Zola Jesus

Live Review: The Cult at Greek Theatre

 

Image result for the cult sonic temple greek theater

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