Ever since the disappearance of Creeper back in August 2016 saw their social media accounts wiped and replaced with scant details of a missing James Scythe, the dreamt-up mystery that arrived alongside their debut album has grown into a fully fledged urban myth. In turn, it’s become increasingly clear that Creeper are not just another rock band. And that’s what makes tonight – their biggest headline set to date, in the glorious confines of Shepherd’s Bush Empire – so special; this is so much more than just another show.
Titling their tour dates as The Theatre of Fear certainly set a precedent when it came to their stage production, but the opening scene that unfolds when the lights go down is still an unexpected affair. Set against the backdrop of Southampton’s World’s Fair of 1967, the drama of their narrative is very much alive tonight. Followed by a blackout of lights, a torch-lit stage search and the re-appearance of their pivotal character James Scythe himself, they pull off one of the best concept rock shows since My Chemical Romance in their infamous Black Parade days.
Musically, they blitz their way through their debut ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ like there’s no tomorrow. Charged with adrenaline from the off, the likes of ‘Black Rain’, ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Hiding With Boys’ are anthemic in their delivery, while the crowd themselves respond to every word. And whilst the brilliant flare of their conceptual side is very much present throughout – with frontman Will Gould seamlessly channelling the likes of David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker and Gerard Way all at once - their performance lacks none of the intensity they’re so renowned for.
Winding things down with a spine-tingly rendition of album closer ‘I Choose To Live’, before returning for the euphoric one-two of ‘Black Mass’ and ‘Misery’, it’s a crescendo that provides a perfect conclusion to such a cathartic night. And while it may be easy to write off bands who dabble in the dramatic, or to let cynicism take over, Creeper’s hard work and ambition is palpable this evening. A show packed with hope, tonight is undoubtedly the shining black jewel in their crown.
Photos: Emma Swann