Last Night: Creed at Bayou Music Center

Creed 1 may 1.JPG
Photos by Marc Brubaker
Creed
Bayou Music Center
April 30, 2012

Villains are infinitely more interesting than heroes, and have way better origin tales. All human mythology features roguish baddies, who are actually more engaging than their lily-hearted counterparts. Kids of all ages dress up like Darth Vader and the Joker for Halloween.

There is a whole Broadway show based on the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West, and nine times out of ten, magazine covers about Kardashians and serial killers outsell those with benign characters on them.

Creed has been Public Musical Enemy No. 1 for about a decade now -- the villains, if you will, to music fans who will tell you they suck -- and the only reason they will give is that it is because they suck. It's a curious phenomenon. These guys are now firmly installed as villains to a select group of people, as if they are audio terrorists of some sort who are out to destroy "good" music.

Monday night, I didn't see them burn any Of Montreal albums or Win Butler in effigy, though.

I will concede I am in the minority here in defending Creed, mainly because it gets really old hating something to fit in, and it makes some of you very angry. But my intentions aren't to be a contrarian for contrariness' sake. I legitimately like the group's singles because they are catchy, big and dumb, like all good rock and roll should be.

If you want to read a more winded and measured review of a Creed and Nickelback double-header, check out Chuck Klosterman's recent Grantland piece here.

It made me feel slightly less crazy for being in my position on Monday night. But I had done this before with different results.

Creed 2 may 1.JPG
If you push the haters, they will finally point out, with some prodding and profanity, that the stage show, lead singer Scott Stapp's measured vocal and physical mannerisms, and the overall overwrought tone of Creed's music are what bothers them. But let's consider that all of those things are no more rote than with most any other group with plastered street cred running these days but that's okay, "because it just is."

All this seems to be based on a Generation X edict, which went out sometime in the '90s, that rock was this earnest thing and that to be still flashy was somehow something to be maligned. I have seen Eddie Vedder -- who I still adore -- do the same things Stapp did onstage last night, just two or three years ago, and he was doing them 15 years before that.

Dial up a Jim Morrison clip on YouTube right now, I'll wait. There's the double standard again. Nothing is new, everything is recycled and nostalgia is a permanent feeling.

But that's what makes being a student of pop music interesting, seeing different versions of the same thing. Even when Stapp pointed at the crowd like Patrick Bateman screwing the hooker in American Psycho, you had to laugh.

Maybe he was doing it on purpose. You don't want to know that he knows that you think he's more serious than he actually is.

As for artistic delusions, well, here is the link to Pitchfork if you think that Creed is the only delusional group in rock history.

Creed is performing their first two albums, 1997's My Own Prison and 1999's Human Clay, over two consecutive nights. Monday night, the group played all of Prison, plus a handful of cuts from other albums.

I spent the first three songs near the photo pit in front of the stage watching the band. Strange to be so close to something so many people hate, while thousands of people roared behind me.


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Bayou Music Center

520 Texas Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Music

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Creed

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40 comments
Pam Morton
Pam Morton

Creed ROCKS!! I went to both shows and I saw them as never before. Scott's vocals, the band members movements on the stage and the killer light show was undescribable. The whole show was balanced just right between the vocals, lighting and instruments. Scott sounded amazing! I met new and old fans. Rock on CreedNation! This is going to be great tour. 

MASSMURDERMEDIA
MASSMURDERMEDIA

when considering a band's merits i ask myself how would the musical landscape sound if a particular band were removed from existence...  beatles, stones, floyd, zeppelin, for example, are no brainers, there would be a definite void as they've made some great records... 

then there's bands who make shitty records, such as kiss, nugent, ozzy or motley crue, that would still be missed do to their impacting society by transcending music...  bands such as creed and nickleback are so unoriginal, derivative and devoid of any creative edge they would not be missed...  if that's what you dig, fine, but bringing nothing new to the table is a bore and a waste of my time...  in fact, they all owe us huge apologies for issuing their back catalogs...

i would throw the exalted and mightily worshiped stevie ray vaughn into this latter category...  he had technical skills but zero imagination...  i'll take the simple, yet rockin' riffs of rl burnside any day...     

jerry2968_97
jerry2968_97

I like Creed too and I also like Alter Bridge the band the spawned out of the Scott Stapp breakup. Tremonti is one of the most underrated guitar players out there and his harmonies are what made a lot of those songs such massive hits.

rob
rob

Nothing good ever came out of Florida (except skynyrd).

