Friday, 20 December 2013

Cloud Control – Bitterzoet Amsterdam, 2 October 2013

Cloud Control will always have a soft spot in my music blogging heart.

They were after all, the band of my very first ‘Show Review’ – originally written for Mokum Groupie and shortly after posted right here, in the early days of vpmusicblog. Having seen them several times before and loving their one and only album at the time, it was a nice gig to start my ‘blogging career’.

So I approached this show with not only some excitement to see a band I like, but also to write up a new piece on them – seeing my first blogging effort come full circle so to speak.

In the 18 plus months since I had last seen them, the Cloud Control gang had been busy at work recording their sophomore album – Dream Cave. It is an interesting album that seems to move around quite a bit between songs, jumping from brooding and haunting (Dojo Rising, Promises) to catchy pop harmonies (Happy Birthday) all with a psychedelic twist that somehow pulls it together.

And to me, this is exactly how the show felt.

It was hard to get into the rhythm of the set compared to what I had experienced at past Cloud Control shows. It started of very dark and moody as the band made their way throughScream Rave, Dojo Rising and Island Living without so much as a glance to the crowd or even a ‘thanks’. The smoke machine was working overtime, the lights were pretty dark and I thought we were in for a much more serious show that what I was expecting.

But then – BANG. Come song 4 and we hit a sharp left turn and were back to the happy, chatty Cloud Control we all know and love. The banter was back and after a fun version of That is What I Said, they dedicated the appropriately named Happy Birthdayto a girl in the audience who they had met somewhere in Amsterdam that day and who had brought all her friends down to the show on her birthday, along with a giant helium balloon. It was very nice little ‘fan’ touch and they pulled it off well.

This pattern would continue for the whole show as the band drifted between darker, moodier numbers to light and fun banter with the crowd. The set was dominated by the newer material, as you might expect but they still kept everyone (or at least me) happy with the older favorites like Meditation Song #2, Gold Canary and Buffalo Country.

In the past I have seen them do a couple of really good live cover versions, particularly their version of Kid Cudi’s Pursuit of Happiness and I was a little disappointed not to see another tonight. I guess with a second album of new material to choose from a cover is no longer needed, although I was really happy to hear them still work in a bit ofPepper by the Butthole Surfers into Gold Canary.

All up it was a good night, even if not as fun as what I had previously experienced with Cloud Control. It certainly gave me a better appreciation of the new album getting to hear most of the songs live. They will be back in Utrecht in March and I can imagine I will be there to see them again.


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