Beech Creeps (Photo by Bryan Sargent)
Let me start off this review with a confession. My ears are sensitive. I like to pretend that I can handle loud music for extended periods of time, but to be honest I'm much more prone to nabbing some TP from the bathroom and crafting my own make-shift earplugs.
However, last Friday, perhaps by some mixture of my excitement to see Beech Creeps and the few Moscow Mules I had mixed myself in the office throughout the night, I chose to subject myself to the sonic experience with unprotected ears. I was not disappointed.
The Cowboys started off the show with a lively and energetic set. By the look of these guys, you wouldn't expect such a performance. There's no gimmick to their stage presence, no cumbersome aesthetics, just honest and fun delivery of simple, catchy, and surprisingly well-written songs. As Rob described, the music is something like the garage rock love-child of the Strokes and the Velvet Underground. Whatever that means, the audience was into it, as was I. And despite a minor hiccup with a guitar amp, the boys put on a great opening set.
After a short break, Beech Creeps finally took the stage. The set started immediately with industrial guitar sounds that soon burst into a wall of noise, taking the entire room captive in an overwhelming drone. After calibrating the audience to their to-be-expected volume, the band continued their set. Mark Shue and Zach Lehrhoff share guitar duties, delivering scuzzy hooks in tandem while simultaneously maintaining their own distinguishable sounds. Brian Chase holds down rhythm for the group with an element of percussive expression seldom found in noise rock, responding to the dynamic of each song with the same precision and grace as that of a seasoned jazz player. The reverberated howls of Mark and Zach's turn-taking vocal delivery serve as a guttural contextualization of the fast-paced noise. If Lemmy were in attendance (rip in peace), he would no doubt give a slow, reverent head nod. Noise rock outfits are a dime-a-dozen these days, but the Creeps are not one to be written off as another contribution to the trend. With an almost effortless degree of tact, this group has a way of synthesizing their obviously well-informed influences into a refreshing take on the genre, and their live shows are clear evidence of that.
Listen to a single off their recent full length, Revolver, below.