William Control, Palaye Royale at Marquis


William Control is the side project of William Frances, the frontman of the perhaps fondly remembered 2000s emo band Aiden. The all-American four piece are an electro-rock band, appropriating 80s synth pop with a dark and considerably “goth-ier” undertone. The group describes their music as “The sort of dark pulsing music you’d be likely to find in BDSM clubs and the dance-hall’s of Hell itself.” Their performance at the Marquis on Jan. 31 wasn’t quite so dramatic.

The theater was surprisingly teeming with pre-teens, their parents, and a handful of people that seem like they should be the appropriate age to be out on a Tuesday night. The touring openers, Palaye Royale, seemed to bring most of the crowd in, perhaps due to the fact that many fans thought that Andy Black of the renowned emo-band Black Veil Brides was supposed to be performing that night.

Palaye Royale gave a quick but engaging performance. The group members were talented at their respective instruments, and adorned with a 60s rock ‘n’ roll  mixed with 1977 punk style and pazazz. This was matched by how warmly they addressed their screaming hoards of fans in between songs. Palaye Royale is a fashion-art rock band focused on bringing a theatrical element to the stage as well as executing an authentic and distinct look to accompany it.

Their songs were fast paced and catchy, each one procuring an eclectic range of musical riffs and characteristics. Ranging from some basic metal-esque guitar riffs to quick paced rock ‘n’ roll drum beats, the somewhat scattered and unorganized stylistic construction of their songs translated rather nicely to the Marquis crowd.

In contrast, William Control seemed too focused on style than actual technique. On the recordings, the group has a seductive quality, using stadium-sized vocal and synth sounds that have dark qualities that aspire to some Depeche Mode influences, which is always a plus. Alas, William Control’s performance was lackluster. Frances donned sunglasses in a nearly pitch-black theater, crowing his lyrics with a voice that did not come off as smooth as on their albums.

During their performance the house lights were shut off and only the glow of the neon lights arranged by the lighting producer bounced across the stage creating a very suitable ambiance for the dusky mood that the group was trying to achieve.

To their credit, William Control’s music is very danceable and has an infectious quality. This artist’s soundtrack could easily be playing in Denver’s own goth club, Milk Bar, which further suggest the idea that perhaps their music isn’t quite so suited for the Marquis Theater.

Both of the performing groups seem to be channeling an older style of music be it classic 1960s and 70s rock ‘n’ roll or dark 80s and 90s goth and industrial music. There is something admirable about musicians who can appreciate the history of music and all of the enticing components that caused it to make history.

Although many bands seek to revive that older or vintage sound, it is a seemingly impossible task given the over-saturation of autotune that is king in the realm of mainstream. William Control and Palaye Royale may have had performances that varied in mainstream approach abilities, but they channeled styles and sounds that protrude integrity to their brand and musical inklings. At the end of the day, that is all that needs to be done.

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