Exactly one year ago, Brit punks Creeper brought the curtain down on their headline show at London’s Koko with the ominous promise that, “Of all the shows we’ve played in this last four years, this one will remain with us the longest because not only is it the last show of this album, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do.” Yes, it was an almost word-for-word echo of David Bowie’s speech that saw him kill off the character of Ziggy Stardust, but still, Creeper always felt like a band living on borrowed time. From the word go, they dialled every aspect of their gothic fairytale to the max, determined to make the most of whatever time they had. As painful as the breakup was, it felt sincere. The story of The Callous Heart, a misfit bunch of lost boys and girls brought together by hope, music and mystery, had been told across three EPS and a brilliant debut album. “To die would be an awfully big adventure,” they reasoned on their website. Where else could they go?
Tonight, via a series of cryptic social media posts and apparent band member abductions, Creeper returned to the stage at 229 The Venue under the guise of Fugitives of Heaven to answer that question. As they launch into debut single ‘VCR’, a frantic burst of bedroom escape and punk snarl, it’s easy to see just how much they’ve been missed. Crowd surfers fill the air as the likes of ‘Suzanne’, ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ and ‘Down Below’ remind the room of their ability to bounce between basement intensity and arena promise while ‘Crickets’ remains one of the most powerfully heartbreaking songs to come from the UK underground. ‘Misery’ unites the crowd as they take over lead vocals from frontman Will Gould who can do nothing but stand back in awe before a powerfully raw ‘I Choose To Live’ is dedicated to the memory of his mums partner. In the space of an hour, Creeper reclaim their title as the most dynamic, interesting and daring punk band around. But there’s more to tonight than what’s come before.
Before they take to the stage, lightbulbs flicker as ‘Earth Angel’ (you know, that song from Back To The Future that isn’t ‘Johnny B Goode’) plays out. Soon static prevails and a radio broadcast talking about “technology from another world” and “little green men” interrupts. It seems Creeper are taking their captivating emo ambitions to the stars, especially if new song ‘Born Cold’ is anything to go by. An outstretched hand, it sees them amplify the theatrics while offering comfort and understanding. Think Taking Back Sunday meets stadium boy band under a full moon and you’re halfway there. Dressed all in white, fireworks erupt from the stage, pits break out in the crowd and Will promises “We’ve got so much to tell you, but we can’t right now.” After tonight, we’re all ears.