It is a balmy spring day in the capitol and I’m heading on the tube to Camden and can already see Creeper T-shirts and patches amongst the throng of people going about their daily business, actually I can see a lot of them. To say that Creepers fan base is devoted is an understatement, ‘The Callous Heart’ as they refer to themselves are as fervently an enraptured fan base as I have ever personally encountered. Clad almost exclusively in black with a sea of Callous Heart patches on the backs of their jackets. Even if you’d hate the music, It’s hard not to tip the hat to Creeper, they know exactly the image, mystique, attitude and message to capture a generation of fans, a tried and tested formula of appealing to teenage angst but backed by exceptional pop influenced melodic rock to suit all ages that could very well go worldwide with the right push from their label. Today, at The Electric Ballroom in Camden Town, it really does look like a gang has descended on Northern London.
I don’t think I have ever been to a gig in recent memory where the crowd were quite so hyped for the band they are about to watch, when Creeper are about to take the stage the entire room crackles with an electricity as bright as the purple glowing crosses flanking the stage. The intro to Black Rain begins and the feeling of an entire room about to lose their collective minds descends over the ballrooms audience and sure enough, as the band take the stage, the roar in the venue is deafening. And we’re off, sure enough the crowd are tearing up the floor of the Ballroom, bodies swaying and clashing in unison as the band pound out their album opener to a rapturous reception, the crowd singing back every word of the infectious chorus. The band move straight into the albums 2nd track, Poison Pens, teasing that this might be an album run through, Creeper however are not that predictable launching next into EP tracks and fan faves Black Mass & Honeymoon Suite. It becomes quite obvious from this point that this isn’t just some promo run for their newly released album Eternity In Your Arms, this is a tour of their career up to now, stopping by each of the bands 3 EP’s and tracks from EIYA, a fan pleasing plough that has this modestly sized room in north London losing their collective minds.
After a energetic blast through of album track Susanne, We get showings from We Had A Pact, Lie Awake & Valentine to sate the old school fans in attendance tonight who almost certainly would have been crestfallen with their omittance, the roars of approval when each song begins certainly indicates this. The highlight of the set, for me personally anyway as it is also my favourite track off EIYA, comes as all the band, minus Keyboard player Hannah and Guitarist Ian, vacate the stage and the duo give a virtuoso performance of Crickets. I did wonder just how well this song would translate from record to stage, would it lose any of it power? Absolutely not, utterly sublime, The pairs voices complimenting each other perfectly. The band reconvene for Hiding With Boys and a very welcome Astral Projection before reaching the end of the set with the inevitable performance of I Choose To Live, a song that didn’t really grab me on record but took me seeing it performed live to truly ‘get it’, It was as spine tingling a moment as the earlier Cricket performance to hear the room sing in unison. There is the obligatory brief pause before the encore until the band come back out to performances of VCR and a singalong rendition of Misery to round the evening off.
A band has to be pretty special for me to get evangelical about them and the litmus test is usually once I have experienced them in a live setting. I can confidently say that I am astounded by the polish and professionalism of a band that have only been around 3 years but perform like they have been doing this for decades. The Electric Ballroom gig was a gig that felt special, that felt as if it was marking a turning point, the point of no return. Creeper are going to be huge and this may be amongst the final times they’ll be seen in a venue of this size.