Jim
Jim

I dig Creed! They put on one hell of a live show. One of the better concerts that I have been to. Tremonti is a killer guitarist and Stapp writes great lyrics. I prefer the heavier Creed songs over the few songs that became massive hits. Good to see them back and I look forward to hearing the new album.

Jim
Jim

I dig Creed! They put on one hell of a live show. One of the better concerts that I have been to. Tremonti is a killer guitarist and Stapp writes great lyrics. I prefer the heavier Creed songs over the few songs that became massive hits. Good to see them back and I look forward to hearing the new album.

Jim
Jim

I dig Creed!  They put on one hell of a live show.  One of the better concerts that I have been to.  Tremonti is a killer guitarist and Stapp writes great lyrics. I prefer the heavier Creed songs over the few songs that became massive hits. Good to see them back and I look forward to hearing the new album.

kendall reed
kendall reed

I never got the pj issues because that was not my generation. Seems to me pj fans could find better things to do with time then go after bands they feel sound alike. What I always find most interesting is how hard "haters" try to go after this band and it's members. I mean there are plenty of bands and people I do not like and they never even cross my mind, let alone do I take time in my day to go around making sure everyone knows I dislike them. I would never go after the band members or the bands I do not like. It's the part of this that is most strange. I just think that boarders on evil. I mean stating "naw I don't like that band" is one thing but the extent that some people go even today to pick this particular band apart is just well, like defamation. Also ironic is how many of these "haters" really don't even know Creeds songs aside from the mass played radio hits. Those songs are not who Creed is on all of their albums.  And Creed are like grown men today with families and yet they are judged as if these "haters" are stuck in the 90's and are clueless to the fact they are not those same men or musicians today. It's 2012 perhaps people who so earnestly put out there personal hate on something need to exam why Creed is even taking up space in their brain. Move on already, most of these "haters" have spent over a decade trashing this band and for me I just think there is something very weird about that.

Big Frieda's Bouncy Butt
Big Frieda's Bouncy Butt

Damnit Craig, have you ever tried writing a review that isn't primarily about you? We get it - you like Insane Clown Posse and consider yourself a "wildman" rock journalist and contrarian along the Lester Bangs line. After all, you find ways to mention it in pretty much every article you've ever written. At the end of the day, I don't care how contrary or open-minded you consider yourself as a music lover, what kind of maybe-ironic participation you involve yourself in or whatever half-ass justification you want to throw out there to explain why you kinda like the dudebros (I'd rather have them in a foxhole as well, so they can be more effectively fragged).

You're a solid writer and you mostly pick really cool shit to write about, I just wish you'd do it in a way that didn't involve making yourself the center of every story. 

PS - Creed sucks because their songs are unoriginal, generic and forgettable. 

Wootenanny
Wootenanny

You know it's a good review when comments start to exceed 400 words.

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

When did being a fan of music turn into politics? Where we like what pisses off the other guy as much as or more than what simply appeals to us?

Why do we have to slander each other like politicians do? "You only like indie rock because you're pretentious and trying to appear smart." To see the backlash, you'd think nobody actually enjoyed the music they listen to. You'd think everyone is only thinking of what everyone else thinks of them and tailoring their tastes accordingly.

People aren't allowed to dislike Creed because we genuinely do find their practiced mannerisms to be more rote and rehearsed and fake than other bands. Or because we genuinely do find their music to be derivitive and simplistic and bland and lowest-common-denominator pandering. Or because we've watched videos of Stapp performing, and videos of Eddie Vedder performing and we truly do see a huge difference in showmanship and sincerity. Or because in interviews we've seen, Vedder comes across as clever, creative, and sincere, and Stapp seems dumb as a brick. No, we're just hating Creed to fit in. We all secretly liked their singles in high school, right?

Maybe we didn't. Maybe Creed was one of the first bands that made us truly give up on mainstream radio. Maybe hearing My Own Prison on the Buzz for the first time was genuinely one of the songs that made us turn it off and never turn it back on again.

Maybe we genuinely don't agree that all good rock and roll has to be big, catchy, and dumb. Maybe we genuinely like to listen to rock and roll that is subtle, nuanced, and intelligent. Or rock and roll that is primal, unpolished, and ferocious. Or any number of things that have nothing whatsoever to do with big, dumb, or catchy. Good rock and roll CAN adhere to those adjectives, sure. But I will tell you this: some of my favorite bands are catchy, but none of them are big or dumb. Not a one.

