Photo by ALEX PATERSON-JAMES
The narrow collection of artists in my playlists that I have relied upon to get me through the last few months has grown so stale and tired that I almost want to walk in headphone-less silence on my way to work every morning. Almost. But then I remembered my sister’s mention to me last month of a band she told me “was weird as fuck, but your kind of thing.” The group in question was Cherry Glazerr. So after seeing the name pop up on the web after the band’s release of their third studio album Stuffed & Ready two weeks ago, I dove into their discography, immediately falling in love with their simultaneously synthy and sludgy version of post-punk-grunge-pop-metal-rock.
Last night, walking solo through Philly with trashily torn fishnets and eyes shrouded in deep black eyeliner, I found my way back to the familiar basement of First Unitarian on Valentine’s Day to witness this hybrid rock power of frontwoman Clementine Creevy in person. Following an unbelievably excellent set from the drum machine-based minimalism of opening act Sneaks, Creevy and her two other bandmates took the stage, along with a big inflatable pair of cherries standing tall at the center back. Still on a high from the prior set, the crowd broke into dancing with the first notes of Cherry Glazerr’s opening song, “Ohio,” screaming along by the end with the repetition of the words “Just take me away.”
Set up behind the band was a blank white canvas onto which a projector displayed videos of rotating cherries, endlessly outstretched guitar necks, vibrating constellations, walls of fire, streaks of blood, and the kinds of creepy inhuman figures that appear in Cherry Glazerr’s music video for “Daddi.” Looking out from under the hood of a black sweatshirt, Creevy smiled wickedly over the room, propelling fans into the inevitable mosh pit with a setlist that included Stuffed & Ready’s “That’s Not My Real Life,” “Wasted Nun,” and “Stupid Fish,” each bringing an unwieldy Black Sabbath-esque guitar solo from Creevy.
After playing “Nurse Ratched,” a song off of 2017’s Apocalipstick with a perfect scream-along chorus, Creevy took off her hoodie to reveal a long sheer floral dress and a choppy mullet of bleached blonde hair. She whipped around with her guitar all across the stage, flashing a toothy smile every time she took off into a new solo that made her look not so unlike the lone wolf of “Told You I’d Be With the Guys.” Despite this make-no-apologies punk energy that Cherry Glazerr unleashed into that basement, they also managed to intersperse it with a few introspective moments – most notably when Creevy admitted that her favorite song to play right now is “Self-Explained,” a track that discusses feeling a vague shame about spending excessive amounts of time alone.
Nonetheless, by the end of Cherry Glazerr’s set the room was electric, fans gyrating in a sweaty mosh pit ignited by a rip-roaring sequence of “Daddi,” “Stupid Fish,” “Apocalipstick,” and “Sip O’ Poison.” This deep plunge into the group’s most sinister nu metal songs sent Creevy into her own sort of frenzy, that ended with a dive into the mosh pit herself before ending the main set. But with the room on the verge of a riot, the band didn’t keep the crowd waiting long for a two-song encore that included a cover of LCD Soundsystem’s pulsing techno song “Time to Get Away,” and an untamable rendition of “Told You I’d Be With the Guys.”
During the latter, the room lost control, moving together in dripping sweat with eyes glued to their fearless blonde leader in a hypnosis that was magically captivating to behold, and even harder to resist. While I spent the daylight hours partaking in the rosy exchanges of chocolate and smiles with my other single friends, what I really wanted, and needed, was this heavy dose of glittering goth after dark. Because while many of my friends spent the week prior to Valentine’s Day swiping for a random date, I craved the thrill of being a lone wolf. — SOPHIE BURKHOLDER