Attending a live show, be it as a fan or critic, always comes with a certain set of expectations. You know the music, you know the audience and you know the energy. Gauging whether the show is good or not is often a by-product of those expectations.
So what happens when there are no expectations? I’ll be the first to admit that I did not know anything about the genre known as ‘psychobilly’ when I signed up to see The Creepshow in concert and interview keyboardist Kristian “The Reverend McGinty” Rowles. In fact, I had to google it just to have an idea of what I was getting myself into.
– The psychobilly label –
“The basic idea of [psychobilly] is that it’s rock-a-billy but more uptempo, aggressive and more angry. [For us] it has come to incorporate a lot of different styles of bands. A lot of people would say that we’re psychobilly and a lot of people will say we’re not psychobilly. If you think we are, we’re fine with that. And if you don’t, that’s fine too. It’s always just been really fun, that kind of music for me. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and the bands always have a blast.” – Rowles
– Are they conscious of the label –
“Not really. In fact, I was doing an interview not too long ago and was saying that the second album sounded more punk rock than the first album and that wasn’t a conscious effort. We just write songs how we write songs. There’s never a sit down where we think ‘We need to write an aggressive punk rock but slightly psychobilly son.’ It just comes out like it comes out.”
Fast forward to two minutes into the opening song of The Creepshow’s set and I had completely forgotten about what genre they belonged to. This was a well-seasoned band playing heavy but catchy rock songs with an audience enamored with every note and every riff. And if the first thing I noticed was the music, the second was the thunderous burst of energy that is, lead singer, Kenda “Twisted” Legaspi.
From jumping into the crowd and moshing with the audience, to tearing into every lyric, to finding new and creative locations to sing from (On a tall speaker? Why not. On the bar? Sure.), Legaspi owned the stage. When the lead singer in a band is having the time of their life, it’s contagious and Legaspi made sure to bring the whole crowd along for the ride. One would never guess that Legaspi has been in the band barely over a year stepping in when previous singer Sarah Blackwood left to join the band Walk Off The Earth.
– On Kenda joining the band being an adjustment –
“Well yes, but just because I have to call her by a different name than I used to. Besides that though, she’s been a joy to have on the road. She’s very excited about everything, whether it be driving and seeing landmarks or just going to see exciting things in cities. And I mean this is besides the actual playing of the shows which she lives for.”
– Has the sound of the band evolved with Kenda –
“I think naturally a little bit and, in my opinion, for the better. She’s really jumped into it and hasn’t held back. It’s just nice to play with someone who’s just giving her all.”
That is not to sell short the rest of the band. As a collective they play tight and are visibly top notch musicians. Bassist Sean “Sickboy” McNab (whose collaborations with McGinty pre-date the band) is a master of encouraging audience participation and the chemistry between him, McGinty, drummer Sandro “Blood” Sanchioni and guitarist Daniel Flamm is strong.
As the show went on, The Creepshow played a balance of older material and songs off their newer album. The newer songs have a more accessible and mainstream sound but don’t lack any of the power and rage of their earlier material. Stand outs included older material such as “Grave Diggers”, “Run For Your Life”, “Dusk Til Dawn” and “Sinners & Saints” which is from their, recently released, album Life After Death. The audience ate up everything The Creepshow played and, while the mosh pits were more intermittent than steady, the energy level in the venue never waned or plateaued.
– What to expect from a Creepshow concert –
“For us, it’s always been the live show. It’s what we look forward to and put the most time and effort into. [And] of all things…our one true general demand is that our live show is fun and fantastic and everyone has a blast. Well atleast I have a blast.”
More than anything, The Creepshow are a damn fun band to see live. This isn’t uncommon but what sets these guys apart is that they seem to be enjoying themselves just as much as the people cheering them on. After all that, I still had no idea whether The Creepshow were a ‘psychobilly’ band or not but I didn’t care. They put on a great show and the next time I see them, my expectations will be a lot higher.
3 Random Questions for Reverend McGinty:
– What are your influences? –
“As a rule, I try to listen to anything. I grew up as a big fan of the pop music from the 80’s and then that sort of changed and I got more into the local punk rock scene. Then I started to discover older artists from the 50’s and 60’s and I really got into that old DooWop rock and roll sound. [Creepshow bassist] Sean is the one who actually introduced me to psychobilly but he’s also really into punk rock and artists like Social Distortion. Everyone is into something slightly different so we have a wealth of different styles to draw from.”
– If you could open for any band in the world? –
“We were offered to open for The Specials a couple of years. We couldn’t do it because we had members across the country, literally, and that was a huge let down because they were a huge inspiration for me back in the day and I know all their songs front to back. So definitely them, that’s one for me.”
– If you could have any band open for you? –
“Hmm, I’ve never been asked that before. In all honesty, actually my friend’s band – they’re called “The Fundamentals”. They’re a ska band from Montreal and they did open for us on one of our Canadian tours but if I could listen to that band every night, I would have them open for us every night. And not only cause they’re good friends of ours but they’re really good musicians and would be awesome to listen to right before you go on stage. So I would have to say “The Fundamentals”.”
The Creepshow are currently on tour and their latest album, Life After Death, is available in stores and online.
For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/TheCreepshowOfficial
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