Vancouver Sleep Clinic @ Shebeen (with Japanese Wallpaper and Wafia) – 31 May ’14

Memories digressed to the days of cool kids in class claiming all the seats in the back of the room, ever more obvious in the long oblong space. But all worked out well, being up close to the stage to marvel at pure vocals being intertwined with sprinkles of synth and sparing beats. This was Japanese Wallpaper…the moniker of one Gab Strum creating sweet ethereal sounds on stage.

With simplicity both calming and enchanting, watching the coordination and combination of sounds on that stage was mesmerising.

Having been released only a few weeks prior, Wave made an appearance but the new demo shared (Fall?) was even more impressive. Although hesitant in the introduction, this definitely showed signs of being a keeper, whatever the finished product may become.

With Wafia in the room, it was an opportune time to share the duet of Breathe In live…one that seemed to be making a few waves of its own (including a spot on the Wish I Was Here soundtrack).

But it was a perfect segue into Wafia’s set, easing into a gentle sparse intro ensuring captive attention to the angelic vocals. Fusing ambient sounds and heavenly vocals it was hard not to be drawn in.

Then to be hit with strange sounds but strangely familiar lyrics threw a spanner in the works, mentally skimming through all possible lyrics and songs heard to date….foraging, scrummaging and then it hit – Toxic, yes the Britney Spears number. Somehow working magic to make this more than tolerable and well worth hearing as an interpretive cover. Sweetness and pristine sounds lingered with astounding control and intensity of The Woods.

Saying that things had changed on stage in seeing Vancouver Sleep Clinic compared to a few months ago would be an understatement. Beyond an EP release the band had come leaps and bounds in sound and performance.

The opening lines sounding fresh yet still provided a sense of déjà vu, delivered with delicacy and vulnerability and an instant flashback to the Workers Club late last year, still as captivating but now even more so.

But sounds only got stronger with the depth of harmonies and arrangement on Flaws, and the lush delivery of Stakes all while being completely bewildered by being able to play to more than 6 people in a room. In fact, a sold out crowd, and it was only night one in Melbourne.

Swapping instruments was likely to change things up but with Wafia also joining for a track not on anything or anywhere there was something truly special install. And to a still, quiet crowd the beautiful ‘Art is War’ was presented building into layers of sublime depth.

More unheard material followed with a new new song being tested on the crowd as well as a cover. But in tribute to humble beginnings, Vapour, the song that started Vancouver Sleep Clinic was shared in ode to what seemed like disbelief and amazement of the receptiveness evident from the crowd on the night, only to be followed by Rebirth to wrap things up and reiterate how far things had already come.

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