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Gig Review: Cloud Control @ The Toff, 16th March

Last night, Pluck favourites Cloud Control played an intimate gig at one of Melbourne’s most famous live music venues, The Toff.

The gig was billed as an album preview for Cloud Control’s upcoming debut LP, ‘Bliss Release’. The band gave away twenty double passes to the show via their Facebook page, and I was lucky enough to secure one such double-pass, so went with a mate expecting a brief but fun (and free) set from Cloud Control.

This was surprisingly my first time at The Toff, and it was very impressive as a venue. It was intimate, chilled, had a well-equipped bar, and even a small balcony area to relax at before the band came on. The stage was small but well positioned so that it could be seen from the entire room. Seats and tables were set up along the sides of the room.

After taking two vacant seats, about fifteen minutes before Cloud Control were scheduled to appear, who do we see walk in the door but members of my favourite Australian band, Yves Klein Blue. It made sense of course- Cloud Control are currently supporting Yves Klein Blue on their national tour, and are playing with them this Friday at the Corner Hotel, but it was still great to see the boys just relaxing at the venue and supporting their fellow musicians.

Very shortly, Cloud Control took the stage, to a huge amount of smoke-machine magic, and loud clapping from the seventy-or-so assembled fans in the venue. Frontman Al was of course barefoot. They proceeded to play a short but sweet set demonstrating yet again why they are a force to be reckoned with in the Australian music scene.

Because it was an album preview show a few fan favourites were left from the setlist, but even so it was an impressive lineup of tunes, spearheaded by Triple J favourite Gold Canary, which is definitely their most well-known track.

New track Hollow Drums was eerily beautiful, with Al’s and Heidi’s vocals harmonising magnificently, and accompanied with yet more smoke. The highlight of the set for me came with the final song, Ghost Town, which also stood out last time I saw the band live, at the East Brunswick Club. It saw bassist Jeremy take to a secondary drumkit and slowly disintegrate one of his drumsticks with some ferocious drumming.

It was a decidedly short set, but this was fair enough for an album preview gig, and it was still wholeheartedly enjoyable. Cloud Control’s debut album is going to be magnificent, and will almost certainly be their breakthrough into a much wider audience. The lack of Buffalo Country and Vintage Books in the setlist presumably means that they will be left out of the album, meaning that they will remain diehard Cloud Control fans’ favourites.

It was also very cool to see members of Yves Klein Blue just sitting on the floor right in front of the stage, singing along to every song and clapping enthusiastically.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen Cloud Control live, but I know that they have improved every single time in both presence and sound. Al was very appreciative of the friendly and sizeable crowd that had amassed in The Toff, and the whole band seemed like they were having a great time. It was a very fun set.

Afterwards my mate and I went up to the stage to secure a setlist each, and upon grabbing them were congratulated by none other than Charles and Chris from Yves Klein Blue, who were just sitting on the stage chilling.

After subtly mentioning that we were looking forward to seeing Cloud Control this friday, we had a great conversation with the guys, talking about previous gigs (ranging from Falls to Homebake to opening for Franz Ferdinand to their album launch gig in Melbourne at the Northcote Social Club), future plans, favourite songs, the Melbourne music scene, getting lost, and everything in between.

I particularly enjoyed their story from all ages festival Pushover- Chris noted that at most gigs the venue staff give them beers to take on stage for their set, but at Pushover they were instead given a crate containing everything but beer, including four litres of milk.

It was interesting to hear that the band had around 15 new songs ready to go for a sophomore album, which will be recorded and released this year. It was also great to know that they will be playing three new songs on Friday, which is always a treat for fans who have seen them live many times.

It was such an absolute joy to have a discussion with members of one of my favourite bands in the world, and it only increased my anticipation for Friday’s gig. Above this, it was a genuinely interesting and conversation, and it lasted for a good twenty minutes, which is a long time for a band member to spend chatting to fans. Yves Klein Blue are a group of some really nice and appreciative guys, and it doesn’t hurt that they play some amazing music.

What a night. Cloud Control were impeccable, and I am eagerly anticipating their debut album as well as seeing them live this Friday. It is always nice to get a setlist, and it was a privilege to meet the boys from Yves Klein Blue again and have such a great conversation.

Bring on Friday night.

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