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26th January 2011

After seeing The Cult a few times now, I always know they are bound to put on some interesting openers…often with just a slight need for acquired taste or an up-and-coming act that shows a hint of narcissism. And such was Romance, a London-based gothic pop group fronted by a new romantic, bleach blonde, effeminate demi-god thrusting and posing with his Rickenbacker.  Signed to the same label as The Cure, Elbow and White Lies, I would definitely tip them for near future greatness.


Next up was Masters of Reality. Chris Goss (lead vocalist) has a vested interest in this Cult tour having produced the band’s latest recordings.  The MoR set starts with some sort of strange Wizard of Oz type narrative reverberating through the venue before ripping into songs like Dominio that leave the crowd slightly suspect but they did eventually warm to them.  Other notable crowd pleasers were ‘She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On) and Jody Sings.


With the onset of The Cult taking the stage, I was wondering just exactly how this new set would take shape.  Feedback from fans at the previous night’s performance in Nottingham was mixed and there seemed to be a lot of comments about Astbury’s lack of enthusiasm.  But with the press release for this tour being labelled New Blood and Deeper Cuts, I hoped they wouldn’t abandon their hits for a statement of artistic freedom.  However, during my interview with Duffy back in November, he assured me they would still throw in some ole standbys whilst introducing a new sound.

The venue dimmed, a backdrop of skull and crossbones lit the stage and the band appeared with one of the songs off its first “capsule” released in August called Every Man and Woman is a Star.  It’s a rocking tune that would have fit well on The Cult’s last album release Born Into This.  Later, the band would present another new track called Embers. Astbury donned cowboy boots, a return to long flowing locks, token wolf tail as well as these black leather gloves that he started wearing during The Love Live tour.  Duffy posed, pouted and straddled his White Falcon with a seamless segue way into Rain, Horse Nation and the anthemic Sweet Soul Sister.  The crowd was bombarded with stirring images depicting the plight and culture of Native and African Americans.  There were some slip ups in the lyrics from the shamanic, wolf child Astbury but that didn’t seem to deter the audience from raising their fists and moshing about.

White, Go West and Saints are Down represented some of the “deeper cuts” with more political imagery and absolutely amazing guitar work from Duffy.  The audience had subdued moments during tracks like Dirty Lil Rockstar but by and large the set was high energy with classic Cult songs like Nirvana, Wildflower, Love Removal Machine and She Sells Sanctuary.

Astbury left me scratching my head a bit when he took to the mic to “talk” to the crowd – the incessant “F” word, belching, announcing he wanted the audience to get their nuts off, his avant-garde 3-minute film and throwing beer cans in the air ranged from insulting to quite comical.

The Cult rounded out the performance with a wicked encore consisting of Rise, Spiritwalker and a real treat in The Doors’ Break On Through.

Even speaking as an ardent Cult fan, I would objectively say the show was well worth the money and was full-on rock.  Currently, The Cult is carrying on with their tour in Europe but will return to the UK for the Isle of Wight Festival and Donington.


Words by Juanita McGowen.

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