My Type of Cult

cult_postGig Review: The Cult
Festival Hall, Melbourne
Saturday 5th October 2013

I have always been a bit of a trivia geek, and one of my favourite trivial subjects is collective nouns. Who’d have thought that a group of crows was called a murder? Or a skulk of foxes, or a whoop of gorillas? Whilst there are a plethora of collective nouns to keep my trivial mind entertained, I feel I could easily offer some new entries to this category. Such were my musings when I attended The Cult’s epic gig at Festival Hall in Melbourne last weekend. For a start- how about a riff of musicians?

The Cult’s 2013 World Tour, dubbed Electric13, was promoted as the first time the band would perform their seminal album, Electric in its entirety. And the fans were out in force to show their support! The capacity crowd were there to enjoy some serious rock- proving that not only is there still a huge market for this genre of music but also that old rockers never die! The age of the crowd was evident in many ways, from the lack of crowd surfing to the visible technology… it’s been a long time since I saw someone videoing a gig on their Blackberry!!

Electric was considered a breakthrough album for The Cult in 1987. It was the third album for the band, following up 1985’s Love which featured the hit single She Sells Sanctuary. The popularity of Sanctuary shot The Cult into the charts and the spotlight, increasing pressure on the band to deliver a standout followup… and they certainly didn’t disappoint.  Working with Def Jam founder and producer, Rick Rubin, the band set about developing a sound that was both unique and physical. The resulting album was Electric- now synonymous for its stripped-back, riff driven hard rock.

Support act on the evening, Redcoats, provided a great contrast of up-and-coming talent versus industry veterans. This outstanding Melbourne 4-piece dished out an intense rock-laden set, helping to prove that in an industry that is currently dominated by dance and RnB fluff, quality rock can still be uncovered if you know where to look.

And then there was The Cult….

The band’s original two members- lead singer, Ian Astbury and guitarist, Billy Duffy proved they still had what it takes to rock hard into your 50s when they hit the stage. Astbury, ever the rock-god in his skin tight leather and ostentatious fur lapel, kept his admiring fans mesmerized with flawless renditions of hits such as Wildflower, Lil Devil and Love Removal Machine. And Duffy unleashed windmills on his axe so effortlessly that at one stage I thought he might take flight and continue to play as he hovered above the crowd! It was pure old-school rock.

Although played continuously, the set-list was clearly divided into two parts- the Electric album was played first in its entirety, followed by a selection of ‘other classics’. It was undeniable that the crowd were there for Electric. The air somehow seemed more charged during the first half of the set, and the fans more lively. That being said, my fave tracks in the second half included Sweet Soul Sister and an encore performance of SpiritWalker that brought the house down. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the entire set, I have to admit I was a little disappointed that they didn’t knock out a few more of their classic hits- the omission of The Witch was, in my mind, inconceivable!

I suppose it was the sign of a great gig that by the time the lights came up, I was covered from head to toe in an array of sticky substances including bourbon and vodka premixes. Indeed, the Jack Daniels and Smirnoff Blacks were flowing as freely as water at a rave, much to the glee of a crowd with an extremely high bogan ratio. Not that I have any problems with the aforementioned subculture…. in fact I happily embrace my bogan heritage, from my teen years awash with flannelette fashion and undercut hair, through to the notorious suburb I currently call home. I must admit I was not so much overwhelmed but more-so impressed by the tremendous turnout of bogans to this gig. So much so that I have decreed that from now on, the collective noun for a group of bogans be termed a cult of bogans!  Rock on people, rock on!



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