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Concert Review: Creeping Charlie

Zach Spindler-Krage
Creeping Charlie performed in Gardner Lounge on Friday, March 1.

One of my favorite parts of attending this College has been attending its concerts. I joined the Student Government Association Concerts Committee immediately when I came to campus, excited to be active in the music scene that has brought such huge names in the past. 

I have since been disappointed that outside artists have not been able to play at all this year, and sparsely last year, in comparison to how the music scene at Grinnell had functioned pre-pandemic. So, when the Committee announced the first show of the year last week, I was stoked — yet, at the same time, terrified that it wouldn’t go well. Now, I can say that my fears were not fulfilled because Creeping Charlie made its crowd dance, mosh and mesh in Gardner Lounge. 

Creeping Charlie brought exactly what I wanted for a return of Concerts — energy and connection. Sometimes, I find that outside artists can be perhaps a little pretentious when playing at colleges, but true musicians will take control of any room, whether that be a crowd of five students or five hundred die-hard fans. I thus appreciated that the Minnesota band interacted with the attendees in addition to playing their instruments well. One of the highlights for the College crowd was how the band members, led by Julia Eubanks, asked which bar spot would be better for a game of pool — Rabbitt’s Tavern or Grinnell Pub — in between songs, even polling the crowd at one point via level of applause for each spot. For me, this connection with those attending is absolutely a part of a performance. It’s not just about how perfectly you pluck a guitar or how in time you drum.

Julia Eubanks commands the crowd from the stage of Gardner Lounge. (Zach Spindler-Krage)

Eubanks’ crew did not only succeed because of audience connection, though. The three-piece band got its crowd moving with each song, ascending their opening band’s level of energy and really proving that they were the headliners. The songs they played, such as “capricorn” and “GTFO,” had rhythms just upbeat enough to satisfy a Grinnell indie rock concertgoer’s needs without intimidating the general crowd. 

Before an artist does come to Grinnell, I, like I assume most do, check them out on Spotify to see what’s in store for the show. Creeping Charlie’s bio instructs you to “be prepared to both cry and get sucked into a mosh pit at their shows.” Though their concert in Gardner was more than enjoyable, I would call this an exaggeration — the pit never escalated to a full-out mosh, and their songs did not make me, nor I assume most people, emotional, even when they played a ballad. Their tunes with slower tempos only made me want a return of faster, more exciting ones. 

For me, this connection with those attending is absolutely a part of a performance. It’s not just about how perfectly you pluck a guitar or how in time you drum.

— Krista Spies `24

With that said, on a musical level, the drumming and guitar instrumentations stood out to me the most. Julia Eubanks’ interesting guitar licks and Jack Malone’s surprising beat patterns kept me excited and into the moment. I think it’s important to note here that this lineup of Eubanks on vocals and guitar, Malone on drums and Cole Benson on bass guitar is not the band’s typical. Creeping Charlie usually involves Julia’s sister Esmé on bass. However, the different arrangement for the March 1 Gardner concert did not make my experience of the band feel like something was off, although the bass playing did not stand out much at all to me. Overall, the group performed well and sounded better live than what I had heard from their recordings in my opinion, which is my typical take after most concerts. 

On the topic of Creeping Charlie’s streaming presence, Julia Eubanks’ breathy indie vocals fit for the recorded songs on Spotify, but hearing them live in the concert setting, amidst fast-past instrumentation and an energetic basement crowd, felt confusing. I guess I wanted something rougher and louder to pair. Nevertheless, I believe she and her two co-performers held great stage presence and made for a night true to Grinnell Concerts’ legacy.

Correction 3/12/24 3:05 PM – This story was updated to reflect that Harry Miles is no longer a member of Creeping Charlie.

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About the Contributors
Krista Spies
Krista Spies, Arts Editor
Krista Spies is a fourth-year English and Spanish major from St. Louis, MO. She loves writing about the arts almost as much as getting tattooed, and she hopes to turn going to concerts into a full-time job.
Zach Spindler-Krage
Zach Spindler-Krage, News Editor
Zach Spindler-Krage is a third-year political science major and policy studies concentrator. He is from Rochester, Minnesota and has an unbelievable amount of state pride. Zach spends his time hiking, playing and listening to music, trying to submit op-eds for every class writing assignment, and wishing he was in Minnesota.
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