It's getting to be like Christians vs. non-believers. "The only reason you don't believe in God is because you're angry about something and you're being petulant." "Yeah, well, the only reason you believe in God is because you're dumb and you don't think." We can never discuss this without straw-manning each other. The fact is, people legitimately believe in God because they simply have faith. And people legitimately don't believe in God because they simply see no reason to. Why is this so hard to grasp? Why are we so intent on villainizing each other?

I understand that it's frustrating when people dismiss bands that are really good and also happen to rock because the in thing right now tends to be more gentle, melodic, twee acts. I would much rather listen to Queens of the Stone Age than Broken Social Scene. But why would I have to assume that fans of Broken Social Scene only like them because of some artificial hipper-than-thou persona they're trying to construct? Wouldn't it piss me off if they assumed I only like Queens of the Stone Age because I'm some power-chord loving meathead? Why can't we just like what we like and not accuse people of things?

There are lots of different reasons to like Creed. Some of them are sad - not exposed to enough good music, for example - but most of them are just human. A love of big, dumb, catchy rock and roll. A nostalgia for the mid-late nineties. A genuine appreciation for the traditional song structure. Plenty of valid reasons. Why can't the reasons people have for disliking them and liking other bands be just as valid? When did an appreciation of artistry, care, and intelligence become de facto snobbery? How come we can't like music that's more complex or more confrontational without being branded as hipster scum?

You say you're not being contrarian... but most of this review is about how you genuinely enjoy Creed and everyone who doesn't is an asshole. You only barely mention what they actually sounded like and what you found to be great about the show. What is that, if not contrarianism?

I'm a big fan of yours, Craiggers, but I can't see something I love - music - being mistreated and not say something. I hope you understand.

TL;DR - I disagree. Creed blows, but if you like them, that's fine. Let's all just like what we like and stop accusing each other of being fake.

KING
KING

That second photo on page two, though.

Ramon LP4 Medina
Ramon LP4 Medina

"Nothing is new everything is recycled." Well true but when someone like I dunno Dylan borrows from folks like Woody Guthrie, Metallica swipes ideas from bands like Motorhead, The Byrds snag ideas from Coletrane, Apples In Stereo riff off of ELO, and so on.. they put their own stamp on it in a manner that feels like more than just a bad copy.   Creed's issue is that they sound like some 13 year old kid trying to do Pearl Jam and not very well.  If you hear a band and all you can think of is "I've heard this done better,"  that is not good.  Creed is just that - a bad 5th rate Pearl Jam that got lucky in the 90s. 

Now, that would be a fine and dandy “whatever” if the lead singer wasn't such an ass and Stamp’s personae is nothing short of painful.  OK, you point out Jim Morrison as an excuse for this but I for one laughed my ass off when I heard "The End" the first time so that doesn’t fly with me as I find the absorbed artist personae of Morrison to be at best tedious even though I will grant the band a few good songs. 

Here is the deal, sure, you can be an self-absorbed ass all you want and get away with it if the music behind you is solid enough.  Bono may suck but at least U2 knocked out a string of great albums along the way.  Sting may be even more of an ass but The Police knocked out some great ones as well.  And hell, take Rick Ross – who is a total fraud - but at least he kicks out fun and trashy stuff or even Insane Clown Posse who are kind of the reverse of all this in that their music is awful but they are at least interesting.  Stamp is neither interesting nor is his band's middling rock. 

So why the hate if Creed is boring? Here it is in a nutshell.  Most people expect the cream to rise to the top but sometimes, instead of cream, there's a big, fat, steamy turd floating there and despite this, people love it and tell you, "Man, this is great.  It’s so flavorful and rich!"  No sorry; it’s not. That's a turd floating in your coffee. 

That turd is called Creed.

H_e_x
H_e_x

"Simply put, I would rather be where the cool kids aren't."I have to submit this to Hipster Runoff.

Wyatt
Wyatt

 and Gram Parsons

Kelly Ann
Kelly Ann

I know people who always said they didn't like them until they went to a Creed concert for some reason and left saying they put on an amazing live concert.  They also said Stapp's voice live was so powerful.

Jim
Jim

Kendall,

I agree! It's disturbing to see that ugly side in humanity. 

Ramon LP4 Medina
Ramon LP4 Medina

If it makes you feel any better Kendall, I can say one good thing about Creed; "At least they aren't Nickelback." 

H_e_x
H_e_x

Nice try deflecting legitimate criticism about Creed.

Christina Lynn Hildebrand
Christina Lynn Hildebrand

I personally dont see why people have to spend time and energy hating on something as far as music goes. If you dont like it then you don't have to buy it.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Quick, someone get Stapp some metamucil!

