Creeper at Manchester Arena, 16th March 2018
Being the only support band on a UK-wide arena tour for one of the biggest bands in post-2000s pop punk is an intimidating prospect, but if there is any band in the UK scene who could take such a challenge in their stride, it has to be Southampton-based horror-punks Creeper. The band have been making huge waves in the alternative scene since the release of their debut album Eternity in Your Arms, almost exactly a year ago, and their newfound self-confidence showed from the second they burst onto the massive Manchester Arena stage, backed by a huge replica of the logo that was splashed across the backs of the Creeper Cult members who peppered the crowd: the Callous Heart.
Despite only having a 20-minute long set, they made every second of it count. From the first delicate, dripping piano notes of ‘Black Rain’ it became clear that Creeper have already cultivated a sound that is more than capable of filling rooms many times the size of any they have played to date, as the bassline and melody came crashing in like a huge dark waves, sending ripples all the way to the very corners of the room. The reception from many parts of the crowd was a lukewarm one, but it didn’t appear to faze Creeper in the slightest as they raced relentlessly through the irresistibly bouncy ‘Winona Forever’ and into the punk-edged punch of ‘Down Below’ with its soaring bridge and Blondie-inspired riffs.
Frontman Will Gould’s emphatic stage presence commanded the attention of the faithful fans in the crowd as easily in such a huge room as it does in the intimate venues they’ve previously played, as the band paused momentarily for breath before speeding off into ‘Hiding with Boys’, a track borne from anger and disdain for a former lover all whisked together over an infectious melody. While ‘Suzanne’ didn’t whip up the usual whirlpool-esque circle pits that are a staple of Creeper’s headline shows, the swoop into the chorus still sent hands punching up into the air with every crash of the thundering bassline!
The band raced through 20 minutes of pure magic before reaching the undeniable highlight of the set: the spine tingling finale, ‘Misery’. The whole crowd sparkled with twinkling phone lights and swaying arms as the chorus swung into its emotion-packed crescendo, filling the room with a warm balm that sedated even the naysayers in the crowd as the whole room was brought together. That poignant moment of brief unity illustrated perfectly that Creeper have most definitely graduated from the small grungy punk clubs that raised them, yet without losing any of their integrity, meaning they can still fight through a less than welcoming crowd and still put on an arena show of epic proportions. And it is that blend of arena ready anthems and a strong sense of uncompromising self-identity that is sure to see Creeper go on to become one of the biggest new bands in punk music - and we can’t wait to go along on this journey with them.