William Control @ Cardiff Barfly – 25/07/10

William Control - Photograph by Looking Eye Glass Photography

The night was Sunday, July the 25th, the place was Cardiff Barfly, and the band was William Control.

The room is dark, gothic in its underground cave-like setting. It is not as full as it perhaps could and should have been. Whatever the reason for this is, the amount of people that are present don’t seem to notice the lacking numbers at all, probably because they are only excited to see one man tonight.

The main support tonight are Maverikz. A notable amount of the audience look mildly unnerved when they bound onto the stage, baring their array of grins and light hearted, catchy dance beats. A Ke$ha cover of “Tik Tok” seems to go down surprisingly well, for a room with a number of teenage outcasts and goths. It warms up the crowd, and the mood lightens. By the end of their set, they do actually impress. However reluctantly, it seems this hideously happy band has been accepted into the dark little hearts of Cardiff’s William Control fans, or as the man himself labels them, his ‘friends’.

About half an hour after Maverikz exit the stage, the lights fall dark. A wave of cheers erupt from the crowd, mellowing to hushed whispers as extra-observant eyes search for any signs of the man they’ve all paid to see. The opening soundtrack consists of what sounds like 1920s dancing music, as if it was being played through an old vinyl record. Conjuring visual connotations of old fashioned, picture perfect, conservative dinner parties; it succeeds in creating an eerie atmosphere that hangs over the audience like a metaphorical mist. It is interrupted by excited screams and squeals, and is finally ripped apart completely by William Control himself as he charges onto the stage.

William Control - Photograph by Looking Eye Glass Photography

Although lingering more within the dance genre, albeit gothic dance, these live shows remain strongly reminiscent of William’s usual turbulent and energetic punk rock performances with Aiden. This show is loud, raucous and intense, just like Aiden’s. William Control interacts with the audience just as much, if not more. Bestowing delighted and excited reactions on fans by biting, grabbing and hugging his way through the crowd, William Control ensures that he ventures right into the heart of the chaos, where he is swallowed by a sea of desperately reaching hands that belong to his army of followers. Although the turn out tonight may be small, they are no less dedicated. No one could argue with that.

William Control emerges from the pit of flailing limbs immersed in both his own sweat and theirs. And he loves it. William Control lives for this. How else cold he summon this amount of passion? Whether it’s an act or not, it’s believable. Through songs from the previous album Hate Culture, such as ‘Strangers’ and ‘Razors Edge’, and newer ones from the album Noir, including ‘My Lady Dominate’ and ‘I’m Only Human Sometimes’, which he finished with, William Control is relentless in his determination to make certain that these fans to get their moneys worth. The new songs go down well and every word of the more recognised is echoed back.

William Control - Photograph by Raychel Harris

The best thing about a William Control show is the way that every song he performs pours straight out of his soul and onto the stage. He comes across as so raw and dark and so real that it should be frightening, considering the intended nature of this William Control character and alter ego. But its not, it’s easy to embrace because what he appeals to is the dirtiest, sickest, most intriguing parts of our minds. He seduces an audience, with such vulgar concepts and lyrics through his largely fast pace yet gothic styled medium of music. “Come with me to the other side, come dance with me in the dead of night” he chimes during the song, ‘All Due Restraint.’ He lures you in; he involves you in this beautiful but dark world where you are allowed to indulge.

Finally, what separates William Control from numerous live acts is the way he literally walks straight from the stage at the end of his set, and greets all of his fans individually. He seems to have all the time in the world for them, posing for photographs, signing autographs, and even just standing around chatting and making their dreams come true by doing so. He seems to have no illusions of self importance due to the fact he’s making music. He gives all he possibly can to his fans in return for their appreciation of his music. No matter what you think of the music, this is a genuinely interesting and nice human being…even if he is “only human sometimes.”

Photographs featured from Cardiff and also from the Southampton show where William Francis was kind enough to offer us guest list. Thanks again, wiL!

Raychel ‘Hellraiser’ Harris

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