"The songs, the fans and the firm grasp of their own craft to push them to the biggest stages possible." Creeper just showed Brighton why they're one of the UK's most vital rock bands

South Coast vampire punks Creeper blow Brighton away with an anthem-stacked, fun and emotional set

Creeper on stage in Brighton
(Image: © Harry Steel)

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It's half past eight on a Saturday night in Brighton, and a packed-out room of makeup-clad, histrionic alt kids are singing their hearts out to hallmark Rocky Horror Picture Show hit Time Warp. Not unusual scenes, all things considered, but this isn't Cabaret Carousel at the Charles Street Tap: it's a rock gig starring one of the most exciting British bands of their generation, and the pre-show playlist is throwing out bangers. 

It's clear this is a crowd in the mood to party, and as soon as Creeper stride out on stage - bathed in blood-red light, clad in matching biker jackets, slick hair and facepaint and slamming into fangtastic, Lost Boys-core banger Cry To Heaven - it's clear they're in the mood, too. Following the success of last year's magnificent Sanguivore album and the successful Academy-sized tour that followed, tonight marks the latest stop-off in a bolt-on run around some more intimate haunts, though with around 800 lost souls squeezing into Chalk this evening, it's hardly a grotty, toilet venue punk gig.

Probably for the best, because as much as Creeper have their hearts in the UK punk scene, theirs is a schtick that deserves big stages and mass singalongs, and boy do they get the latter. Be it the sexed-up, 80s metal drama of Lovers Led Astray and Teenage Sacrifice, the anthemic adrenaline of Down Below and Hiding With Boys or the glammy Britpop stomp of Cyanide and Annabelle, whatever era the band pull from, every song aired is greeted like a timeless classic as just about everyone in the room jumps, dances, surfs or pits their arse off.

Will Gould remains a cooler-than-cool, unshakeable focal point, veering from ice-old, vampiric biker-punk to foppish, gothic dandy, leading Brighton through fist-pumps, singalongs, synchronised sways and Bruce Dickinson-esque call-and-responses. Creeper do, of course, have another ace up their sleeve when it comes to stage presence these days: keyboardist and backing vocalist Hannah Hermione's now customary mid-set tag-in to front the band for a couple of songs adds another layer to proceedings, Hermione showing her own versatility by guiding the crowd through a raw, emotional singalong of delicate ballad Crickets and lairy, full-throttle arena rocker Ghosts Over Cavalry. She jokes that she's "everyone's favourite female member of Creeper", but she's a vital part of a band who mean an immense amount to a particularly dedicated fanbase. 

It's a love-in that's very much mutual; Gould pauses a venue-wide, deafening, acapella singalong of Misery to let everyone know just how appreciated nights like these are. "Thank you," he says sincerely, taken aback by the scenes in front of him. "This song is particularly hard for some of us to play. This means everything." At this stage of their career, Creeper have the songs, the fans and the firm grasp of their own craft to push them to the biggest stages possible. With any justice, they'll get there sooner rather than later.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.