Burt’s Tiki Lounge

I arrived at the dark dank spot on State Street known as Burt’s Tiki Lounge early to make sure I got a good spot that offered a choice line of sight of the so-called stage. I snagged myself a chair (my body and that of an 80 year old man are one in the same) then proceeded to check out the merch booth behind me.  The normal crowd of gutter punks were perched at the bar nursing their hang over from the weekend. Unlike the carefree kids at the bar I had to be to work the next morning so I had only had water to wet my whistle.

Having an ultra, mega, schoolyard crush on the current Creepshow lead singer Sara “Sin” Blackwood (little sister of the original lead Jen “Hell Cat” Blackwood), I couldn’t wait to see her hit that stage. This was to be the second time The Creepshow graced the salty city with their presence,  the fist show being in support of their first album Sell Your Soul in ’07, also at Burt’s, witch I happened to do some street team stuff for. I ended up not making it down in time to see the set so this time around I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of seeing these cats live.

The opening band The Atom Age Vampyres sounded like a throwback Misfits tribute band on heroin. Their front man was a skinny, tank-topped guy with full on white face and they had a mean female drummer that looked like she could kick some ass. The stage presence of The Atom Age Vampyres was about as dead as the songs about the undead they were playing, and the crowd’s reaction led me to believe that they were as unimpressed as I was.

Nothing really to write home about except for their vintage horror punk sound and a cover of The Misfits’ “I Turned into a Martian” they played near the end of the set. The only claps and cheers from the crowd came when they stop playing.  Firm C+ in my book—turn up those vocals guys.

The Creepshow started to set up and the sound check began. With my standards set high for the looming set I couldn’t wait for the first song to start. The band all seemed ready and willing to impress Salt Lake. The tiny Miss Sin was walking from the merch booth to the stage and back and I was contemplating whether I should put her in my pocket now or wait tell they played. Instead I fanboyed out and had the whole band sign my freshly purchased LP of Run For Your Life (out now on Hellcat Records).

The set opened up just like the record with an old timey radio broadcast intro to “Rue Morgue Radio.” Despite Burt’s poor track record with sound quality, The Creepshow broke through like a Mac Truck. It’s a rarity for a band to sound almost the same live as they do on the album.

Unlike the openers, The Creepshow’s stage presence was through the roof and the crowd was shaking like it was a sock hop in the ‘50s—I think I even saw a dude in a motorized wheelchair get up and move about. They interacted with everyone with the ease and grace as if they were playing in a basement full of friends, playing the “I know game” with all of us, and cracking jokes. That was only 5 songs into the set! The joint was at full throttle by now and the booze mast have been kicking in because everyone was singing along and dancing to each beat.

The front woman was even able to keep us entertained while she dealt with and changed a broken string. I can’t think of one song off of both their releases that wasn’t played that night. The band attempted to close out the show with a slow number off their first album titled “The Garden” and this got everyone slow dancing. No, really: people actually paired up and began to slow dance like it was a Jr. High homecoming.

Let’s see another band that can make a crowd go from a pit to gently embrace and slowly move to the music.  They actually ended the show with not one but two (the crowd just wasn’t happy with one encore) of the best early punk cover anyone could cover. The first encore was The Ramones’ “Pet Sematary”—no more slow dancing, now everyone was back to moving. After taking off their instruments and being ready to end their night in Salt Lake once and for all (for the third time), we still wanted one last song. Oh, did we ever get that song—one of my personal favorites: The Misfits’ “Halloween.”

After seeing one of my favorite Canadian horrorbilly band (yeah there is more than one) and hearing pretty much every song I wanted to then meeting the band, my night was over.  I sure hope The Creepshow doesn’t wait three year before coming back again.