We at The Punk Archive have been fans of Creeper for a while now, so getting to see them on their winter 2017 headline tour, the Theatre Of Fear, was a must.
It was fantastic to see a band like Creeper, who have risen up through the ranks with their cult-like following, give the stage to some amazing support bands on their tour. They chose wisely and it was definitely the kind of gig you wanted to arrive early for to avoid missing out. As the o2 Empire started to fill up, Nervus took to the stage. Each band member had a very different style but their sound tied seamlessly together, pairing two vocalists who harmonise beautifully.
Microwave were an unexpected treat of the evening. My love for post-hardcore music meant that their Alexisonfire-tinged sound was a delight to behold. They’re a band who remind me of a mix of all my favourite pop-punk/hardcore bands, and it felt like an amazing discovery to see them live. The sweet American-accented vocal cut with screams kept the energy in the room. Fans of Weezer and Taking Back Sunday should check this band out, as for me they’re somewhere in between.
Can’t Swim were the final support band. The New Jersey punks kicked up the energy with their fun live show, cracking jokes and riffing Pure Imagination as they chatted to the audience.
As the room filled, for their biggest headline show to date, it was great to see that Creeper’s music was truly universal. The crowd was so varied, all different ages and styles together. As you’ll undoubted know, they’re known for their theatricality, so true to form the stage was dressed. The backdrop contained a sinister masked face, which shone laser beams from it’s eyes. The show began with characters that fans would recognise from music videos and the online mysteries that Creeper developed surrounding the release of Eternity in Your Arms.
Everything surrounding the release of Eternity in Your Arms was shrouded in tales and mystery, so for this to continue on stage was a real treat. Every few years a band will appear like Creeper, who bring you into their world and wrap their arms around you, layering you with intrigue, and it’s something truly special to witness.
The set started with Black Rain, a perfect punch in the gut to start proceedings. They played an energetic set, hit after hit, including Winona Forever, Honeymoon Suite and Suzanne as the crowdsurfers just kept coming, arms raised in the air, and the pit opened up: barely a camera or phone to be seen from the captivated audience.
Down Below received a warm welcome, and Room 309 allowed Will to give the audience his full Davey Havok-inspired front man flair. The comparisons can’t be helped: Creeper take so much influence from the likes of AFI and My Chemical Romance in their beautifully gothic sound and theatrical style, but they take a huge stamp and plant it in the centre so we know definitely that it’s Creeper.
Hannah came to the front of the stage, as the set took an acoustic turn, to sing a chillingly gorgeous version of Crickets. Hannah and Will’s vocals meld together so well and it’s refreshing to hear a female vocal cut in from time to time, especially as Will hands the stage over for this track. Hiding With Boys began as a slow, acoustic version, before being amped back up to the classic version that we all know and love.
Older songs such as Valentine and Astral Projection were peppered into the set and provided a refreshing throw back moment. The set ended with a heartfelt version of I Choose to Live, which sent chills down my spine. As the band left the stage, a chant began and it wasn’t long before they returned to give us a glorious rendition of Black Mass and tear-jerker Misery to tie up the evening nicely.
This was one of those evenings which could have lasted a lot longer and Creeper would still have been able to keep the crowd’s full attention. I’ve witnessed a few shows over the years that have such a big impact, and those bands tend to go on to big success: AFI, My Chemical Romance, Thirty Seconds To Mars.
Creeper have found their niche, their people and their brand, and it’s exciting. Most importantly they’ve produced a record that they can do justice to play live.
This is just the beginning. Long live Creeper.