentelfordphoto

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