William Control at the O2 Islington Academy 2
The sadistic side project of punk-rockers Aiden’s frontman William Francis returns to London with bands Fearless Vampire Killers and Obscure Pleasures for the second time in a year. The crowd had been waiting a long time for this and were ready and prepared for whatever the night had to throw at them.
The first act, a local band called Spit Like This is a horror-punk band with intense staccato drumbeats heard throughout the set and guitar riffs cutting the air like a knife. With a vocalist who loves what he does, swaggering around the stage, poking fun at everyone and everything, they illustrate what William Control wants his audience to feel. Playing a set of songs from their latest album, Normalityville Horror interjected with an interesting cover of Sweet Transvestite from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spit Like This are a promising start to the night.
Obscure Pleasures followed, with a set packed with electro keyboard sounds and haunting vocals – courtesy of singer Joshua White – and a dancer also onstage throughout the set. A mixture of Joy Division and Hurts, Obscure Pleasures’ songs are seductive and draw the audience in, to the point where they are tightly packed around the stage, hypnotised both by the compelling music and the dancer. Stylistically, they were the most similar to William Control and they leave the stage to peals of applause.
The third act of the night was London-based band Fearless Vampire Killers, who have gathered quite a strong and dedicated fan base following the release of their debut album Militia of the Lost earlier this month. Just how they acquired these fans was evident that night as they performed a short, but jam-packed set full of strong melodies and a mixture of vocal styles, demonstrated clearly on the cover of Wham!’s hit, Club Tropicana. The dual singers Kier Kemp and Laurence Beveridge feed off each other perfectly and it’s clear to see that Fearless Vampire Killers are just five friends having a good time on stage. They can easily be compared to My Chemical Romance during the Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge era, and if performances like Thursday 31st night’s show are anything to go by, they are destined for big things.
The headline act, William Control has a rather spellbinding sense to its music; it gathers the audience together with the hypnotising electronic sounds produced by William and then pits them against each other, due to the raging metal sound of the backing band, William’s bandmate in Aiden, Nicholas Wiggins and his friends Kenneth Fletcher and Keef West. The set was filled with songs from Control’s three albums, which meant that everyone left having heard one of their favourites. One of the most notable moments of the evening was the introduction of the song Cemetery from Control’s first album Hate Culture. Never heard before in the UK before this tour, the song was greeted by a sea of hands waving in the air and an array of loud screams. After a set of a range of songs, including an acoustic rendition of tearjerker London Town, William retreated off stage, leaving the audience waiting with bated breath for his return to the UK shores.
Overall, the gig was a mish-mash of metal, rock, sensuality, erotica and vampires, which in all fairness, doesn’t sound too promising; but to the 150-odd fans at the O2 Islington Academy 2 tonight, it is the recipe for a perfect night.
Spit Like This’ album Normalityville Horror is out now. Obscure Pleasures and Fearless Vampire Killers are on tour with William Control throughout May and June. Fearless Vampire Killers’ album Militia of the Lost is out too.
Listen to William Control’s latest single Kiss Me Judas here: