Hitting Guildford Boileroom on their first ever headline tour, Creeper hit the scene with all the presence of a band about headline Wembley. But do the band with such promising material put on a live show to match their heady hype?
The last time I saw Screech Bats was back in November of last year, when the band was playing their debut show as support for Watford based The Hell. Whilst the girls have certainly come a fair way since then, teething problems still present themselves tonight. Whilst the instrumentals are strong, vocals still leave a fair amount to be desired as performance is sadly filled with rasp and quick intakes of breath. At times, this works, however it sounds as though the singer is struggling rather than using it to effect. Hope is not all lost here, as with some more guidance it could be a great unit. However, it must be said that the band are done no favours by the sound mix tonight as the vocals seem isolated, allowing blemishes to shine through the otherwise tight band. Frustration, it seems, comes even further after hearing the track made available on their Facebook page (listen to it here) and realising that the band do infact sound incredibly promising when allowed some time. Ones to watch for sure, Screech Bats once again leave me disappointed, but still optimistic.
Problems unfortunately continue with main support Grader, however with more understandable reason. Technically, the band are efficient, kicking out songs with passion and intensity, but vocals suffer once more as an evident bout of intense flu messes with proceedings. Strained and clearly suffering, it made for an uncomfortable experience that quickly became dull, and I found myself wanting the set to end for their sakes. It’s worth mentioning that I was also present for their set at the Camden Underworld a few days later, and the boys put on a much better performance, despite the issues. Chalk this one down to illness, and check out their records to hear what the fuss is all about and catch them further down the line.
Well, with two underwhelming supports, anticipation for the headlining act was high, and I’m delighted to report that Creeper truly are the real deal. A set of absolute hits with only a collection of E.P.’s found the Guildford Boileroom singing along in passionate unison, with each word yelled back at frontman Will Gould with arguably more intensity than the man himself. To see a band of this size garnering this kind of response before the release of an album, seeing a line stretch around the venue to enter and an army of leather patch jackets brandishing the bands logo is incredibly exciting.
Smashing through their set in what seems like minutes, particular highlights come from the likes of recent tracks such as Misery and classics like Gloom. Giving their absolute all in a set that would have felt at home in the biggest arenas in the country, the connection between band and audience was unbreakable. Special mention needs to be given to newly appointed keyboardist Hannah, whose contribution to both old and new material gives an even deeper element of intricacy to already superb songs. Keep both eyes on this jaw-droppingly perfect band, because you will never see this band in a venue this small ever again. A night of a lifetime, Creeper are one of the best bands I have ever seen.
Creeper’s new E.P. The Stranger is out now via Roadrunner Records