Shortly after the third song of their third performance, Mark Hoppus, who makes up one-half of the duo that is known as Simple Creatures, turns to his partner-in-crime, Alex Gaskarth, and says “Hey Alex! So uh, what happened with that guitar in “Adrenaline” (the second song)? Gaskarth lets out a chuckle amidst cheers from fans and laments to Hoppus, “You know I uh, about halfway through, I uh…I lost it.” They’re bantering back and forth, humorously, regarding a moment in the band’s second song where the vocalist/guitarist’s part got away from him. To be honest, I’m not sure anyone noticed. I certainly didn’t notice. Hoppus laughs and says, “You know, when most bands get together, you have about six months to maybe a year of just totally fucking sucking. Well San Francisco, you’re watching that phase of our band right now!”
While the joke may have been made in earnest, Hoppus’ statement couldn’t have been further from the truth. Simple Creatures certainly does not suck, nor do they give off any indication that they’re still getting their wings when it comes to live performances. Technical difficulties aside (even though no one could really tell if there were any), the duo is comprised of two performers who have amassed years of experience on the touring circuit, with Hoppus being one of the frontman for pop-punk mainstays Blink-182, and Gaskarth fronting All Time Low, a band that was birthed in 2003 out of the vein of bands like Blink, Green Day, and New Found Glory. They’re two of the alternative scenes best songwriters, with a track record to prove it, and when we get to see them experiment with something outside of the typical 4/4 pop-punk genre, it’s fun.
While the show was only forty minutes in length (it started right as the clock struck 9 PM), they played with the energy of an act who could have gone on for hours given the opportunity. The shortened set length is only because the duo’s debut EP, Strange Love (which released yesterday as well), clocks in at twenty minutes with just six songs. Gaskarth noted in the performance, in which two new tracks that have yet to be released were performed, that a second EP would be coming soon. But the new tracks played last night may or may not make the final cut, according to them, so it’s possible that those attending these shows on their current tour may be witnessing something truly rare. And did we mention that they actually pulled off a really solid cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”? “We argued over covering this song,” Gaskarth states before Hoppus launches headfirst into the first verse.
Giving a performance that could only be classified as an EDM stage show with an alt-pop/rock approach, the Bay Area received a proper introduction to Simple Creatures at yesterday’s Midway performance. I could only look at the stage and imagine what moments this band will produce when the venues start to move into bigger locales. While this is technically a side project, it’s entirely plausible that they could do larger-scale tours in the future as the project gains more traction and followers. But for now, I think we’ll be perfectly satisfied watching them tear up sweaty dance halls and intimate clubs with their quirky brand of what they dub “trash-pop”. Last night’s performance really felt like just an introduction, only a taste of what people can expect from a stellar project like Simple Creatures.