Creeper, Milk Teeth and Puppy at Electric Ballroom, London - live review

Southampton’s horror punks expand their cult

Art for Creeper, Milk Teeth and Puppy live at Electric Ballroom, London

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Tonight is one of those gigs where you can feel the buzz in the air. For hours, a black-clad queue has been trailing up Camden High Street, and once you get inside it’sfive-deep at the merch stand. The Creeper Cult is gathering momentum and its army of devotees, all bearing the Callous Heart emblem, are out in force. However, plenty of people have made it in for PUPPY’s [7] promising set. The trio walk a fine line between taut, grungy brawn on Tree and ethereal Smashing Pumpkins-esqueartrock on The Great Beyond, but prove their metal credentials on Entombed, a filthy stomper with a neck-snapping riff. MILK TEETH [8] crash onto the stage in a whirlwind of hair, guts and 90s fuzz. Their raucous set is a joy to behold, a visceral mashup of the spiky and sweet. Becky Blomfi eld’s melodic vocals and Josh Bannister’s rabid shrieks skirt around each other before melding into dreamy harmonies on Crows Feet and Brickwork.

When CREEPER [9] finally hit the stage, leathered up and surrounded by neon purple crosses, you feel the crowd release like a coiled spring. For the next glorious hour this is a community united in a spray of beer, sweat and the thrill of seeing one of the country’s best bands on the cusp of becoming something really special. The goth punks’ debut, Eternity, In Your Arms, only came out six days ago, but every person in the room has their arms around each other, ecstatically bellowing the words to Suzanne and Poison Pens, while frontman Will Gould presides over the congregation like some kind of unholy preacher. The earlier, scrappier material, VCR and Lie Awake, go down a storm of course, but over the years, the sextet have embellished their AFI and Alkaline Trio influences with flashes of rock opera, raging punk and morbid romance. Now it’s the unabashed theatrics of Black Rain and vulnerability of country-tinged Crickets, with a jaw-dropping vocal performance from keyboardist Hannah Greenwood that provides a glimpse of where this band could truly go.

A sold-out Brixton, festival headliners… anything seems possible when you’ve got this kind of vision and hunger. Until then, though, they’ve got this enthralled Camden room in the palm of their hand.

Dannii Leivers

Danniii Leivers writes for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, The Guardian, NME, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and more. She loves the 90s, and is happy where the sea is bluest.