Home Gigs Gig Review : CREEPER With Support From Zetra Limelight Belfast

Gig Review : CREEPER With Support From Zetra Limelight Belfast

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Review by Melanie Brehaut for MPM

Southampton rockers Creeper have always had a knack for playing venues far smaller than what their popularity would suggest, but this short, twelve night run of gigs is proper throwback time for the band, who have chosen relatively tiny places to play in cities they don’t often visit; the result, as frontman Will Gould stated on Twitter, of fans crying out on various social media platforms.

And so, to Belfast! The band have not been here since they supported Pierce the Veil way back in 2016, so their first headline gig here has been a very long time coming. Excited fans began queueing outside the venue shortly before doors, eager to see their heroes perform tracks from critically acclaimed album Sanguivore (voted Album of the Year just a few weeks back by none other than Metal Hammer magazine), as well as fan favourites.

First up is support act Zetra, who preface their set with some quality pompous, folky intro music before taking to the tiny stage promptly at 7.45pm. The pair, all corpse paint and billowing robes, maintain a shroud of mystery by not speaking at all – not a single word – preferring to let their music do the talking for them. Somewhat unsurprisingly, said music is a mix of shoegaze synths and a sort of gothic metal, and although it’s a tiny bit pretentious it’s actually very good; moody, dark and atmospheric, with some beautifully ethereal vocals from the rather androgynous guitarist who is often joined by the swaying vampiric keyboardist. Moments of gritty, primal guitar playing mixed with the crushing, juddering drumbeats win over the crowd almost immediately, who issue a loud roar of support as the duo’s half hour set comes to an end.

Excitement in the Limelight builds as the time draws nearer to Creeper’s set. The crowd seems to be a healthy mix of diehard fans and those who came along to see what all the fuss is – and they soon find out. Following their now-standard schlocky intro track (for this tour it’s ‘Let’s Do the Timewarp’ from the Rocky Horror Picture Show) the band appear onstage one by one, with Ghould (or ‘William von Ghould’ as he is currently known) joining them last. They immediately blast into ‘Cry to Heaven’, the first track released from Sanguivore, and the fans in the crowd erupt into a delirious singalong. They choose a classic for track two: ‘Poison Pens’, from way back. A live fan favourite, it sends the crowd into even greater levels of delirium.

Von Ghould is a consummate frontman at this stage of the band’s career: lithe and slinky, he holds the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout, and seems to be enjoying himself enormously. He has “grown into himself”, to coin a phrase; where once he was a bit awkward and gawky, he is now full of confidence and swagger, and owns that stage. The fans down the front absolutely adore him, handing him a rose during their most recent release ‘Lovers Led Astray’ (lyric: “I’d pick a rose for every bloodstain on your clothes”) and singing with passion to every single song, whether old or new.

There is very little in the way of chit chat, apart from remarking on how long it had been since they played Belfast, and thanking us all for coming to see them on a rainy Wednesday night, as well as the obligatory “which side of the crowd is loudest” and “are you noisier than Dublin” (the previous night’s gig). A few songs get a brief introduction (“this is a song about murder” before the gloriously hammy ‘The Ballad of Spook and Mercy’; “how about a fast one?” before ‘Honeymoon Suite’), but for the most part they stick to throwing out song after song, to the joy of the crowd.

A few actual ballads get an airing, including ‘Crickets’, gorgeously sung by keyboardist Hannah Greenwood, which results in a distinctly feminine-sounding singalong; ‘I Choose to Live’, starring Will, Hannah and a single green spotlight, and the almost always guaranteed ‘Misery’, which caps off their set. It’s during this final number that the band get a taste of Belfast humour: while Will holds the microphone out for the crowd to sing the chorus (standard), one wag calls out “this is supposed to be your job”, resulting in a burst of laughter from the crowd. Will later informs everyone that this is the first time it’s ever happened, while barely containing his own laughter.

Following ‘I Choose to Live’ the band briefly depart before returning for their Steinman-esque nine-minute epic ‘Further Than Forever’, and finally the aforementioned ‘Misery’. “This has been so much fucking fun!” cries Von Ghould before they exit the stage, leaving both fans and curious newcomers a sweaty, delighted, joyful mess; hoping that the band will stick to their promise of returning to Belfast for another show.

Photography by MPM

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