IN PHOTOS: Vancouver Sleep Clinic finishes tour on uplifting note

Australia’s Vancouver Sleep Clinic headlined at the Exit/In, moving the audience with striking yet dreamy music perfect for the end of the week.


Nikita Rohila

Vancouver Sleep Clinic performs at Exit/In, as photographed on April 14, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Nikita Rohila)

Sean Onamade, Staff Photographer

For the first time in over four years, Vancouver Sleep Clinic made their long-awaited comeback to Nashville. The band headlined Exit/In on April 14 as the concluding stop of their “North American Tour.” Australian native singer-songwriter Tim Bettinson leads the band known for their unique mix of R&B and indie rock.

Ghostly Kisses, also known as Margaux Sauvé, was the perfect opener for the concert. Sauvé is from Montréal, Quebec, and her music is dark, dreamy and ethereal. Her carefree dancing around the stage complemented her soft yet strong vocals. During her set, she danced about the stage like a ghost — gentle and carefree. Accompanied by the production of Louis-Étienne Santais, her violin solo in “Blackbirdsseized the hearts of the audience, including myself. We were entranced and prepared for Vancouver Sleep Clinic to take the stage.

After a brief intermission, Vancouver Sleep Clinic launched into their set. Bettinson began with “Vapour,” a dreamy, atmospheric song tinged with hints of despair and awe. As the rhythm picked up, his signature vocals cut through the layers of synth, captivating the audience in an instant. 

Bettinson and his band members marched on strong, playing songs such as “Flaws,” “Closure” and “Stakes.” Most of the night’s songs had a theme of sadness and heartbreak contrasted with a powerful sense of resolve. The audience snapped and sang along as Bettinson showed off his vocal range and musical capabilities. His stage presence was strong, completely in tune with his own music, jumping about and waving his hands with the crowd.

Fan-favorite “Killing Me to Love You,” the second single from Vancouver Sleep Clinic’s debut studio album “Revival,” is an intimate piece concerning the emotional challenges of loving someone struggling with their own issues. 

The band also performed the introspective “Middle of Nowhere” concerns the transience and the capricious nature of life.

“This is a little song I wrote during the pandemic, wanting to get out of the city [for] a little while, clear my head,” Bettinson said about “Middle of Nowhere.” “It ended up being a good year I spent, out in the middle of nowhere.”

Bettinson’s cover of “As It Was” by Harry Styles was a stark change from the original, with its slower and far more wistful beat and bone-shaking bass. The fans sang and swayed along to this gentler version of the song.

My favorite song of the set was “Ayahuasca.” Named for the hallucinogenic plant from the Amazon, this piece was longer than the rest, eight minutes of unique sections arranged in a very intentional sequence. The ethereal and uplifting song expressed the heavier topics of the desire for certainty amidst the confusion of a relationship and the urgency to feel love by any means necessary. Bettinson grabbed hold of the mic and put his entire soul into the vocals, and I was grateful to be immersed in the sound. 

Upon arriving at the Vancouver Sleep Clinic concert, I was unfamiliar with their music and even slightly worried when Bettinson said it would be a “sleepy night.” But at the end of the night, I left with a sense of calm and bliss that only good music can provide.