Review: William Control at The Joiners, Southampton (28/04/15)

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There’s a certain time of year when a congregation of the darkly-clad, the unusual and the outcasts descend on The Joiners for a night of gothic pomp and ceremony that celebrates all that’s eerie and mysterious . They call it The Punishment Tour , and on Tuesday 28th April it rolled into town once more, lead as always by the ever-charismatic William Control and ably supported his dapper comrades Ashestoangels.

Local bands Parallaxis and Networks got the evening started off with their respective cacophonies of metallic noise, but it wasn’t until Bristolian gothic heroes Ashestoangels took the stage that the waiting crowd really let loose their hysteria. Ashestoangels are a band who have been progressing at light speed recently, they were featured in Kerrang a couple of weeks ago as one of the fore-runners of a dark-punk musical movement that the bods at Kerrang are calling ‘New Grave’. They’ve even been called ’new grave’s coolest band’ and on the strength of their Punishment tour performance, it’s an accolade that’s well deserved. Quite simply, there’s no other band that can capture the Ashestoangels experience. Their energy as a live act is unequalled, and even the occasional equipment failure didn’t stop them from flying around the stage like whirling dervishes as they slammed out catchy and heartfelt numbers like ‘Most Beautiful Things’, ‘Bury Us In Black’ and rarely heard fan favourite ‘Pirouette’, which saw frontman Crilly take a rare break from inciting carnage and shredding his own shirt to play the guitar.  Overall, it was another excellent set from a very talented young band, who quite clearly gave everything to their performance.

William Control and his immaculately suited and booted band are a very different proposition to Ashestoangels, more of a carefully controlled explosion than a full aural grenade, but they’re no less impressive to watch. They kicked off their performance with a thunderous rendition of ‘Adore (Fall In Love Forever)’ which immediately elicited delirious screams of joy from the crowd and established William Control as more of a mysterious ringmaster than a real man. With each slick electronic number that he sung, his band became more and more animated; the audience became more hysterical but Mr Control himself remained charismatic and enigmatic throughout. The combination of his commanding presence, the sinister lighting and songs with titles like ‘The Velvet Warms and Binds’, ‘My Lady Dominate’ and ‘All Due Restraint’  left the Joiners feeling more like a sweaty bordello than the sticky floored venue we’ve all come to know and love. The evening’s sexual, fetish-y themes even extended all the way to the merch table, where discerning ladies could purchase underwear with William Control’s logo emblazoned across the backside, along with either the words ‘Dominate’, ‘Submit’ or ‘Yes Sir’.  Overall, it might not have been the sort of show you’d want to take your grandmother too, but the second instalment of the punishment tour was energetic, exciting and just downright good fun. Not good clean fun mind, but a lot of fun all the same.

Photo by Heather Ghanouni Photography.

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