REVIEW: Creeper, 02 Guildhall Southampton

SOUTHAMPTON’S horror punk heroes Creeper came home in triumph to their biggest show in the city at the end of their most ambitious tour so far.

The Kerrang! Award winners, whose top twenty debut album Eternity, in Your Arms has just been voted one of The NME’s albums of the year, wowed The O2 Guildhall on the last of six dates on their epic Theatre of Fear tour.

Front man Will Gould, lead guitarist Ian Miles, rhythm guitarist Oliver Burdett, bassist Sean Scott, keyboardist Hannah Greenwood and drummer Dan Bratton have just played huge shows at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Manchester’s Albert Hall, but nothing seemed to mean more than returning to the city where it all started and to its most iconic venue.

“We’ve been watching bands at the Guildhall for years so to headline here is a dream come true” Will told the crowd.

And the excitement was catching as the six-piece raced through electrifying album tracks like Black Rain, Suzanne, Poison Pens and Hiding With Boys.

This time the tunes were framed around the band’s intriguing story of the long-forgotten 1967 World’s Fair held in Southampton, a new mystery joining their ongoing tale of eponymous hero James Scythe, the character who’s featured in so much of their work.

Coupled with brilliant lighting and sound, here was a show with production values worthy of a Mayflower spectacular.

Early numbers Allergies and Lie Awake had everyone bouncing while first EP track VCR had to be heard after the crowd spontaneously chanted the three initials during a rousing encore which ended with single Misery.

They now tour the US and Europe, but this band haven’t forgotten their Southampton roots. “Wherever we go in the world we’ll always be from here” said Will, who also paid tribute to The Joiners and local promoter Ricky Bates who put on this show.

The city’s international music stars were back amongst their own.

Earlier lively support came from New Jersey rockers Can’t Swim, Atlanta’s Microwave and Watford-based Nervus.