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Unleashing Sanguivore: Creeper’s Electrifying Night at Brighton’s Chalk

Tonight’s gig is sold out, and before Creeper hit the stage, ‘Rebel Yell’ and ‘Timewarp’ play over the PA. The anticipation is palpable. Next over the PA come portentous chords accompanied by ominous-sounding drums…

Creeper - Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 - Photo credit - Cris Watkins
Creeper - Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 - Photo credit - Cris Watkins

CREEPER + ZETRA + NAUT @ CHALK, BRIGHTON 16TH MARCH 2024

Creeper descend on Brighton Chalk to promote their latest album, Sanguivore, which was released in October last year. Support comes from Naut and Zetra. Naut from Bristol are purveyors of quite tuneful heavy rock. They have no drummer, and their drum machine gives them a slightly motorik sound. They’re an interesting band, and half an hour is not long enough. They continue to tour with Creeper until 28th March. Zetra are a London duo comprising Adam on guitar and vocals and Jordan on synth and vocals. They don’t do surnames. They have been described as ‘mysterious’ and ‘enigmatic’. What is no mystery, though, is that they trade in gothic synth metal. 

Zetra - Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 - Photo Credit Cris Watkins
Zetra – Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 – Photo Credit Cris Watkins

Adam sings in a near falsetto most of the time. Unfortunately, his guitar sounds a bit weedy, like an angry wasp. It could do with being higher in the mix, and with a far meatier sound. A Gibson Les Paul with a Marshall stack should do the trick. Zetra’s music deserves better instrumentation! Occasionally, the music has a very prog feel. There are some excellent keyboard flourishes and some interesting time signatures, too. Towards the end of their set, they rock out more, and the band themselves seem to be more into what they are doing. They have unique costumes and make-up, leaving the stage to what sounds like a Tardis departing. However, whilst all of this is very good, something seems to be missing. They seem to need more OOMPH!!! Maybe that’s where the Les Paul comes in. I’m not getting any commission from Gibson Guitars, incidentally…

Will Gould – Creeper – Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 – Photo credit – Cris Watkins

Tonight’s gig is sold out, and before Creeper hit the stage, ‘Rebel Yell’ and ‘Timewarp’ play over the PA. The anticipation is palpable. Next over the PA come portentous chords accompanied by ominous-sounding drums that bring to mind a large, ferocious creature stirring from its slumber. Without further ado, the band hit the stage and went straight into ‘Cry To Heaven’ from their current album, Sanguivore. Singer Will Gould has a definite touch of The Sisters Of Mercy’s Andrew Eldritch about him, but he also handles the high notes with aplomb.

Creeper - Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 - Photo credit - Cris Watkins
Jake Fogarty – Creeper – Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 – Photo credit – Cris Watkins

Guitarist Ian Miles peals off a most impressive solo as well. As a set opener, it really doesn’t get much better. ‘Poison Pens’ from 2017’s debut album Eternity In Your Arms follows. This opening one-two deftly illustrates Creeper’s development over the last seven years. Poison Pens has a definite punk-metal feel. Indeed, Eternity In Your Arms was quite a punky proposition compared to their ensuing albums. Cry To Heaven, on the other hand, has more of a classic rock feel.

Creeper - Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 - Photo credit - Cris Watkins
Lawrie Patterson – Creeper – Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 – Photo credit – Cris Watkins

In terms of stage presence and musicianship, Creeper are a definite couple of steps above tonight’s support bands. Then again, they do have considerably more experience. They virtually have the audience eating out of their hands, which always helps. By the third song, ‘Lovers Led Astray’, there are already crowd surfers. There is no way that this audience is going to curb their enthusiasm!!! This song is also from the current album and features an excellent Hammond-style keyboard sound courtesy of Hannah Greenwood, who also briefly takes lead vocals. We also have a display of dual lead guitar from Ian Miles and second guitarist Lawrie Patterson. Lawrie was formerly a touring member of the band, but as of this year he is a full member, and deservedly so. 

Creeper - Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 - Photo credit - Cris Watkins
Will Gould & Ian Miles – Creeper – Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 – Photo credit – Cris Watkins

‘Hiding With Boys’ (from Eternity In Your Arms) commences as a piano-led ballad but then becomes monumentally heavier. The floor is shaking – no sh*t! ‘Cyanide’ from Sex, Death & The Infinite Void (their second album) has a sweet piano riff, and the song has ‘classic’ written all over it. The band’s second album displayed a very definite Bowie influence, which is no bad thing. ‘The Ballad of Spook & Mercy’ is a tale of vampires and suits Will Gould’s Andrew Edritch-isms very well. This, again, is very much a classic in waiting. 

Creeper - Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 - Photo credit - Cris Watkins
Hannah Greenwood – Creeper – Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 – Photo credit – Cris Watkins

As the set progresses, the band clearly demonstrate that they have a wide sonic vocabulary, encompassing punk, metal, classic rock, power ballads and even hints of prog. They give the impression that they really could do anything that they wanted to do musically. Hannah Greenwood is a key component in this. In addition to keyboards, her musical armoury includes co-lead vocals, violin, guitar and percussion. She occasionally heads to the front of the stage to handle lead vocals, too. 

Creeper - Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 - Photo credit - Cris Watkins
Sean Scott – Creeper – Chalk, Brighton 16th March 2024 – Photo credit – Cris Watkins

The band definitely has a keen sense of showmanship, and their matching leather jackets don’t harm this. Will Gould has a touch of Freddie Mercury about him. There is definitely a Queen influence at work here and an element of The Faces, too. 

‘I Choose To Live’ from Eternity In Your Arms ends the main set, but the band soon return for encores. Will Gould thanks the audience for supporting the band and for supporting live music. He is clearly quite emotional about this and there is a lot of love going both ways between the band and the audience. However, Will isn’t too overwhelmed to deliver encores ‘Further Than Forever’ (from their current album) and ‘Misery’ (from their debut). I must confess that this is the first time I’ve seen Creeper, and I’ve been mightily impressed. To quote Arnie: “I’ll be back.”

MARK KELLY 

Words – Mark Kelly, Photos – Cris Watkins

CREEPER GALLERY

©Cris Watkins Photography

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