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Better Lovers In Vancouver - Spin Kicking The Doors Down

Better Lovers’ 2024 North American Spring Tour shook the walls of the Rickshaw Theater in Vancouver Saturday night.

Greyhaven: Opens The Floodgates

Louisville, Kentucky mainstays Greyhaven opened the night with an intense onslaught of metallic hardcore with a slight southern rock tinge. It’s evident that the band has carved out a singular lane for themselves within the world of metalcore since their 2013 demo as they set the stage for the night ahead. The venue’s air was quickly suffocated by a wave of staccato chugs, ear worm melodies, dissonant chaos, half-time breakdowns and chant-along choruses. The group struck gold with that perfectly dichotomic atmosphere of euphoria and tension that the best metalcore often brings to the forefront. 

Foreign Hands: Breaks The Curse

Tragedy struck last time Delaware/Pennsylvania’s Foreign Hands was scheduled to play Vancouver in 2022. A van break-in left the band without the means to cross the border just one night prior to their Vancouver debut. This time, however, the chaotic hardcore collective took the stage with a vengeance. Within two songs of their technical riff-laiden set the sea of show-goers parted ways and every spin kicker within the Rickshaw’s four walls traded blows within its midst for the proceeding set. Vancouver’s tight knit hardcore community showed up for the triumphant debut of the beloved metalcore group (including a feature from Vancouver/Calgary metallic hardcore vocalist Jess Nyx of World Of Pleasure) and at times their passionate screams nearly drowned out the band’s own. Foreign Hands is a well-oiled machine. A prime example of a band that knows what they want from their music and their audience, and knows exactly how to get it.

SeeYouSpaceCowboy: Is Evolving

California’s SeeYouSpaceCowboy set the stage beautifully for the show’s second half with their theatrical blend of mosh-ready metalcore, heart-on-sleeve post-hardcore, and sassy dance punk. The group’s evolution from artsy DIY hardcore upstarts to hyper-conceptual scene visionaries has been an astonishing and inspiring journey. Every time the self-described sasscore group stops off in Vancouver (a former home of the band’s sibling duo) it feels almost akin to witnessing a new band entirely, however, the beating heart at the core of the project remains steady. It’s plain to see that the band’s current iteration is their best realized form yet with nearly every member providing a different flavor of vocal delivery and a unique presence that defines the frenetic ensemble’s live show. Frontwoman Connie Sgarbosa in particular had an undeniable chokehold on the stage as she led the crowd effortlessly between a barrage of throat tearing screams, tear-jerking melodies, spin kicks and evocatively sassy mosh-calls. So infectious was the band’s performance that they were able to erupt an entire room into a flurry of violent dances and screams of joy with the calm utterance of a single word: “move”.

Better Lovers: Is Happy And They Know It

Headliners Better Lovers may be the newest band on the bill, but their members are certainly no strangers to the stage. The group is comprised of a who’s who of 2000’s heavy music royalty featuring alumni from Every Time I Die, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Fit for an Autopsy and End. Though on the surface they may fit the definition of a “supergroup” the band quickly bucked any potentially negative connotations that may burden that tag upon the first note of their set. This was the furthest thing from a self-indulgent group of rockstars playing pale imitations of their biggest hits; this was an awe inspiring display of fun, complex and heavy musical unity between musicians, unparalleled in their commitment and talent, at the peak of their abilities. 

 

Frontman and Dillinger escapee Greg Puciato’s reputation as a wild stageman certainly precedes him, however, tonight, it was his sheer vocal prowess that stole the spotlight. From ear-splitting shrieks to baritone croons, his voice fit the assault of dizzying grooves and melodies like a carbon-fiber-knuckle-glove. The masterful set managed to seamlessly include a large chunk of the band’s current discography, an on-point cover of Soundgarden’s classic track “Rusty Cage”, an “If You’re Happy and You Know It” interlude and guitarist Jordan Buckley borrowing JT’s camera mid-set to snap a quick photo or two of the audience. By the end of it all, Greg was daring Jordan to stage dive from the Rickshaw Theatre’s eight foot tall speaker stack before teasing him for chickening out. Within moments of that innocent interaction the vocalist was diving with the grace of an olympic gold medalist off of the very same speakers and into a sea of awe-struck fans as he surfed along without so much as a flat note. Truly the perfect send off to a night of good, clean and loud fun! 

Written By: Minerva Dhillon

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