Pam Morton
Pam Morton

all I can say is, respect others. That's fine if you don't care for Creed. But for the ones of us that do, and there's thousands of us out here, keep it to youself. Rock on CreedNation!  

Mike
Mike

Let's be honest about ourselves though. Creed is a bad Pearl Jam rip off for sure. But LP4 is just as bad a Soundgarden rip off. 

rob
rob

Good call. Totally forgot Gram. The town was named he was from was named after his grandfather and they practically owned the town.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Napalming villages reveals the ugly side of humanity. Criticizing Creed reveals a modicum of taste. 

Ramon LP4 Medina
Ramon LP4 Medina

Ha Ha. Maybe you read the wrong article Pam.  Your comment would be fine normally but  the article accused people who didn't care for the band of being snobs.  Craig is obviously trying to provoke a little debate by using that as a basic premise and he spends the whole first section of this review on attacking the critics of the band instead of discussing the show.  Come to think of it, I know more about what Craig thinks about the people who abhor Creed than how he felt about the performance.  So, really what kind of response were you expecting? 

Look, Craig basically engaged people in a game of punchies and we obliged him.  He's a smartass (and I mean that as a compliment) and he has a thick skin and so do we - we may get a little bruised and all but we laugh it off and move on (well at least until you get an e-mail telling us that we have a response to our comment).    Anyhow, in the end, it's all silly and it's just a matter of taste so don't get all srrrrrious.  ;)

Ramon LP4 Medina
Ramon LP4 Medina

Hmmm, having never been into Soundgarden and never bothered to even buy a record much less listen one, I doubt that very much.  Now stealing from Black Sabbath, Mudhoney, the Party Owls, Budgie, Bevis Frond, Hawkwind, Sonic Youth, Otis Redding, the 'Mats, Bauhaus, Pink Floyd, Robert Fripp, Black Flag, ... well fuck, I think the point is we've copped from right about near everyone BUT Soundgarden.

So I'll give you -15 HP on accuracy but you do roll a nice saving throw on funny.  ;)    

Kelly Ann
Kelly Ann

That is so true!  It's like there is some motive behind these sort of people.  They act consumed with the need to do this. I mean what that girl Kendall said is true.  Why is something you don't like even taking up time in your brain.  It's so odd!

Wyatt
Wyatt

 p.s. I give no fucks about Creed either way

Wyatt
Wyatt

 So wait, you don't understand negative reviews of albums or movies? Because that's essentially what well-thought-out negative comments are, albeit in a more democratic form. You think people should take a "if you can't say anything nice" attitude toward expressing their opinions on creative pursuits? That kind of declaws critical looks at art, don't you think? Or are only those who are given official platforms on which to express themselves allowed to say negative things?

H_e_x
H_e_x

That is not only a pathetic response to any criticism, it is also a pathetic way to try to seem above it all. If spending 2-4 minutes writing all these comments over the course of a few days is an indication of too much free time, then I bett start building a ship in a bottle.Not, I could easily say that by even bothering to comment about comments, you are also wasting you time. At the very least, you are engaging in logical fallacies by attempting to deflect all criticism under the guise of wasting time, as if you have any investment in how people spend a few minutes a day.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Offering up criticism does not indicate too much free time on ones hands. I believe that would be a logical fallacy.

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

 I believe that holding artists to a high standard is both productive and constructive. I praise artists I like. Why would I not also criticize artists I dislike? Two sides of the coin. And it really hasn't interfered with my productiveness, or lack thereof, either way. Honestly if I wasn't typing this right now I'd probably be playing Xbox.

Marc Brubaker
Marc Brubaker

It's clearly an vehement assault on everything you love.

Seriously, on a grand scale it doesn't matter at all. He's not advocating hate, which is where I would consider it malignant. This is a band that isn't attacking you in any active way. You could conceivably argue that bands like this take up radio airwaves, but that doesn't matter because you're choosing to listen to the radio in that instance, when other options are available. Why should anyone care?

I just don't understand people attacking something instead of doing something productive or constructive.

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

Whether or not it's benign is a matter of opinion. True, Scott Stapp isn't gassing people to death or bankrupting the country, but he's a giant stain on something a lot of people care about very much and indicative of a much larger problem.

Marc Brubaker
Marc Brubaker

Ugly might be an overstatement, but going out of your way to pick apart some (mostly) benign thing that you dislike for the sake of argument reveals someone with too much time on their hands. Time that could be spent creating or collaborating instead of competing and criticizing.

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