Academy 2, Manchester, UK
25th March 2017
Spring has finally arrived in Manchester and as the more then welcome, and long overdue, sunshine arrives a patch of darkness descends upon Manchester in the shape of Creeper, tonight is the first date of their European tour that is in support of their debut album, Eternity, In Your Arms, that was released via Roadrunner Records just prior to the tour. Accompanying Creeper on the UK leg of their tour is an impressive bill of support acts in the shape of Milk Teeth, Energy and Puppy, tonight the Academy 2 is completely sold out, the crowd is noisy and vibrant and the turn out for the support acts, and the variety of t shirts on display, indicates that each band has bought along its own noisy and dedicated following.
Fresh from signing to Spinefarm Records, London based trio Puppy occupy the early slot on the tour, they open proceedings with some doom laden tones that for me channel the spirit of the early recordings by Black Sabbath combined with kind of the pop hooks that the likes of Weezer deliver. Whilst the singers unique vocal style seemed to divide opinion amongst those around me, and their style may seem slightly at odds with the rest of tonight’s bill, their short set of poppy proto metal seems to warm the crowd up nicely and they appear to go down well with the majority of the sizeable crowd who have already made it into town for the early start to tonight’s show.
The crowd at tonight’s show is distinctly youthful, something I will always take as a positive sign for the health of the UK’s punk scene, and the venue is almost packed to capacity by the time Boston’s Energy take to the stage for their debut appearance in the UK. They open with a slow burning instrumental that builds in intensity before their set kicks off in earnest, Energy are a band that certainly live up to their name, they deliver a welcome blast of melodic hardcore, that is a distinct contrast to Puppy‘s opening set, that brings a frantic hard edged shot of adrenalin and punk rock to tonight’s show. Energy‘s set carries a distinct horror punk undercurrent, especially with their most recent single, The Witching Hour, that is of course included in their all too short appearance tonight. Their set of hard edged punk hits the spot nicely and saw the first, but not the last, chaotic moshpit of the night and towards the climax of their set there was an enthusiastic outbreak of crowdsurfing. This is Energy‘s first visit to the UK, their powerful and impressive set of punk rock has undoubtedly won them a new set of converts on this side of the Atlantic, myself included amongst that number.
Milk Teeth continue the full tilt assault with a set of fuzzed up punk rock that adds another dimension to tonight’s bill. Their sound reminds of bands such as Verruca Salt, L7, The Muffs and Babes In Toyland, but for me it’s delivered with a sharper cutting edge, and of course a punkier sensibility. The intensity of their set builds up and delivers some pummelling punk rock that is of course exactly what the crowd wanted. This is Milk Teeth‘s first show of the year, and they’ve certainly hit the ground running as by the third song in their set the mosh pit is back in business and crowd surfers are keeping the security staff busy. Milk Teeth;s sound combines elements of grunge, alternative and of course good old fashioned punk rock to stunning effect, their all too brief set, that is largely culled from their superb 2016 album, Vile Child, produces a series of anthemic numbers that, like Energy‘s impressive set before them, has left me wanting to hear a lot more by both of tonight’s main support acts.
Following the superb set from Milk Teeth there is a lengthy gap Before Creeper make their eagerly awaited appearance, largely because the stage has undergone a transformation into what can only be described as Vegas Halloween chic, complete with illuminated neon tombstones. I last encountered Creeper supporting The Misfits in the academy basement in 2015, they’ve come a long way since I last saw them as their following seems to have grown considerably over the last few years, as their appearance draws nearer the venue sees a distinctly more gothic contingent added to the crowd in the already packed Academy 2. The lights drop and an raucous chant rings out, then the tombstones illuminate and then their set kicks in with their emotive horror tinged punk rock. This is a different band to the one I saw supporting New Jerseys finest, everything has changed and you get the distinct feeling that Creeper are destined for bigger things. Creeper channel rock, horror punk and emo influences to crowd pleasing effect, they have developed a loyal and energetic following and they play a set of the kind of material My Chemcial Romance used to deliver so well in their heyday.
Creeper play their set to the energetic and sweaty crowd that seem to know every word and chord throughout the first night of this hefty European tour, even if it is on a stage that looks as though it came straight off the set of a higher budget musical remake of Plan 9 From Outer Space. The spring weather finally arriving, tonight’s good natured crowd, the Academy 2‘s unobtrusive security and it’s efficient bar staff have combined to ensure that atmosphere at tonight’s show was perfect, add the four bands that made up tonight’s line up into the mix and you can see why tonight’s show was completely sold out. For me Milk Teeth and Energy stole the show tonight with their raw edged punk rock, but I suspect that I’ll be in the minority on this one judging by the crowds delirious reaction to a triumphant set by Creeper that saw my photographer for the night, Mike Maffia, almost buried under a hail of crowd-surfers and stage-divers at the start of Creeper‘s set.
Creeper‘s official website can be found here
Milk Teeth‘s Facebook page is here and their Bandcamp page is here
Energy‘s Bandcamp can be found here and their Facebook presence is here
Puppy can be found on Facebook here
Live photography by Mike Maffia
You can click on any of Mike’s photos to view a slide show of the images