Corner Hotel – Friday July 07
Words by Gloria Brancatisano

This is the sort of Friday night that I’d like more in my life — chill vibes, great tunes and trio of incredibly talented and diverse Aussie acts.

Fresh from her Josh Pyke Partnership grant win, opener Angie McMahon instantly proved just how bright her future is. Coupled with only her guitar and her husky vocals, her hometown crowd — while modest in size — were more than willing to make her feel welcome. To top it all off, she finished up her set with a song about eating pasta, and as that is my favourite pastime, she well and truly won me over.

Continuing the one-muso band theme, Lakyn took to the stage with just his electric guitar and sampler. It was obvious that he was enjoying every minute of his time onstage. Not even a missing drumstick could tear down Lakyn’s mood, his karate-chop song starter drawing an impressed smile every time. With his catchy grooves and honey-smooth vocals, the crowd were definitely ready for the main event.

From the opening melodies of ‘Lung’, the now full Corner Hotel was wrapped in Vancouver Sleep Clinic’s spell. When Tim Bettinson’s tender vocals layered into the hauntingly beautiful arrangement, it was as if the room itself gasped in wonder.

Without pausing for a moment, Vancouver Sleep Clinic continued into ‘Killing Me To Love You’ and ‘Living Water’ (a one-two punch of my favourite VSC tracks) before finally acknowledging the crowd.

“We’re Vancouver Sleep Clinic….but we’re not from Vancouver, we’re from Brisbane…I know it’s lame,” Bettinson laughed, the commanding frontman giving way to a slightly nervous young man.

The nerves were warranted, this was the biggest room Vancouver Sleep Clinic had ever played, and the Melbourne crowd — preparing to kick off their weekend in style — was expecting nothing short of greatness.

While Bettinson is delivering a breathtaking rendition of ‘Someone To Stay’ — a song he wrote about his heartbreak at the homeless population that live on Skid Row in LA — it’s hard to believe that he is so young. But when we remember that he is only 21 years old, his timid mannerisms — nervous laughter and his cap pulled down over his eyes — don’t seem so out of place.

However gentle he may seem between songs, when Bettinson kicks into gear he is a seasoned performer. There were no theatrics needed, who needs pyro or confetti when you have a voice that sounds this stunning live. And with all the focus on Bettinson’s vocals, we cannot forget about the rest of his incredible band — painting delicate aural textures, they brought the sound and atmosphere to life.

Bettinson’s one “rockstar” moment came at the end of set closer ‘Empire’, fit with guitar solo rock out and his microphone stand thrown to the floor. But after the shortest encore break in history, Bettinson returned to the stage, having to fix up the mess he made, before closing the night with the first song he’d ever written as Vancouver Sleep Clinic — ‘Vapour’.

In a night filled with vulnerability and wonder, Vancouver Sleep Clinic’s awe-striking, delicate vocals and incredibly textured soundscapes translated perfectly on stage.