Show Review: Creepshow @ The Reverb

The City Will Never

Be The Same

The Creepshow at The Reverb

Nov 6th 2009

It’s a chilly Friday night and I’m attending what is supposed to be “the last Creepshow show for a really long time!” at The Reverb in Toronto.  The Creepshow is one of the best Psychobilly bands around and a rare female-led one.  For those who aren’t versed in this genre, Psychobilly is rockabilly + punk + horror themes (particularly zombies).  Pompadours and stand-up basses are staples.  Considering that the band played here in their hometown at least three times in the last nine months, their threat of staying away doesn’t carry much weight.  Obviously a lot of people bought into it though, the place was packed by the time Sarah “Sin” Blackwood (vocals/guitar), Reverend McGinty (organ/vocals), Sean “Sickboy” McNab (stand-up bass) and Matt “Pomade” Gee (drums) hit the stage.
The first opener of the night is The Hypnophonics out of Montreal, a rockabilly outfit with screamo-esque vocals and seemingly indestructible pompadours.  They’re followed by The Dreadnoughts from Vancouver who claim they’re “here to fuck up your rockabilly party!”  These guys are classical musicians disguised as punks.  Probably the product of parents forcing music lessons on them as kids. Throughout their set we’re treated to accordion, fiddle and mandolin all in the vein of Irish-pirate punk (think Flogging Molly).  It’s fair to say that both of these bands exceed my expectations for openers.
‘The Sermon II’ starts playing from the speakers as The Creepshow hit the stage just after 11pm.  The audience seems slightly blasé at first, perhaps the rowdy high-schoolers that filled the pit during The Dreadnoughts had to get home for curfew.  After a couple of songs, the crowd starts to make the solitary stage security guard really work for his pay.  Those who aren’t moshing or crowdsurfing are swing-dancing in the pit.  Nearly every track off of 2006’s Sell Your Soul and 2008’s Run For Your Life is played along with their usual covers of The Ramones’ ‘Pet Sematary’ and The Misfits’ ‘Halloween’, during which every member of the touring bands come on stage to participate.  As per fan request, they also throw in an impromptu bit of Van Halen’s ‘Hot for Teacher’.  Part of their three-part encore has Sarah and the Reverend doing a stripped-down version of ‘The Garden’, infused with Sarah’s country flavour that can be heard on her solo effort, Way Back Home.
While Sarah is adorable and small enough to fit in your pocket, she has the voice, style and attitude to compensate. She scrambles up onto Sickboy’s bass in her bright green mini-shorts and fishnets.  She stirs up the crowd, goading them to be louder than other cities, telling them to “remove their balls from their purses.” It’s fair to say that she fills the equally-tiny performance shoes of big sister and former Creepshow lead, Jen “Hellcat” Blackwood.
The Creepshow recently became the first Canadian band signed to Hellcat records with Run For Your Life, officially re-released on the label as of October 27, 2009.  Unfortunately, this means it will probably be a while before we get any new material.  This is the only real problem with seeing them live more than once; the catalogue is limited.  Even their covers are ones they’ve been doing for years.  That being said, The Creepshow manages to keep things fresh.  A lot of this has to do with their onstage banter, which involves a lot of teasing and mock fights.  “Oh, watch out Steve Vai”, the Reverend jokes as Sarah tunes her guitar.  They also interact with their audience like it’s their closest friends and family.  This is particularly true in Toronto where the audience is made up of regulars like the folks from Rue Morgue Magazine– friends and colleagues of the band.  It was also a family reunion for both Sarah and Matt, whose families stood side-stage during the entire performance.  Sarah’s brother even came on to help sing a few lines.
Unfortunately, throughout the night the band had to repeatedly request changes to the audio balance in their monitors.  Despite how frustrating this must be, they were always apologetic, as if they were asking too much.  Luckily, these difficulties didn’t affect the performance at all.  Towards the end of the set, Reverend McGinty took a few moments to wholeheartedly thank the Reverb, the bar staff, the security and the audio tech.  It’s nice to see that signing to a major American label has not made them any less gracious or any less Canadian.

(Original publication: Bring Back the Boom Box Magazine- November 12, 2009)


About J2

What happens when you're a wordsy music aficionado who works for NXNE, CMW, HPX, Olio Music Festival, The JUNOs and Polaris Music Prize? You spend all of your free time blogging about it... Follow on Twitter if you're so inclined: @HearPlugged

Posted on February 24, 2011, in Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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