Audience: 18 and over
42 Oxford St, Sydney
NSW, 2010, Australia.
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Cloud Control seem nervous as they take the stage at Oxford Art Factory tonight. The venue is sold out, and the band are clearly excited by this, but they’re not exactly sure how to deal with it either. Their set opens with 'Mediation #2' from new album Bliss Release. It's a solid beginning, but it doesn’t last. Singer/guitarist Alister Wright has a shy schoolboy charm that compensates for the fact that Cloud Control, as a unit, are fractious for the first third of their performance.
About five songs in and the band's playing becomes more assured; their delivery is stronger, marred only by a couple of (minor) technical and pitch issues. Still there’s little chat between songs and it's not until the home stretch that Wright and keyboardist/vocalist Heidi Lenffer show some of the confident swagger that their heady, hypnotic debut warrants.
The goosebump-inducing 'Ghost Story' is chosen as a final track, with Wright mysteriously stating that they will play "one more song before they leave for a little while, and then come back to play more songs". Three minutes (and an alarming lack of foot-stomping) later, Wright, the Lenffers (Heidi and her drummer brother Ulrich) and bassist Jeremy Kelshaw return to the OAF stage to play old-school favourites ‘Vintage Books’ and ‘Buffalo Country’, as well as the aching ‘Beast of Love’ (the final cut on Bliss Release).
However, tonight's set leaves a strange taste. The songs on Bliss Release demand a strutty bombast that Cloud Control have opted against delivering. Instead, there was a disarming amount of “realness”: some ill-chosen onstage banter, twitchy moments of silence and an unabashed enthusiasm for their album release as a sort of triumphant homecoming.
by Lucy Hearn