The Cult Live @ Academy, Bristol (UK) - 18th September 2006

Standing in line for this the sold out first night show for what is effectively "The Cult's" 2nd reunion tour. I happen to glance at the back of a guy's retro Electric tour shirt and at that point I suddenly realise that this band has been an integral part of my Rock n Roll diet now for over 20 years. I first got into them via the (in my opinion anyway) unsurpassed Love album in 84/85, and it was now over 5 years since I last saw them live (Reading 01). How time flies when your having fun eh?

Put simply there is something about "The Cult" that is timeless, the music has carved a niche sound that imitators can best manage a 2 minute career out of (anyone remember R.P.L.A.????……. Exactly). And in mainstays Astbury and Duffy, you have a look that is ageless albeit a tad through rose tinted glasses on my part.

But the music is what we go to see, "The Cult", not for some fucking fashion parade and not for the fact that the rest of the band are pretty faceless session guys. That said with the notable exception of ex White Zombie drummer John Tempesta who is nothing short of astounding behind his 5-piece kit, destroying everything in sight.

With no support band the majority of the crowd's nerves were visibly stretched by the time Duffy standing legs akimbo cranked out the unmistakable call to arms that is "Lil Devil". But by the first Astbury yelped chorus the audible boos had turned to a mist of sweat and beer and 90 minutes packed together like sardines listening to a PA emanating ambient house were quickly forgotten. One thing for sure the only way was up (as Yazz would have said).

Right from the off it was evident that this show would be nothing more than a hits show, with every album except the eponymous 90's album getting an airing track wise. From "Spirit Walker" through to "Rise" every avenue of the bands 25 year odd musically diverse catalogue was explored. The dance mantra of "The Witch" segued seamlessly into the stadium rock of "Fire Woman". With the Goth foundation stones of "Phoenix", "Rain" and "Nirvana" also getting a much-deserved airing.

Largest cheers of the night though were saved for the heavier moments like "Wild Flower" and "Love Removal Machine", and Astbury in a surreal moment raving on about the rebirth of the wolf strangely managed to not mention soon to be legends "Steaming Wolf Penis" when he rattles off a list of bands who owe a living to him "The Wolf Child".

With the whiff of nostalgia as heavy in the air as the stifling heat and smoke, the night finished with classic "She Sells Sanctuary", and the band were gone. Not before Astbury has offered us all down to Southampton for the following nights show and Duffy left smirking from ear to ear. Sorry Ian/Billy but at £28 for just under 90 minutes with no support, not even your most dedicated fans will be doing more than one night. Never mind how fucking good you are musically, and that was the reason as I said earlier we were all there.

And with that conundrum I was just left thinking, what next for this band known affectionately as "THE CULT"?

by Johnny H.

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