LIVE REVIEW: Creeper, Zetra, Naut @ Boiler Shop, Newcastle (20.05.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Adam Kennedy

Forgive me, die-hard Creeper fans, for forgetting that the Southampton goth rockers put the theatrical in theatrical rock most befitting of their latest album Sanguivore – a high-concept 80s vampire rock record with lore deeper than the Marianas Trench.

First, we should recognise the work of the supports who worked hard to warm up the frosty crowd. (Nothing to do with the audience’s attitude, rather I’ve always found the Boiler Shop to ironically be quite under-insulated in chillier weather). Naut opened with a deliciously rounded post-punk sound with a metal tinge that really settled folks in for a night of nostalgic heavy tunes. This is also an open call for the vocalist to send over his hair care routine, because even from the back, those locks were looking luscious. 

Zetra took to the stage in the most dramatic fashion seen for any band, let alone as a main support act. After the spoken word intro letting us know that we were in for some kind of spiritual experience, the synth-pop-via-black-metal duo treated us to ethereal vocals and a musical style that can be best described as the Stranger Things theme on steroids. 

After a quick interlude of Rebel Yell and the Time Warp – which should have been my first reminder that we were about to delve deep into a vampire-themed concept record that the band themselves sought to embody with their heart and (what was left of) their soul – Creeper took to the stage in bloodied corpse paint and matching leather jackets.

80s rock throwback Cry to Heaven echoed throughout the tall ceiling of the Boiler Shop. Debut record hits like Hiding with Boys and Down Below still held their rugged charm, devoid of excessive backing tracks and holding onto the raw vocals that made Eternity, In Your Arms a stand-out when it was first released. Lead singles from Sex, Death & the Infinite Void Born Cold and Cyanide wove seamlessly into the genre-hopping setlist for a satisfactory evening of operatic rock highs and mellow punk rock lows. Special shout out goes to backing vocalist and keyboardist Hannah Hermione, whose time at the front of the stage for her leading vocals on heart wrenching acoustic anti-ballad Crickets and Ghosts Over Calvary always ends up a personal highlight. 

Tracks from their latest record were as warmly received: Teenage Sacrifice as a gory song about obsession that was bang-on their vampiric trend, while the anthemic Further Than Forever brought the band back onstage for their encore. It also tied in neatly with the song preceding: that night, I Choose to Live spoke not only to an emotional crowd, but also to one Will Gould himself, reminding us that before any music speaks to us, it first speaks to its creator.

As for encores… the performance of absolute fan-favourite Misery tonight may go down in history as the biggest piss-take, with the pause for dramatic effect taking so long that some (including me) thought it was all over. Keen not to overpay at the car park, the end of this particular gig was to be enjoyed halfway down the street. For those die-hard Creeper fans, however, I imagine it was the best night they’ll have for a while – or at least until Creeper swings by Newcastle again.

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