Friday, July 23, 2010

William Control/Octane Ok/Elmo Sexwhistle/Obscure Pleasures @ The Flapper, Thursday 22nd July 2010

William Control "I'm Only Human Sometimes" Music Video
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Sweat, love and rock n’roll. Tonight’s gig, headlined by a certain William Control(aka Wil from Seattle Alt Rock legends Aiden), had it all. First up though a trio of local support bands spearheaded by Obscure Pleasures who elected to do an acoustic set. Thanks to some minor mistiming on my part I arrived a little late, but managed to catch most of their splendid cover of Cash’s cover (that’s a cover of a cover then) of NIN’s ‘Hurt’. This, seemingly, was their first show and judging by the snippet of music on their MySpace page their ‘real’ sound is going to be a lot more synthy. Being a synthy kind of guy I’m intrigued to see how this develops.

Next up the delightfully named Elmo Sexwhistle (sounds like a character from some sort of fucked up Bugs Bunny cartoon...“shag the wabbit, shag the wabbit...”). Some of the girls at the front of the stage took a shine to the bass player’s hair (to be fair it was/is awesome) and he obligingly let them cop a feel. If this band thing doesn’t work out I reckon he could make a fortune with his own range of conditioner. Now there’s an idea, a range of Elmo Sexwhistle hair products “Sexwhistle...because you’re worth it”. Er...anyway...musically they’re a synth prog rock outfit with a fine line in bombastic tunes (think NIN meets Muse at a Duran Duran concert), the pick of which was ‘Genderfuck’ (cue several teenage girls in the front repeating the word over and over again in broad Brummie accents “Genderfooooook”). An anti homophobia anthem it was prefaced by lead singer Xander’s promotion of Love Music Hate Homophobia (a similar deal to the Love Music Hate Racism movement) something which I’m only too happy to promote here as well. This was the first time I’d seen the Sexwhistle and they really grew on me as the set went on. Well worth a listen.

The penultimate band of the night, Octane Ok, gave arguably the most enthusiastic and polished performance (you can just tell they’ve put in plenty of time gigging) with enough energy to power a small town and plenty of thrashing about. I do love a good thrashing. They’ve got an impressive set of self penned ‘hands in the air’ rock tracks too and, judging by the number of people singing along to every word, they’re clearly winning over their fair share of fans. Heavy enough to please the rock crowd but poppy enough to have more of a widespread appeal (just listen to new single 'Take Take' to see what I mean) they might just have what it takes to go places.

Finally – and if Marilyn Manson is the ‘God of Fuck’ then this dude deserves the moniker of God of What The Fuck – it’s William Control. I profess to having very little knowledge of Wil or Aiden (yes, I know, I’m ‘lame’) before tonight’s gig but, having watched a fair few William Control vids on You Tube recently I was sufficiently attracted by his nihilistic brand of synth goth to drag my similarly nihilistic self along for some mutual misery (it really does love company you know). In much the same way as Soft Cell and Depeche Mode (William Control’s spiritual granddads) were, our Wil is clearly obsessed with the sleazy side of life, the dangerous, erotic, messed up world that’s going on right under our noses. Take the uncut video for ‘I’m Only Human Sometimes’ for example, featuring the odd bit of bondage, group sex, drug taking and the removal of one of Wil’s vital organs. How does all this sleaze translate in a live environment, albeit the cellar of the Flapper (the perfect place for a bit of mild S&M)? Well, given Wil’s penchant for getting up close and personal with his fans, it rapidly became less of a gig and more of a musical orgy. In fact I’ve seldom seen someone spend less time on the stage and, for large portions of the set, he was buried amongst a sea of moist teenage flesh, pawing away at his equally moist (but slightly older) body. That was part of the charm of tonight’s gig though, singer and audience getting deep down and dirty together with none of the bullshit barriers (literal and metaphorical)that often stand in the way. ‘Beautiful Loser’ and ‘I’m Only Human Sometimes’, a pair of pounding synth driven self hate anthems stood out as particular highlights tonight, with Wil spitting out the bile flecked lyrics straight into the ears of the faithful. ‘Why Dance With The Devil When You Have Me’ (in which Wil names some of his favourite things...LSD, Cocaine, sodomy that sort of thing...I think Julie Andrews should cover it) also hit the spot. Coming off like a twisted disco number it gave Wil another chance to camp it up with the crowd. After the gig he happily mingled with anyone who hadn’t already got up close and personal with him. He liked my ‘tache (he’s sporting one himself now) and I sensed some chemistry between us but there was a queue behind me so, sadly, I didn’t get the chance to snort coke off a stripper's inner thigh with him. Oh well, maybe next time.

PS: I've uploaded the X rated version of the 'I'm Only Human Sometimes' video above this review for your delectation and delight. Enjoy.

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