For a show performed by a band with elements of psychedelic pop and folk, the Nation of Shopkeepers was an excellent venue choice as it’s spacious and has a relaxed atmosphere. Nai Harvest did a good job as the first supporting band, the indie rock duo from Sheffield set the mood despite being very different from the main act, and had a great setlist with a mix of new and old. The second supporting band, London-based Younghusband, had a completely different delivery with their indie-psych mixed with krautrock sound and seemingly far less attachment to the audience. Although beautifully performed on a technical basis, the live set seemed much like the recorded versions of the songs from their album ‘Dromes’ released last September, and the dream-like sound created a much more relaxed atmosphere after Nai Harvest.
When Cloud Control took to the stage, the setlist mainly consisted of songs from their most recent album ‘Dream Cave’ released in August 2013, starting with their main single “Dojo Rising”. They conveniently dedicated the track “Happy Birthday” to the lights and systems guy after asking the audience if it was anyone’s birthday. Their sound was distinctively different live, which I personally prefer, and the sound of Ulrich Lenffer, the drummer, carried a lot stronger than it does on the album, giving the band an overall sharper sound.
Getting the chance to have a chat with Ulrich and Jeremy (and embarrasingly interrupting their pint while they were catching up on the football) when meeting them at a nearby pub before the show, I asked if anything changed in terms of the album after touring with it and Ulrich stated:
“I kind of wish we had recorded the album now. Just because we’ve played it so much and we’re really familiar with everything now, everything is just like second nature; you can really feel like you own the songs. We actually gave the album another listen yesterday for the first time in like ages, and there was so much I’d forgotten about it, there are so many things you do differently live.”
Whichever way you want to take Ulrich’s statement it is certainly evident that Cloud Control have grown into their latest album and truly made it their own, conveying it with a skill that many bands cannot. Being able to make a studio album sound even better when performed live is a beautiful thing and coupled with the intimate and relaxed atmostphere of Nation of Shopkeepers it has made Howl Agency’s latest tour a recipe for success.
All images by Jack Western. See the full set of images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/yorkvision/sets/72157641287714124/