Live: William Control, Think Tank, Newcastle

Photo by Rachel Ward

It’s been a busy old year for Mr Control. At the beginning of 2016 he retired his band Aiden, after supporting Black Veil Brides with said band, launched a new clothing line, fought for the right to his first two solo records, and even recording new material. So how does he have time to tour?

Either way, this is a very unique tour for the fact it is an acoustic tour. Control is playing his back-catalogue, as are all the support acts. Speaking of which lead vocalist of York pop-punks One Way Street, namely Zac Roughton, takes the stage first. Sounding eerily like the Maddens of Good Charlotte. A great gateway in to One Way Street. Following are Glasgow electrontic goths Strange Creatures who treated us to some of their favourite songs armed with only a keyboard and acoustic guitar. This included Morrissey’s ‘I Have Forgiven Jesus’, HIM’s ‘Join Me In Death’ as well as the duo’s original tracks ‘She Lights Cigerettes’. Again really different for a duo but very fitting for Control’s support slot.

Crilly. Photo by Rachael Ward (Paranoia Photography)

Next on stage is the tour’s main support Crilly – of the New Grave pioneers Ashestoangels. Who has a great rapport with the crowd, recognising them from his band’s gigs as well as having some general banter. As well as some great Ashes tracks, Crilly shares a few of his influences including NOFX, Against Me and Blue October. Although they are worlds apart in one way – they sound like they are Crilly’s own compositions. As someone who has brought the ‘new grave’ scene to our attention, this is a great insight in to how Ashestoangels tick. Can’t think of a more wonderful way to prepare us for Mr Control.

Crilly. Photo by Rachael Ward

After a short break, our headliner takes the limelight for the first date in his acoustic tour of the UK. Wielding a guitar which reads ‘This Machine Kills Sadness’ – inspired by the popular slogan coined by Woody Guthrie “In 1941 it was ‘This machine kills facists'” says William “I’m not that revolutionary” he adds. You definitely kill this audience’s sadness, even if one of the first covers is The Smiths. Most of the audience know the words to ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ as well as the immediate encore of ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’ (Morrissey).

William Control. Photo by Rachael Ward.

After taking suggestions from the crowd, Control settles on his own tracks from his recently re-released albums. He even revisits ‘Silent Eyes’ by Aiden, surprising as most of their songs were retired earlier this year. Control dismisses certain suggestions from the fans that won’t work acoustically. Which shows he has put a lot of thought in to the acoustic versions of these tracks. diving back in to the covers, he ranges from ‘Can’t Stop Falling In Love’ made famous by Elvis Presley, to HIM classic ‘Funeral Of Hearts’ leading in to an anecdote about Ville Valo and the boys laughing like vampires. Even an impromptu cover Irish folk song of ‘Danny Boy’.

William Control. Photo by Rachael Ward

In all, this was a great change from the norm. Songs we love, sang at a different tempo. Everyone remembers Nirvana Unplugged as well as discovering lost gems like Motorhead’s acoustic sessions (check them out on YouTube – something really special) so an acoustic tour is something all rock bands and artists should consider. William Control’s songwriting mixed with his choice of covers made this a perfect night for the growing ‘New Grave’ scene. “See you in September” Control announces before leaving the stage. No doubt there is big things in store for later in the year.

William Control. Photo by Rachael Ward

 

All photos by Rachel Ward / Paranoia! Photography. Check out her work here

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