Sir Chloe and Daffo @ The Axis Club

Selfishly, the first thing I noticed about Sir Chloe was what they were wearing. The musicians sported all white ensembles, with the men in particular wearing Frank Iero and The Future Violents-esque coveralls. The lead singer, however, sported a vest covered in fringes and a classic red lip. With several dates on their tour sold out, and more than one person audibly screaming along, there was a palpable energy in the room. Daffo will be the only band accompanying Sir Chloe on this tour, and their opening night performance proved why they deserved to take that spot.  Queuing in the freezing cold was entirely worth it to see these bands play the first date of The Savory Tour at the Axis Club on March 10th. For the low cost of my fingers and toes, I spent the evening at the barricade peering up at a guitarist and breathing in copious amounts of artificial fog. The aforementioned queue contained several brightly dyed heads, visibly queer people, and men there to support their bisexual girlfriends. This crowd was vibrant in ways beyond hair colour, screaming along and headbanging the entire night. Though I only went in knowing a few songs, both bands put on a phenomenal show. 

Daffo started off with some mellow indie vibes, featuring Cranberries-esque vocals that would only get more powerful throughout the set. Lead singer Gabi Gamberg was instantly captivating, and not only for the skirt-over-jeans combo she sported. This band proved to be masters of building up a song, understanding just the right moment to add a wall of distortion that could have knocked a toddler flat. This extended to a face-melting harmonica solo that solidified them as a powerhouse for me. Both guitarist and lead singer played off each other, even faux fighting with the necks of their guitars at a particularly loud moment in their set.

Throughout the night, the band seamlessly intermixed the expected indie rock songs with a few more country-sounding tracks. Something about this blend was enormously comforting, despite it not being particularly soft or gentle most of the time. Their song “Good God” has failed to leave my mind since seeing it live, flawlessly combining pensive lyrics with twangy guitar. Even though this was only night one of the tour, their charisma was clear. Banter, invitations to do-si-so and brutal honesty about having left merchandise back at the hotel made their set feel like I was watching old friends perform. There was plenty of singing along and dancing from the crowd, and even those who didn’t know them were clearly (and rightfully) charmed. Clearly, whiny vocals and a good sense of humour can make you a crowd favourite, especially when you make them feel right at home with your music.

Bathed in pink light and surrounded by the chaos of adoring fans, it was clear that Sir Chloe were in their prime. The band immediately launched into a song from their new record, complete with keys. I was struck by the quality of their performance and the way that it mimicked the record, taking me right back to the first time I heard these songs. The band seemed to be enjoying themselves, moving and dancing around along with the crowd. Despite this, I felt like there was a tangible air of sadness to the singer. Between songs, her mouth formed into a grim line, making her appear almost timid despite her performance being the antithesis of it.

“Animal” was almost an out-of-body experience, with the singer kneeling in front of the crowd and grabbing their hands. I got the sense that it was just as cathartic for her as it was for us, with the red lights washing the crowd, band, and crew clean of anything that came before. The setlist included mostly newer songs, but also the fan favourites. Though I’m not very well versed in Sir Chloe’s music, I got a clear sense that they had both grown into and found their true sound with the new record, showing a level of maturity with every song they played. A highlight of the evening was the live debut of a new song called “Forgiving”, during which the singer ended up on the floor and thrashed around like she was in a fight with the song. Though her music is often chock full of guttural emotions, I wasn’t expecting them to literally bring her to her knees. It was a common feeling throughout the night, which seamlessly blended the sad with the more intense. I appreciated the fact that it felt like she was going through those feelings with us, rather than just bearing witness to them. 

Throughout the evening, there was a distinct difference between songs off of their debut record Party Favors. For me, “Sedona” was the most important song of the night. Though I know it’s a basic pick, I listened to it a lot when I was in high school. Full circle moments are important to me, and the shift from blasting this song on the bus to hearing it from the front row was really special. To me, hearing songs live makes it feel real, and solidifies every experience I’ve ever had in connection to what I’m hearing. Though music generally evokes a sense of community, this was a show during which I felt it was overwhelmingly strong. Being there and reckoning with my own feelings alongside both the crowd and the artist is what will stick in my memory. From smash hits all the way to brand new tunes, this evening has definitely reignited my passion for Sir Chloe, as well as opened my eyes to the wonder that is Daffo.