It seems only yesterday that William Control was rocking it here in the UK. As it turns out, yesterday equates to a little under seven months. But leaving the faded memory of Aiden behind, the Goth Godfather returned to the UK under the guise of his solo alter-ego and with it came a handful of intimate, acoustic shows.
There’s something about the closeness and informality of an acoustic set that makes it utterly charming. And in the tiny, dimly lit room upstairs in Santiagos, it set the scene for a comfortable, laid back evening. It wouldn’t have had quite the same effect in Wembley. But this atmosphere fits William Control perfectly, for all the years he has played for this country, one can only hope that this feels like a second home for him.
With the help of local talent Jason Walsh, from Leeds band Kill the Silence and secret, only announced at the last minute rockers in As Sirens Fall, the evening began on a high note. With tributes to their recently split friends in FVK, it felt like this was more than just “another show”. It felt like family and a community coming together, sharing music. Similarly with Adam Crilly from Ashestoangels, the final support act, who has a firm history being mentored by the American rocker. This show may as well have been called “William Control and friends”. To give you a real sense of how relaxed the evening was, each support act enthusiastically ran over schedule and almost half of the audience were sitting by the time the man himself graced the stage.
The room darkened, and armed with a laptop and guitar telling the world “This Machine Kills Sadness”, Control did exactly that. Opening with the track from Novus Ordo Seclorum ‘Disconnecting’, the room came to a still with the exception of people’s lips. His voice remains as powerful as ever, but this acoustic set discards all the theatrics and leaves one man with the room in the palm of his hands. Sometimes you forget in all the sweaty haze of a rock show that music can be enjoyed in many forms, and in this case, the intimacy of the evening made us all feel closer together and it was all the more enjoyable.
Jumping into his selection of wonderful cover tracks, Control began with Daniel Johnston’s ‘True Love Will Find You in the End’ before resurrecting Aiden classic ‘Moment’, much to the delight of past teen emos. At this point, Control revealed that he had been coming to the city of Leeds for ten years, which is quite a milestone on his part and it was safe to say the whole room shared in that happy moment. Continuing through his incredible set, Control covered The Smiths, Elvis and New Order before revealing that he himself was creating new music, to hopefully be released in September.
Throughout the set, Control graciously asked for song choices from the audience. Throwing back the multiple ridiculous requests for Justin Bieber, exclaiming that he is “William fucking Control”, and he had a reputation to uphold. Instead, he settled for Placebo’s ‘Meds’, which went down extremely well.
Diving into the Control classics, his vocals went through the spectrum of softer tones right through to the powerful, gritty quality in ‘Cemetery’, ‘Noir’ and ‘Soliloquy’. And the excitement built when he teased a never before heard track. With promises of returning to the UK before the year is out, it seems that Control has a busy schedule ahead of him, and we can only wait with bated breath for all these wonderful things.
Before his last song, Control invited questions from the audience. Admittedly some were more serious than others, but in a matter of minutes, we had covered his musical future, politics and joked about the hideous way Americans spell colour. It felt like we had put the world to rites, and the banter was rife on all sides. He drew his set to a close with ‘London Town’, and honestly it could not have fit any better.
This William Control article was written by Evie Myers, a GIGsoup contributor.