CONCERT REVIEW: Better Lovers – seeyouspacecowboy – Foreign Hands – Greyhaven Live at El Corazon

Greg Puciato, somewhere in the middle of the madness, stated that, “Out of the 20 or so shows I’ve played here (Seattle), this is my favorite one.”

And what a night it was.

Greyhaven started the night. The group delivered an array of steady math-/metal-/hardcore tinged metal from beginning to end, and immediately got the crowd moshing. Offering a little banter to engage the crowd, Greyhaven stormed through their set; it was interesting to see how the group would handle themselves considering the lineup they were opening for. The band did not seem concerned and played the set as they saw fit and delivered a solid opening to the night. While the crowd seemed largely unfamiliar with Greyhaven, they cheered the performance, which left the crowd hungry for more.

Foreign Hands is a group that I’ve had the privilege of seeing twice before (that last time they played El Corazon, their van was broken into, and some personal items were stolen). This is a group that delivers fast-paced and unrelenting Hardcore/Metalcore each night. No frills, no nonsense, the band hits the stage and starts calling for stagedivers while tearing into the first song of their set. The crowd obliged and the diving started while the crowd on the floor started dancing and two-stepping quickly. As their set progressed, Foreign Hands called for dancing, moshing, stagediving each song, and elevated the pace of the night while giving the crowd a sonic beating that left everyone sweating by the time the set was done. Connie Sgarbossa (seeyouspacecowboy) sang from the side of the stage for most of the set and joined the band for a song toward the end.

seeyouspacecowboy (sysc) has been a fan favorite for a while and the fervor with which their fans adore the band is clearly seen in the commotion that fills their set. Labeled as hardcore punk, this is too simplistic as the attitude and viciousness that sysc deliver is hard to truly classify and is dynamic in its pacing and atmosphere. Brutal at some points, bouncy at others, and gritty at other points still, their set is hard to keep up with for even the most dedicated fans, because it is non-stop energy and hooks and slams. You can’t look away because stagedivers, filled the air. Want to get in the pit? Watch out for the spinning feet and fists, in between the side-to-side volleys of bodies. 13 songs later, the crowd heard new songs, favorites, and had very few moments of stillness in between. Tired but happy, some of the crowd stepped aside for the night to watch what was to come.

Better Lovers is something of a super group. Comprised of Greg Puciato (The Dilinger Escape Plan, Jerry Cantrell, Killer Be Killed, The Black Queen, solo), Will Putney (Fit For An Autopsy, END, legendary metal producer) and Jordan Buckley, Stephen Micciche, and Clayton Holyoak – you may recognize the last three names as members of the group Every Time I Die. For the fans, this arrangement is interesting as it is familiar, and the crowd looked to the stage in anticipation of what would happen. When the house lights dimmed, a nearly four-minute montage of songs played, each with the word “love” or “lover” in the clips, which slowly began to play faster and faster with less pause in between. When the montage stopped, the band took the stage and charged to the literal edge of the front row. Chaos ensued.

For 48 minutes, Better Lovers destroyed the night. Puciato went into the crowd three times, with Micciche and Buckley each going in once. Stagedivers raced back and forth. The mosh pit exceeded its own size and left little of the venue floor safe. Impressively, the band was seamless throughout the set and, though covered in sweat, did not slow down for any song. The group pushed and pushed the crowd, Puciato calling for more from the crowd, and song after song brought some of the most unforgivable energy I’ve seen at a show. Elements of Mathcore and Metalcore were amplified by five musicians that were moving as much as the crowd was. Samples floated between songs giving the crowd just enough time to catch their breaths before going all-in again. Perhaps the most tranquil moment came during the group’s fantastic cover of Soundgarden’sRusty Cage,” which is to say there was not much tranquility.

The songs were largely new to me, not just because the LP is new, but because I purposely went in without listening to any; I wanted to see the band raw and pure. There aren’t many shows that are so unrestrained that I am left sore and bruised the next day, but this was one of them. To hear Puciato’s words of this being his favorite Seattle show is a moment of pride for me as a fan and as a fan this is the best show I’ve seen of the 41 I’ve been to so far. If nothing changes their course, Better Lovers may be a formidable group for years to come.

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