Creeper – What the horrorpunk Southampton band mean to me

It’s 16th April 2016. I’m at Southampton Guildhall waiting to see Neck Deep perform on their World Tour. 

I’ve arrived early enough to find a good spot and I’m waiting for the main act. The lights go out and on walk the support band, Creeper. I’ve never heard of them but I’ll give them a chance. I’ll listen to them for the next 45 minutes and then forget their existence – I’ve done this enough times now, I know the drill.

I am wrong.

As the band begins their iconic song Misery, I’m hooked, moved in a way rarely possible by music.

When I left the gig that day I knew I’d seen a special band. Something about them just clicked, and I could tell this was the start of a lifelong romance.

In the following months I began listening to Creeper more and more, watching as they released hit after hit. Each release felt exciting and new, yet always managed to maintain their sound, their purpose.

I’m a big music lover and enjoy a variety of bands, styles and eras. Typically, I listen to a few songs from various bands. There aren’t many I would openly consider myself a ‘fan’ of, but Creeper is different.

Their music has connected with me in a way no other band has ever done. I truly felt this band ‘got’ me; the perfect mix of anger and pain intertwined in a way that tugged at my heart. I fell in love, with the band, with the music, with the meaning. It all meant so much, and it still does. 

I’ve seen them three times since that initial encounter, mostly on their home turf in Southampton which always makes the gig feel more special, as though they are giving back to the city which grew them. A magical energy fills each venue they play and every show seems better than the last. Their set list continues to grow and expand while new fans emerge from the shadows to show their love for this band.

Everything was wonderful and then came the Koko show.

In November 2018 the band played London’s Koko Venue, a gig they ended by hanging up their jackets and announcing the show as ‘the last show that we’ll ever do’. Their goodbye was a nod to the death of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era in the 1970’s. Knowing Bowie returned to the music scene after the death of Ziggy Stardust, I was hopeful that the same would be true for Creeper, in fact, I was desperate for this to be the case.

But it still stung. It felt like heartbreak. The band who I had loved so much was gone and I wasn’t sure if I would see them again. I tried to stay optimistic and hopeful but I can’t deny that I was crushed inside.

I didn’t attend the Koko show, despite much deliberating about whether I should go. Even before the gig there were rumours that this was their final show and although I knew I didn’t want to miss it I had hope. I’m so glad I hung on to that hope.

After a yearlong hiatus the band returned, finding a new sound and subsequently a new era of their musical journey.

Their latest album Sex, Death and the Infinite Void showcases a variety of sounds and styles; the album being significantly different from their previous releases. There have been mixed reviews regarding the album, largely due to the alternative approach the band has taken with their new songs. But for me, the album is close to perfection. Every song is beautiful in its own unique way, with the combination of the songs creating an album close to a piece of art.

When I saw them perform in 2016, they had just released their third EP The Stranger which placed 130th on the UK albums chart. Sex, Death and the Infinite Void reached 5th on the UK albums chart last week, an indication of how far they have come since their formation in 2014. Writing that fact down makes me feel like a proud mother, I’ve watched this band grow and now they are being given the attention they truly deserve. 

I wish I would have known what I was letting myself in for that April evening in Southampton. I wasn’t prepared for the journey this unknown band was about to take me on, the amount of love and loss I would feel as a result. 

But they have changed my life, I owe them so much. Their songs have lifted me out of the dark on many occasions, while feeling like a warm hug on others. It’s more than music, it’s home, it’s belonging, it’s love.

Creeper, thank you.

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