“It’s nice being so close to you all for a change,” grins Mark Hoppus before Simple Creatures slide into the gothic dance of ‘Adrenaline’. Tonight the band, an excuse for him and Alex Gaskarth to try something new without the weight of legacy, are playing their first ever show outside of America. It’s their fifth live outing ever.
“Normally when a band first starts out, they suck for the first year or two. Like, really suck. Welcome to that part of our band,” Mark continues. And sure, things do go wrong. Their equipment falls asleep and samplers fail to launch “but we’re so good, you don’t even notice.”
Between them, the pair have over forty years experience playing live and while Simple Creatures is a brand new adventure, they never shy away from their history. Mark and Alex know that every person in the room came because of their work in blink and All Time Low, but they stay because Simple Creatures have something to say. From the brash, lollipop charm of ‘Drug’ through the haunted regret of ‘How To Live’ to ‘Ether’s twitching escape, there’s a darkness to these strobe-lit disco romps.
It never wallows though. Every song quivers with an infectious excitement that spills out into the packed basement. Mark and Alex both seem to thrive on the new as well. There are jokes between the pair, because of course there is, as well as a brief Q+A session with the audience “What’s up with Alex’s hair,” asks one member of the audience before talk to turns “All Time Low releasing a DVD that nobody cared about.”
“That went gold. I have a gold DVD so stay your tongue. Not today Hoppus, not today,” beams Alex before Mark retorts, “My band sold 50 million records.” Despite the new ground, Simple Creatures are playful, affectionate and comfortable.
It’s during the final trio of songs that things really click into place though. From the unreleased ‘One Little Lie’ that steers into lost faith and found resolve with a buoyant hope to the arena menace of ‘Lucy’ and the twisted party dance of ‘Strange Love’, the band embrace the spotlight. “This music comes from a strange place for me, so it means a lot that you’re all here to share it,” admits Mark, sincere and humbled. “And when we come back next time, working equipment.”