There’s a rush of anxious excitement electrifying the penned in Wolverhampton crowd to night. Beneath the eagerness to witness one of the first ever William Control gigs, there’s a feeling of trepidation, a nervous fear about what is actually going to happen as Aiden’s wiL Francis unleashes his brutally honest and darkly sinister alter ego William Control for all to enjoy.
As the room is thrown into darkness, apprehensive eyes lock onto the stage, silently taking in a solitary guitar player and a certain Nick Wiggins on bass, helping out his Aiden band mate on touring duties. Ripping the silence apart, William Control’s ravaged voice rages by means of introduction as the chilling menace of ‘Prologue’ welcomes all to the show, with an added dose of threatening foreboding courtesy of the darkened room. Still shrouding the man himself from everyone’s view until the last line crackles with contempt, Francis finally emerges to release William Control on the crowd, jumping straight into a frantic charge of ‘Beautiful Loser’ as the track dazzles with an infectious vibrancy of dance inducing beats, bolstered by the irresistibly contagious chorus that instantly has the room singing along.
Looking as if he has just stepped out of a Sweeny Todd production, Francis continually stares intimidatingly into the crowd, half smiling half sneering as the wicked menace of William Control seizes the room, screaming at the crowd to dance as they dutifully abide. From herein Francis takes the crowd into the darkly disturbing seduction of William Control’s world, unmasking the wrath charged mellowness of ‘Hate Culture’ along with the dance club vigour of ‘Tranquilize’ that even has Francis dancing enthusiastically. Adding to the sinister threat of the night, ‘Razor’s Edge’s stuttering start ripples through the crowd before Francis’ venom filled voice claws its way through, dripping with a contempt that resonates with the willing crowd as they embrace the darkness with glee. Pausing only to usher in the horror laced danger of ‘Strangers’ the crowd quickly erupt with excited fervour as Francis’ mesmerising allure commands everyone’s attention heightened by the seduction of ‘The Whipping Haus’ as the decadent dance frenzy claims all.
Sometimes it’s the unpredicted that adds that touch of sparkle to proceedings and tonight it would seem that a problem with the sound is going to do just that. Returning to the stage, Francis appears to have trouble with the sound for his acoustic guitar. Improvising a song about the technical problems, Francis is soon joined by a tech who desperately tries to solve the dilemma whilst Francis proceeds to joke about with the crowd, admitting he doesn’t know any jokes as the time passes and he clearly looks upset for making everyone wait. Still with no success, Francis acknowledges defeat, shrugging as he announces that “fuck it, if you want to hear the song you’ll just have to be quiet”, pausing slightly before playing the opening lines of ‘London Town’. Draped in a mournful melancholy, ‘London Town’ instantly acquires as added injection of spine tingling emotion in the intimate surroundings as Francis’ heart stopping lyrics echo round the crowd. As the chorus approaches a gentle wave of voices join Francis as the room sings along with him, heightening the emotional pull of the track for all to absorb and transforming an unplanned technical clitch into a moment of sheer beauty.
William Control may have started out as a means for wiL Francis to exorcise his inner demons, a dark character that allowed Francis to expel all his anger, hate and despair but, William Control has taken on a life of its own, one that is as exciting as it is terrifying, as exhilarating as it is emotionally draining and one that, surely, the Aiden frontman can not step away from now?