Billy Duffy

Live Review: The Cult at Greek Theatre

 

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There are always certain bands that when they release new music or come through town I get excited about. The Cult is one of those bands. Ever since I was a little kid and heard “Fire Woman” back in 1987, I’ve been hooked. So, when it was announced that The Cult would be celebrating the 30 year anniversary of the album that got me into them, Sonic Temple, I knew that I had to be there.

Surrounded by the clear skies on a perfect Southern California evening, tucked in the hills at the legendary Greek Theater, The Cult took the stage at 9pm and rocked the house for the next 90 mins. The opening notes of “Sun King” rang through ever so brightly and the roar of the crowd was invigorating as the band kept the rock going with songs like “New York City,” “Automatic Blues,” “American Horse,” “Soul Asylum,” and “Sweet Soul Sister.” I have to say one of the highlights of the night for me was when they played my favorite song off Sonic Temple, “Edie (Ciao Baby).” When they played that, I got chills and was singing at the top of my lungs. What a great song. “Fire Woman” was the last part of the Sonic Temple portion of the show. When they played that, the crowd rose to their feet, danced and sang along like it was 1987 all over again. It was quite a sight to see. For the second part of their set, they stuck to older material along with a couple songs “Rise” and “American Gothic” from their very great 2001 comeback album, Beyond Good and Evil. Even “Spiritwalker” from the bands debut album, Dreamtime was played and it sounded like great and fresh, even with it being almost 40 years old. Of course when “She Sells Sanctuary” was played the crowd again was in full force. Their encore set was badass as well. “Wild Flower,” “Rain,” and “Love Removal Machine” sounded amazing. Ian still has the mystical rock star swagger he’s had since the beginning. You could tell he was feeding off the energy and really giving it his all the whole show. Billy Duffy was ripping it up on his guitar and wailed out on some pretty sweet solos. When it was all over, I really wished they kept playing for at least another hour.

Opening the night was Vowws, a band that should be on everyone’s radar. Their short yet sweet set was superb. They had the right energy and songs to kick off the show. Those that were there early enough to witness this great band were truly in luck. This two piece band played and sounded like they have a full band accompanying them. The bands dreamy synthpop sound mixed with the perfect gothic/industrial undertones, makes Vowws a perfect band for today’s musical climate.  I can’t wait to see them in a small club but, for my first experience seeing them, their performance was understated and quite interesting to watch as they were drenched in sunlight.

Also performing this evening was Zola Jesus and Prayers. Zola Jesus was interesting but, really didn’t do anything for me. I could sense that this wasn’t the right setting to see a band like this. You can tell that there is something more to this band but it needs the right place and vibe to really come to life. Prayers on the other hand… maybe it’s because I’m older and don’t get it or maybe it really wasn’t good. Either way, they didn’t really do anything for me. After they were done I told my friend I was with that Vowws should have been at that spot. Granted this is just my opinion, and I saw a lot of people there that were psyched on Prayers but, for me, that’s a big no.

All in all though it was a great night. The Cult are still badasses. Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy are one of the best songwriting tandems. If you haven’t checked out their last couple albums, Choice Of Weapon and Hidden City, you are missing out. Those are 2 of the best rock albums in the last 10 years. I’d also like to acknowledge the fact that John Tempesta has been killing it behind the drums for The Cult. He’s such a great and versatile drummer and a great addition to The Cult’s sound. If you haven’t check out the Testament album, Low, and you’ll really get to hear how good of a drummer John is. Also Damon Fox on keys and backing vocals along with Grant Fitzpatrick on bass and backing vocals as well, really compliment Ian, Billy and John perfectly. Do yourself a favor when The Cult comes through your town and go see them. You’ll for sure have a great rocking time.

The Cult Setlist:

01) Sun King
02) New York City
03) Automatic Blues
04) Sweet Soul Sister
05) American Horse
06) Soul Asylum
07) Edie (Ciao Baby)
08) Fire Woman
09) Rise
10) American Gothic
11) Spiritwalker
12) The Phoenix
13) She Sells Sanctuary

Encore:

14) Wild Flower
15) Rain
16) Love Removal Machine

Album Rank: The Cult

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The Cult have long been one of the best and most consistent rock bands in the world. I’d even go as far as saying they are one of the best rock bands of all time. They’ve released some of the best rock albums and continue to make it known that they are still a force to be reckoned with. With that in mind, take a delve into their catalog and see why they are one of the best!

 
10) The Cult- The Cult:


9) The Cult- Born Into This:

 

8) The Cult- Ceremony:

 

7) The Cult- Dreamtime:

 
6) The Cult- Hidden City:

 

5) The Cult- Choice Of Weapon:

4) The Cult- Beyond Good And Evil:

 

3) The Cult- Sonic Temple:

 

2) The Cult- Love:

 

1) The Cult- Electric:

Memorable TV Performances: The Cult on Joan Rivers

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Back in 1988, The Cult performed on the late Joan Rivers late night talk show. They performed the song “Lil Devil” from their badass album Electric, along with “Born To Be Wild.” The band joins Joan on the couch for an interview and Ian’s father calls in to wish Ian a happy birthday. I still think The Cult are one of the most underappreciated rock bands ever. They continue to put out quality rock albums like Born Into This, Choice Of Weapon and Hidden City. I highly suggest you taking a listen to those and adding them to your collection.

The Cult- Lil Devil & Born To Be Wild on Joan Rivers (1988):

 

Underrated and Influential: The Cult

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The Cult formed in 1983. They melded their love for Led Zeppelin, The Doors and assorted Post Punk bands such as Joy Division to create a heavy mystic sound. Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy have been the most consistent members since the inception of the group. They gained notoriety for songs such as “She Sells Sanctuary” “Love Removal Machine” “Fire Woman.” They have created 3 of the most underrated albums in all of hard rock, Love, Electric, and Sonic Temple and have left a distinct mark with each of them. In 1995 the band split for a period of time to work on themselves and came back with a rocking album in Beyond Good and Evil featuring the songs “Rise” and Painted On My Heart (which appeared on in the movie Gone In 60 Seconds). After the release and tour the band took a break again with Ian joining the remaining members of The Doors to play shows. Billy went on to form other bands that while were good, failed to leave any mark on the landscape as The Cult did. In 2006, Ian and Billy got together again to record the album Born Into This. 2012 saw the release of Choice of Weapon. This album is one of their best ever. It’s up there with Electric and the songs themselves are awesome.

Ian Astbury’s vocals, lyrics and stage presence are all things that so many people and other bands have tried to replicate. While some of what Ian does is similar to that of Jim Morrison, Ian took it to another dimension and explored deeper into his own internal struggles to connect with the mysticism that he was involved in. Billy Duffy has a very distinctive guitar tone that has a nice reverb to it all the while packing a punch. The clean sensibilities of his guitar work show the soul of the music. Live, The Cult are captivating and hypnotic. Watching Ian on stage is intense as he gets so into the show and hardly interacts with the crowd. Billy strums like a madman. Completing the lineup for live show is John Tempesta on drums and Chris Wyse on bass. Listening to The Cult and then listening to so many bands that have come up in the past 10 years like Mastodon (yes them), Queens Of The Stone Age and others, you can hear the influence.

 

Love:

 

Electric:

 

Sonic Temple:

 

Beyond Good and Evil:

 

Choice of Weapon: