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Creeper at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - live review

Southampton’s theatrical punks rise above the horror

Art for Creeper at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

It might be reaching testicle-shattering temperatures outside but one of 2017’s hottest bands have come to ignite London. To say that this Creeper tour is anticipated is an understatement; these Southampton misery-mongers haven’t so much crept as catapulted onto the scene, leaving a Top 20 album and a memorable main stage appearance at Download in their wake. The start of the Theatre Of Fear show is impressive, all flashing lights and spooky sound effects as a mysterious character tells a tale of the Southampton 1967 World’s Fair. In the background, the haunting visage of The Stranger looks down on the crowd, complete with spooky glowing eyes.

For the next hour or so Creeper delight the young punks with their kinetic goth-horror, gilding upbeat American style punk with their macabre aesthetic. Will Gould projects and gesticulates throughout like a stage-school star, with a vocal talent that befits a Broadway lead, matched by keyboardist Hannah Greenwood, whose lead on Crickets is insanely good. With the drumkit pushed to the side the charcoal-black stage gives the band room to run around, but there are no theatrics or circus tricks from them, just Creeper dishing out their finest tunes. Black Rain kicks things off with a bang and Down Below and Astral Projection are all delivered with unwavering passion. “We live in a fucked-up world,” says Will in his farewell speech, “but I choose to live,” before Black Mass and Misery serve up a final slab of defiance from one of the year’s undisputed stars.