BEWARE THE CALLOUS HEART: CREEPER/GRADER/BLOOD YOUTH @ THE UNDERWORLD, CAMDEN

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“Were you there?!” he was screaming in my ear. “Was I where?” I replied, a little confused. “Are you here?!” he rephrases the question, with no real increase in clarity. “Yes I was…here?” I tentatively venture before the penny drops. Yes, I was there, when there is here. I was there when Creeper headlined the Camden Underworld. Whilst my new drunken friend wasn’t really making himself clear, tonight was the night Creeper made it abundantly clear that this is one of the last times they hit venues this small. But before we got onto the main attraction, there was the small issue of a veritable mountain of hardcore to scale.

We missed Muskets cos the bus is a crap way to get around. I’m sorry. We arrived just as Blood Youth took to the stage in a riot of swish haircuts and chequered shirts. If I’m honest BF really don’t look like a hardcore band, they look like H&M sales assistants, but their music speaks for itself. Whilst the crowd weren’t biting on the breakdowns (aside a few hesitantly pointing fingers down the front), the unmistakably British vocals cut across the scene and the Lincoln lads acquitted themselves fairly well. Not gonna lie the synth lines of ‘Closure’ are totally lost on me and the trendy metalcore overtones are hard to ignore. Also it’s sad to hear their pre-recorded second guitar parts too. That said Blood Youth seem to be making waves in UK hardcore and that, for me, is no bad thing.

Next up are Aberdeen’s Grader, who are all gravelly shouted vocals (that are somewhere between Caleb Shomo and Louis Armstrong) and moody guitars. A contemplative and fairly technical take on hardcore, I actually really enjoyed this performance. Fiercely underground in their rhetoric and attire (shout out for that Converge patch), the Scots are born performers. There’s noticeably more finger pointing for these guys, strange given they intersect Creeper’s target demographic even less than Blood Youth, but the band feed off the attention garnered to give a performance befitting of a longer set.

An impressive set change time given the entire change in back line follows, and as the lights dim the anticipation grows. Creeper launch straight into the chugging riff-work of ‘VCR’, and as the first verse starts up the singing from the crowd is almost deafening. ‘You aoour, the clock on my VCourr,’ everyone sung as one, mimicking the characteristic poor diction of Creeper frontman Will Gould. This energy hardly lets up as we were treated to 4 tracks from each of the 3 EPs, including outings for new songs ‘Black Mass’, ‘Valentine’, ‘Astral Projection’ and ‘Misery’ (the last of which was stunning). An encore comprising oldies ‘We Had A Pact’ and a rare outing for the seminal ‘Novena’ was a nice treat for those assembled, before we were left alone some 40-or-so minutes from when we started.

It’s true that this article could’ve really written itself; I mean Creeper would’ve had to REALLY f*** up not to capitalise on the momentum they’ve build over the last couple of years. But they not only avoided f***ing up, but also put on the consummate live performance we’ve come to expect from them over the last few months. This is THE premier heavy band in Britain today, and this band WILL be a huge hit if they want to be. Next time they tour is in support of Neck Deep (again), and then they’ll be off to bigger and better things I’d have thought. But I was there. I was there the night Creeper headlined the Camden Underworld.

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