Some time ago, I started noticing shows at something called "House of Creeps" way down off Old Spanish Trail, which couldn't help but pique my curiosity. It eventually moved to a location across the street from Last Concert Cafe, and Saturday House of Creeps hosted its first-ever Creeperfest, promising dozens of bands and bottomless free beer.
House of Creeps proper is exactly that, a house, with a very nice tiger-printed rug on the carpet and a large jacuzzi in the kitchen area. Some very funny signs were posted on the walls Saturday, such as "Go Do Drugs In Your Car," and someone was projecting movies like Forrest Gump on the building next door.
The house is part of a compound that includes some loft apartments and rehearsal spaces made from a converted warehouse. There was a stage in one of the practice spaces, occupied by local band the Ballistics (who were scheduled to play much much later), and a half-pipe in the back. Before the bands started playing, they screened a documentary about the departed Memphis punk rocker Jay Reatard, a Creeperfest kindred spirit if there ever were one.
I got there around 4 p.m., in time for a modest home-brewing demonstration and to take a walking tour of that bizarre industrial/bohemian neighborhood, were art galleries are down the block from janitorial-services companies.
When most people started arriving and the music finally started around 6 p.m., it reminded me of the 21st St. Co-Op, an apartment-like building a few blocks west of UT-Austin where I lived for a few semesters in the mid-'90s. (That was 15 years ago... fuck.) We called it "The Treehouse," and used to have parties at 21st St. that lasted until dawn, or into the next day if there was any beer left over.
Around the corner on Nance St. lay a rustic patio/beer garden where you could hear the metallic plank of acoustic guitar strings on the "folk stage." Creeperfest also spread down the other end of to J.D.'s Sports Bar, where I caught the very intense, mathematical sounds of new local band Sunrise & Ammunition. The last band I saw Saturday were more relative newcomers, the noble Knights of the Fire Kingdom, who gave no quarter on the tiger rug as Ren & Stimpy cartoons played behind them.
A Creeperfest insider -- aka someone working there who also happens to work here -- said they were still figuring up the numbers, but estimated around 550 to 600 people came through in all and floated 12 kegs until the party finally broke up around 5 a.m. They only had to kick one person out, she added.
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Welcome to the neighborhood, Creeperfest.