"We're Getting Sued!" Party House of Creeps/The Doctor's Office August 17, 2013
The Houston House of Creeps never set out to be a landlord's worst nightmare. When the dedicated roommates/DIY collective began hosting house shows at their old address on Carrollton Street three years ago, all they wanted to do was host a few local and touring bands that couldn't find a stage anywhere else in town. Trouble was, they were a little too good at it.
After seeing the size of the crowds the Creeps were drawing to their not-quite-weekly parties a couple years back, their former landlord freaked out and evicted them. Being given the boot wasn't much of a setback, all things considered: A bigger, better House on William Street was located in short order, which has been regularly showcasing live music and beer-soaked debauchery ever since.
The move could end up being a costly one, however. Their old landlord is suing the original Creeps (several roomies have come and gone over the years) for around $10,000 in rent and damages -- no small sum for a bunch of DIY types.
Figuring that a giant party got them into this mess, the HHOC crew decided that more of the same might help get them out of it. So on Saturday night, they put together a big blowout featuring more than a dozen bands across two stages in order to raise a little money to fight the suit in court. But would the budding Creepster Army step up?
And how! When I arrived at the downtown apartment/performance space a little after 9 p.m., there were already more than 100 people milling around outside, smoking, drinking, laughing and talking. There was a buzz in the air that we might have all stumbled onto the party of the summer, if not the year. I didn't see, hear or smell anything on Saturday night to dissuade me of that notion, either.
To say that the inside of the House was crowded would be a understatement. There is no stage inside the HHOC, just a living room with no furniture that holds about 50 people if they're being polite. At least that many sweaty music fans packed in inches away from Valens as the local trio pumped out a punky brand of emo at ear-splitting volume. Smiles, hugs and high-fives abounded as a steady stream of partygoers pushed through the crush to get to the kegs in the kitchen, then back outside to smoke.
As with any good house party, the real action and conversation went on outdoors. The vibe out front was friendly and open, with old friends bumming lighters and smokes from new friends as the crowd swelled into the street. As the night wore on, a few Texans and Dynamo jerseys turned up, with the hometown teams' victories only adding to the celebratory mood. By midnight, there must have been at least 200 people hanging out in the street -- well more than could fit indoors.
Those chatting it up outside were missing some good stuff. Popcore trio Mother Ghost slayed the room with potent tunes like "Catharina," and the rollicking indie psych quartet RIVERS sent the mostly soused crowd into hysterics with a faceful of rock n' soul. It was hard to tell at times who was having more fun, the bands or the partiers. Packed into such intimate environs, the line between the two couldn't help but blur.
I confess that my vision had begun to blur a bit, as well, as I made my way down the street and around the corner to the Doctor's Office, another DIY venue in close spiritual communion with the House of Creeps that was happy to lend a hand in their brethren's hour of need.
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There, I walked straight into the flailing assault of the Portland hardcore threesome Sloths, whose metallic punch hit a damn sight harder than anything I saw over at the Creeps' on Saturday. The crowd was smaller over there, but Sloths bassist Alec van Staveren took advantage of the modicum of extra space by ramming his body into the crowd repeatedly. Folks seemed to like that quite a bit.
As the clock crept toward 2 a.m., things showed few signs of slowing down. Loud, happy people were still spilling into the street, guzzling beers and yakking it up on any number of scintillating topics. As I waited for a cab, I couldn't help but feel relieved that somebody else would be cleaning up after all of them.
Sunday, I checked in with O.G. Creepster Scott Doyle, who confirmed that the night had been a resounding success. HHOC met their financial goal for the evening, earning enough to pay their lawyer fees. They even sold out of T-shirts.
Good news for the Creeps. Better news for local live music fans. Having put on possibly their biggest and best event yet without a single complaint, the ambitions (and expectations) for Houston's premiere DIY showcase can only grow from here.
Personal Bias: First Creepshow.
The Crowd: Freaky and friendly.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Aluminum siding! Don't forget!"
Random Notebook Dump: Not sure how they're getting away with this, exactly, but I'm glad that they are.
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