The Cult – [Live]

Sunday, 09 December 2007

I have seen The Cult live probably a dozen or so times over the years, and it's always been a bit of a love/hate relationship. They have either been totally amazing, or totally lackluster. It didn't matter if they were supporting Electric or Sonic Temple, or whether they were playing The Cow Palace or The Fillmore. Either they had it that night or they didn't. No middle ground. With that being said, I have always looked forward to seeing what version of The Cult I was going to get, and Friday night was no exception.

I left my house about 7:45pm and walked over to The Warfield. After getting in, getting my hand stamped and hitting the bar for a beer an a shot of Jäger (it was the Jägermeister Music Tour after all) I was standing in front of the stage waiting for opening band The Cliks by 8pm. The Cliks hit the stage about 8:05, and immediately got the crowd going with their catchy pop-punk tunes. It wasn't really my style of punk rock, but kudos to them for being up there and doing their thing. As a band they were pretty tight, and guitarist Nina Martinez and vox/guitarist Lucas Silveira each laid down some nice little riffs. The rhythm section of Jen Benton (bass) and Morgan Doctor (drums) keep the beat going and were pretty energetic during their 30-minute set. Not a bad way to start the show.

After a fairly quick change over, New York-based Action Action came out around 9pm or so, and I immediately knew I was not going to be into this band. I've never been a fan of the "indie-rock" sound, and to me that’s exactly what Action Action were. At times I thought I heard a bit of Depeche Mode in their songs, and had some hope, but that hope was quickly snuffed out by the generic-ness of their music. It was kinda cool that both guitar players and the bass player all were playing keyboards as well, but the music just didn't do it for me. And I can't stand when an opening band insists on mentioning the headliners name just to get a reaction out of the crowd. I think I heard them mention The Cult at least three times. Lame.

The Cult ALWAYS make you wait. The stage had been broken down pretty quickly, and Billy Duffy's guitars had all been tuned numerous times by 10:10pm. Maybe it was because of all the Jägermeister that was flowing, but there was a definite sense of excitement in the air. After almost 25 years and thousands of shows, I still love that feeling of waiting for a band to come out and blow me away. When Ian Astbury, Billy and company finally swaggered out onto the stage around 10:35pm, and immediately launched into "Nirvana," off of Love, I had a feeling they were going to blow me away, and I was right. The Cult had an energy up there that I have not seem them have in a long time. They tore through "Electric Ocean," and "Lil' Devil," before playing "I Assassin," from this year’s Born Into This album. Ian was as engaging as always, throwing out his trademark tambourines to they crowd, and bantering with people more than usual. An awesome version one of my favorite Cult songs, "The Witch," really got the crowd going.

Every time I see The Cult, I can't happen to notice what an incredible guitar player Billy Duffy is, and how he makes it all look so effortless. While watching him play as they did "Revolution," "Edie" and "Rise," I was truly amazed. He is so under rated! I’ve also been impressed by their latest drummer, John Tempesta. Maybe it's due to his time in Exodus or Testament, but John gives The Cult a certain "heaviness" live. After killer versions of "Fire Woman," "Phoenix" and "Wild Flower," I heard the opening riff to "She Sells Sanctuary,” and watched as the crowd went nuts. I don't think I (or anyone else) could ever get sick of this song, and hearing it live always makes me appreciate The Cult even more. "Spirit Walker" and "Love Removal Machine" were a perfect way to end they night. The Cult were "on it" tonight, and I am looking forward to seeing them live yet again. My love/hate relationship with them may continue, but at least now it is on the "Love" side!

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