June 12, 2012
Silver Spring, MD
THE CULT Set List: Lil' Devil, Honey From a Knife, Rain, Lucifer, Nirvana, Embers, Fire Woman, The Wolf, Wild Flower, The Phoenix, For the Animals, Spirit Walker, She Sells Sanctuary, Encore: Rise, Love Removal Machine
Nostalgia Act...a phrase that describes most bands who manage to last 20+ years in the music business and the logic behind that statement is simple; bands rarely manage to maintain a constantly changing persona throughout their career and most artists wind up rehashing the popular era of their career in order to make fans happy & to continue cashing in on past success.
The Cult are not a nostalgia act...they have a new record out in 2012 and when they started their US tour they added a handful o’ songs from the new record alongside their greatest hits of the past such as “Wild Flower”, “Fire Woman” & “She Sells Sanctuary”.
The interesting thing about this show was how slow the crowd trickled in because when I arrived a little after 8 PM Icarus Line were already onstage yet the venue was sparsely filled with people & it wasn’t until Against Me! took the stage that the crowd started to fill in.
Icarus Line were an interesting choice to start off the night because the band played a snotty brand of pseudo punk rock that had witty moments of artistic license mixed in with right wing political messages. The band itself entertained me thoroughly BUT the crowd seemed to truly hate the young band and it’s because The Cult’s crowd at this show was primarily a sad mix of yuppies & as Ian later stated, “The mosh pit is nothing but fat, bald old men!”
Icarus Line summoned the onstage energy of Iggy Pop but musically they were better players than The Stooges and added an artistic side when they utilized effects and feedback to create ambiance.
Rise Against The Machine, Rise Against Me....3 bands who’s names all blur to some degree....Against Me! are a band that only recently garnered attention when their singer released a statement to the media that he was now a transgendered person & was becoming a woman. I really had no clue who Against Me! were until that point & sadly I lost respect for them because they gained critical media attention simply for their singer changing gender as opposed to gaining critical appraise for the bands music.
Against Me! were ok, musically they are pop punk with 70’s riff rock ala The Ramones & New York Dolls as the bands primary influences.
Looks wise I’d say the singer for Against Me! looks like the bastard child of Jon Bon Jovi, David Johansen (New York Dolls) & Richard Simmons which are all mixed equally and the thing is, he does not look like a woman.... he looks like a man dressed in glam rock clothes ala The New York Dolls, Poison looked more femme in their prime than he does!
The Cult were the nights headliners & they took the stage around 10:20 PM with a strong selection of their greatest hits as well as a handful o’ new songs.
Ian had his hair pulled back in a bun while Billy took the stage with his trademark white Gretsch hollow body guitar and the stage set up was simply a small back line of amps, John Tempesta’s all chrome drum kit & occasionally there were random visuals played behind the band on a large curtain.
Vocally Ian sounded really good & this was one of the better vocal performances I’ve heard from Ian although I’ve always thought his vocals could really be a bit louder in the live mix. Every time I’ve ever seen The Cult Ian’s vocals would often get drown out by Billy’s guitar.
The last few times I’ve seen The Cult Ian had taken to insulting other musicians...last time The Cult played DC Ian made some snide remarks about Dave Grohl and at this show Ian took to insulting Jack White numerous times & stating that The Cult were making rock music while Jack White was still shitting in diapers and Ian insinuated that Jack White didn’t know as much about rock n roll as The Cult did.
I’ve always noticed the fact that Ian & Billy rarely interact with each other onstage & for the most part both men keep to their own areas onstage & rarely interact or cross paths with each other while onstage.
Billy’s guitar tone this night was PERFECT and all the notes, solos, etc. were as clear as a bell. I’ve always respected the tone Billy achieves onstage because his guitars are distorted yet NEVER go too far and sound like noise.
“Edie” was not played this night & during the encore Ian stated that this was only the 2nd time the band had played “Rise” on this tour....”Rise” sounded great & fit the vibe of the show well.
“Spirit Walker” & “She Sells Sanctuary” were the last 2 songs of the first set & as far as I’m concerned that was the perfect way to close out the first set because they paired up 2 songs that sonically define The Cult on every level!
“She Sells Sanctuary” has lost some of it’s feeling over the years but a song like “Lil Devil” still rocks hard & there’s a reassuring feeling to know that The Cult are still a band, still making music & still touring in 2012!
Ian made fun of Rolling Stone magazine for never really reviewing Cult records & I give Ian credit for speaking his mind but I also was a little set back by Ian’s negativity at time because it made the positive themes in his lyrics seem a little confusing.
“Embers” featured Billy playing a Fender Telecaster & that was probably the deepest song of the night.
The set was a little under 2 hours long & the band gave the audience their monies worth because Ian and Billy are still vital players and their catalog of music still stands up very well in 2012.
During a break in “Love Removal Machine” a purple light shined down on Ian and to my surprise Ian started to sing the “Purple Rain” by Prince briefly...it was interesting because I never placed The Cult & Prince in the same equation up until that moment but when you think about it that is an interesting combination!
One thing I will point out is that when you see The Cult live you truly have to appreciate the way Ian & Billy create music; they utilize the tried & true formula that AC/DC laid down many years before them & they incorporate this psychedelic feel & sound which is where the “Sound” of The Cult is so very different from other bands out there...you instantly recognize The Cult when you hear Ian singing & Billy playing guitar!