SAN FRANCISCO — Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth debuted their new group, Simple Creatures, Friday at The Midway in one of just a handful of shows nationwide. And while fans of the two bands might have come to expect a pop-punk collaboration from the two bands best known for the genre, Simple Creatures went in a different direction as they played songs from their debut EP, Strange Love, exploring more electronic and poppier sounds.
Although Hoppus joked how the duo has struggled over its first months together, the cohesion between both musicians was impressive and the two sounded like they’ve been playing together for a long time.
The synth-infused duo clearly had no desire to limit itself from the moment Hoppus and Gaskarth started the show with the catchy “nah-nah” vocals of “Drugs.” The singers harmonized, blending the programmed beats with fuzzy chugging guitars. The show continued with “Adrenaline,” Simple Creatures’ most punk-influenced song. The energetic tune had an easier to follow structure of a bass line over guitar chords, high-pitched chorus and quick pace.
Ballad “How To Live” followed and incorporated some mellow rapped singing and plenty of synths. This song showed how Hoppus and Gaskarth are exploring new sounds with dirty guitars, synthesizers and electronic drums with ambient sounds and digital compressors. Unreleased track ”NVM” and a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” which the duo acknowledged as an influence, followed.
On the more ambient, synth-driven “Ether,” Hoppus sang lead vocals before the two harmonized over some chillwave and downtempo drum trip-hop. Simple Creatures followed with another unreleased song, “One Little Lie,” before concluding with synth-pop track “Lucy” and mellower summer anthem “Strange Love.”