Concert Review: Fat Creeps @ Cambridge Elks (2/16/13)

Creeps Elks
Bands: Fat Creeps, Space Bums, Fedavees, The BFS
Date: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Venue: Massasoit Cambridge Elks Lodge (Cambridge, MA)

Fat Creeps–  Hey y’all super cool people out there reading this, if you are in fact reading this, I got a little confession to make. I am a Fat Creeps fan. I know, it’s a shocker, who would have thunk? To say that I am a fan of this band would be a massive understatement, but I don’t want my Fat Creeps fanboyism to clog up this “review’ anymore. I am trying to imagine what it would be like to see them for the first time without having any prior knowledge about their music, ahh sounds awful, but I’ll give it a shot.

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Fat Creeps are a three piece consisting of Mariam Saleh on vocals and bass, Gracie Jackson on vocals and guitar, and Jim Leonard on drums. They have taken over Boston by this point and are starting to overflow into Portland, Providence, Worcester, Northampton, Brooklyn, and Bennington, your city will be next. The charming trio of early twenty somethings play a variety of styles that is both familiar and appealing to the ears, but not always easy to classify. Lazy journalists might call it “garage” or “pop punk” or they actually hear those styles, I don’t know. Surely, there’s elements of each, but being somewhat of a connoisseur of contemporary garage and a vehement detractor of most pop punk, I’d say this is painfully misleading.  It just goes to show that the band’s diversity makes them applicable to many genres and they can and have shared bills with all different walks of life from the rampant noise of SKIMASK to the playfully vulgar punk of The Coathangers, and everything in between. It’s all rock ‘n’ roll.

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Tonight, the band rips through some fresh cuts as well as some vintage Creeps classics that everyone and their grandmother should know by now. I mean my grandmother probably does, she’s a hip, hip lady, I once caught her listening to Black Flag, strange. “Nancy Drew,” do do do doo, hey Nancy Drew, do do do doo, hey Nancy Drew, do do do doo, hey Nancy Drew, do do do doo, hey Nancy Drew. The song practically sells itself.  You just have to hear it once and you can already sing along to it! Actually, once you hear the first do do do doo or second do do do doos, then you can pretty much sing along to it, unless you’re retarded. But, that’s okay I screw up lyrics all the time myself. “Nancy Drew” is a mini insight into the band’s quirky world. It’s simple, but ever so catchy, you can’t turn your back on it. I’d say this goes for pretty much most of the Creeps songs tonight. The main appeal to me is the memorable quality in all of their tunes, with “Nancy” being a boss example. That is the basic charm, but the band’s prowess as musicians and performers is what really hooks me in to their sound. Up front, Mariam and Gracie execute harmonies that rival the Vivian Girls, while Jim tenaciously assaults his drums behind them. In particular, I dig the way the delivery of their sound can match up with the direct nature of their lyrics  like in “Secrets,”  Mariam roars “Come closer I can’t hear you,” and it really feels like she is yelling at you to come closer.

This show is at the Cambridge Elks Lodge, a place I have never stepped foot inside in my entire life, until now. It’s a sweet spot, not too big, not too small,  but just right, to paraphrase one, Goldilocks (I had to look the correct spelling up, this whole time I’ve been spelling it as Goldie locks). There was no stage and  it was pretty much absent of any extraneous rock club bullshit, so it kind of  felt like a glamorous basement show. Speaking of basement shows, a young chap by the name of Kevin Dacey- a frequent basmenter, is in attendance tonight,  which is swell because I usually don’t see him at Boston above ground gatherings because of the ageist polices of the rock clubs :( Nonetheless, Mr. Dacey is a happy camper and he ignites some fine moshing during the Creeps’ kickass, fast rocker, “Daydreaming,” perhaps the most moshable song in the Creeps catalog. Definitely a highlight of the evening.

The first three bands were all solid as well:

The BFS are a mixture of power pop a la Gentlemen Jesse and His Men/White Wires and pop punk. Check em’ out here:

Fedavees play extended, experimental, psych pop and they’re doing a fine job. Take a gander:

Spacebums have a similar psych sound, but with more of a fun, rock ‘n’ roll, garage sensibility. Check it out:

Before and in between some of the band’s sets there were a couple of screenings of bizarre, but humorous videos from “The Gooder Life With Dr. Jesse” and “The Family Factory.” They reminded me of a cross between John Waters, Tim and Eric, and Hollywood Nailz (Hunx’s show).

Check out this Surfer video featuring the Fat Creeps’ Christmas classic “Bring Us Some Waves”

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