Ok, just set the Ableton idea up, tested it and the "follow actions" are 100% useless for this and it doesn't work as I had imagined. Basically i can keep it from being synced but once you hit the first clip, it just runs through all of them automatically, so its not possible to do with one trigger alone.
The other thing I tried was using one shot clips, un-synced and just hitting one note every time to advance the "scene". It worked exactly as you describe but it won't loop!
So basically you can cross Ableton Live off the list
p.s. remind me not to have any stupid ideas after a big night