Thursday, 29 March 2012

Cloud Control - 20 February 2012, Bitterzoet

Originally posted @

A Monday night show can always be hit or miss. At worst you have a lack luster crowd who struggle to get into a band that have been on the road so long they’re not even sure what day of the week it is.

But at best, it can pick a crowd up from its post weekend blues and get them moving and grooving, and forgetting about everything else that needs to get done before the next weekend arrives. Cloud Control did everything they could to get a good size crowd moving and it has to be said that for the most part, the crowd loved it.

Cloud Control may have gotten their start in the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney, Australia, but they have certainly been earning their keep in Europe over the past year. This week’s show at Bitterzoet was the fourth time I’ve caught them in Amsterdam over the past 12 months. And while they may have lost some of the enthusiasm clearly evident at the Paradiso kleine zaal almost 12 months ago to the day, musically they have become much tighter and they really know how to make the most out of their set.

With just one album, Bliss Control (2010), and a couple of EP’s to their name, this young Aussie four piece put together a great set. A short instrumental intro got everyone up before launching into a couple of album favorites which set the mood high for the rest of the night. There was a small lag mid show, but they finished the main set with three of their biggest songs and really had the venue moving. Their quirky encore cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” added even more.

There is no doubt that Alister Wright on lead vocals and guitar and Heidi Lenffer on vocals and keyboards are the stage personality of the band. They have some warm banter with the crowd about their love for Amsterdam. It can be tough for a band to come off as genuine or real when you know they do this night after night, but the duo seem to be enjoying it.

Quirky is probably a good way to describe part of the Cloud Control sound. There were some clear Vampire Weekend moments during their set, but the boy-girl harmonies move to a more pop-folk sound in other songs.

For a band with not a lot of material behind them, it was a pretty impressive set list. Their debut album did pick up the 2010 Australian Music Prize (AMP) (equivalent to the UK’s Mercury Music Prize), so on their home soil they’re taken pretty seriously. It will be interesting to see what direction they take their sound with the new album (they announced they’re hitting the studio soon) and what they bring with them on their next visit to Amsterdam. I know I will be lining up for show No. 5 to do it all over again.


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