Review: Creeper bring their Theatre of Fear to life in Birmingham

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  • Creeper combined the real with the theatrical for their headline show at the O2 Institute on 4th December
  • Support came from Nervus, Microwave, and Can’t Swim
  • Energy and adoration scaled to a euphoric high as the Southampton outfit brought to life a world of their own making

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With an audience who bare their callous hearts on their sleeves for all to see, Creeper are a law unto their own. As the band tell the mysterious tale of the disappearance of James Scythe from their vantage point on stage at the O2 Institute, stepping into the venue is to walk into a world of the group’s own creation. On this, their ‘Theatre Of Fear’ tour, that world takes on a life of its own.

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With three supports to squeeze in before the main act, not a moment is left to waste. Nervus kick off proceedings as fans continue to pile through the venue doors, their addictive brand of garage punk a surefire way to set the air of celebration ablaze. Hailing from Atlanta, Microwave place that sense of enthusiasm front and centre. Searing guitar solos and contagious chorus hooks flood the room with a strength that holds the crowd enthralled long after the group leave the stage.

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Working a snippet of ‘Pure Imagination’ from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory into their set, Can’t Swim revel in the sense of the theatrical the night brings. Blustering energy and frenetic riffs abound throughout, weaving a world of their own ahead of the headlining act’s dramatic stage show.

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On a smoke-filled stage, armed with a monologue purpose built to incite, the missing James Scythe himself is the one who steps out of the shadows and invites the room into the darkened world that Creeper have created. Bounding onto the stage, all buoyant energy and elated smiles, it’s a world that might be rooted in secrecy and chaos, but it’s also one that offers no shortage of light. Launching straight into Eternity, In Your Arms‘ opening track, everything gets turned up to eleven.

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The freewheeling enthusiasm the band present on stage ignites in an instant, spreading through the gathered crowd like wildfire. Even the set’s more low-key moments – such as when Hannah Greenwood takes over lead vocal duties for ‘Crickets’ – radiate with a contagious glee. Drawing together songs from the group’s debut album and preceding EPs, the night is a tour de force of the best that Creeper have to offer, and the resulting performance is nothing short of sensational.

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The group’s characteristic affinity for the theatrical reaches an emotional high point in main set closer ‘I Choose To Live’. “Life don’t seem as dark when I sing with you,” Will Gould echoes. Essentially, that’s what the night, and indeed the band, are all about. The world outside the venue doors is forgotten, the focus replaced by the energy and enjoyment of the moment the room basks in. Sing along loud and sing along proud: Creeper are a band that are here to stay.

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Photographs by Stephanie Evans