A week or so (okay maybe 2 now)after a gig is the perfect time to write a review, obviously. I’m good at being disorganised. The Creeping Ivies and Shannon played a venue near my house the day before my birthday (I’m now 29, and everything still feels the same. For better and worse.)
I’ve been a fan of The Creeping Ivies for some time, and to be honest I was at the gig for them. To see a band you really love the day before your birthday, well you can’t say no. I’d spent the week seeing bands considering my desire to spend my birthday “celebrating” it seems to decrease by the year- it made perfect sense to see a band instead. Their set consisted of old and new gems. Becca’s voiced ripped through the crowd like a screaming banshee. It was bloody brilliant, and there was no better venue for them (okay there probably is but you know.) The venue made you feel like you were the outcast at a school prom that was designed for the weirdos. Why would you want to be around anyone else? The Creeping Ivies warmed the crowd up perfectly with their Rockabilly/Punk sound. The band initally started as two, but as a three-piece they work equally as well. The songs sound bigger and creepier when you see them play live, you sort of imagine them to be like that off stage. This isn’t the case. It was so good to finally meet Becca after years of writing about her band, and they’re just a solid bunch of people. Neither of us understood why Shannon’s rider had baby carrots but each to their own. The Creeping Ivies put on a set that made you want more. They made you feel as if you weren’t in the depths of Hackney watching them. It didn’t feel like 2015. I felt like I was on another planet. For the most part, I usually am. Anywhere but here. They were easily one of the best bands I’ve seen live this year, and I’d urge anyone in Scotland to go see them. And when they venture down here again, I’d urge you to go see them. They’re the kind of band that John Peel would play on his show- at first at the wrong speed, then he’d keep playing it just so you understood the band. The Creeping Ivies are from another world and they sure as hell take you there with their eerie sound.
It dawned on me that I had written about Shannon And The Clams before. I think I’ve probably gone on about their girl group style to someone, they probably weren’t listening. On record Shannon And The Clams have this massive sound- so how can they bring that to a dingy stage in Hackney? Quite easily. They make you forget you’d ever heard of them before now. I forgot how they sounded on record, and since then I’ve realised not much will compare to their live shows. Shannon’s voice could make the toughest of the tough stand to attention. She calls out some doofus in the crowd who shouts obscenties at her, she plays the bass like a wild animal who’s been let loose from their cage, she makes you feel like you can take on the world. They are a superb live band, and I think anyone who hasn’t seen them is missing out. Each member has such a gorgeous presence on stage and it is so nice and fucking refreshing to watch a band who love what they do and see the love they have for each other. The kids in the crowd were going nuts for them, I’ve not seen this kind of reaction in a long time and it is so good to see kids really get into music like this. Totally letting go and not giving a fuck about anyone/anything other than the music. That’s how it is supposed to be. You know, a lot of London crowds are slated as being pretentious- and to an extent that’s true. It can happen anywhere. I’ve seen it in this city, but I’ve also seen crowds go apeshit to the bands they love. This gig will always stick out for me, mainly because the crowd were brilliant and both bands fed off that. They ended their set with a Del Shannon cover. They covered Runaway, and it’s a song I used to make my mum play constantly when I was younger, and I probably tried to sing a long also. Not much has changed, I still can’t carry a tune.
They are bands for the outsiders, for the kids and adults who just don’t care what you think. I was watching the crowd, and all I could see was a sea of people in awe and in love with the band in front of them. The sounds that have influenced Shannon And The Clams really shines in their live shows, and I live in hope that these kids will go home and indulge in the likes of the Shangri-Las, The Girlfriends etc. They have essence of the past mixed with something, much like The Creeping Ivies, from another planet.
Both bands put on a remarkable show in their own way. The Creeping Ivies sent you to another galaxy and Shannon And The Clams made you feel like you had gatecrashed a prom out of protest. It was brutal, it was fun and it was the perfect way to dive into my 29th year on this planet.