The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Cult

Metro City Perth 12.5.2010


Big Neon Glitter
Brother Wolf Sister Moon
Hollow Man
She Sells Sanctuary
Black Angel

Little Devil
Sweet Soul Sister
Dirty Little Rockstar
Fire Woman
Wild Flower
Love Removal Machine

I have been looking forward to this for weeks now. The first time I saw the Cult was back in 1985 the last time I saw them was 1987 so it's been a while. Back in those days these guys were still in that transition stage when nobody knew how to describe their music. By the time they released Love they were accused of all sorts of things: being Goth; being post-Goth; being Hippies in Goth clothing; being Hippies; selling out; wanting to be Led Zeppelin... the list just went on and on. Then Electric hit, the Rock crowd embraced them, but that's another story entirely. By the sound of things from camp Cult and the reaction to the Love tour, we could well be seeing Electric getting this same treatment soon.


The Cult was always the band for me and had been since Southern Death Cult and Death Cult days. I loved the dark gothic sound of the first album Spiritwalker enmeshed with the Native American spirituality and the whole dark Doors-tinged vibe. Love just turned it up a little bit brighter and refined things before they sidestepped into full on Electric rock.


So for me this concert is really a bit of a homecoming. The Cult was one of the first bands I got to see live and 23 years later this had so much expectation hanging off it. Reviews of the 'Love' set may have been mixed this Australian leg but I got the distinct feeling that half of the reviewers probably didn't even own a copy and certainly couldn't hope to place the album in the context of the times and especially the incredibly shit music around in the UK in 1985. I also got the distinct feeling that most of the reviewers didn't care, certainly didn't know the words, which I'm glad to say I could recall almost 25 years later. Just one of those things I guess.


Any band, though, who wants to play a 'Classic Album' from start to finish is looking for trouble though because, let's face it, there are very few albums where every track is gold. Love itself has a couple of dips. Though to me it is a very important album as it does bridge the gap between what the Cult was and what they would become on Electric.



Support this tour came from The Black Ryder and the Rockpit were divided on that. Shane hated the “heroin chic shoe-gazing” vibe, but I thought that they were a pretty good fit as a support and had a good female singer and a very Velvet underground feel to them. Not to everyone’s taste, I agree but I grew up listening to that kind of thing along with the more staple rock fare.


Even though a lot of the crowd may not have been particularly familiar with all of the songs from "Love" it went down pretty well tonight in Perth. Ian looks like the older bearded Jim Morrison and Billy just looks lean and healthy.


"Nirvana” got the crowd on their feet and it's great to see the band out there with a second guitarist to add depth, and a great backline who can produce the feel of some of those Jamie Stewart bass lines, and recreate the great groove the album has. I always loved the whole feel of "Love" so grooves like "Big Neon Glitter", "Love" itself, "Revolution" and "Phoenix" all go down very well and the sound is great.

After "Phoenix" Ian reminds us that we are still only a third of the way through the evening and that we should drink responsibly so that we can peak at the right moment. Indeed he does seem in pretty good spirits tonight and actually seems to be enjoying himself.



He's even chattier after "Hollow Man" reminding us all how important "the imbibing of alcoholic beverages" is to Australian culture "preferably round a fire with a didgeridoo, with mushrooms and acid" and we're into the beautiful lull that is "Revolution".


Of course it's "Rain" and even more so the next song "She Sells Sanctuary" that really capture the crowd. And thanks to the band opening with the "Love" set I find myself pretty much front row for most of the concert. It's great just to be so close to the music. The Cult as a collective whole seem particularly enthusiastic on this their last night in Australia and there's no sign of the previously reported bad vibes from Ian. In fact the only real moment of tension comes when some dickhead in the crowd throws ice at Billy when his back is turned and he has a bit of a go at the crowd all mid "She Sells Sanctuary" but without even stopping the song as the band play on through. Billy just takes up Ian's mike to offer the offender a chance to come up on stage: "If you want to throw shit at me throw it in my face and see what happens, and not at my back like a girl. OK? Let's Rock!" It's Billy's birthday tonight though so that is just a minor blight on proceedings.


After "Black Angel" it's time for band introductions followed by a brief break before the band returns for the second part of the set, that a lot of people are obviously keen to hear. Though I've really already got my money's worth tonight.



They don't disappoint, throwing themselves into a storming rendition of "Little Devil" with Ian sporting what looked a bit like an oilskin hoodie. The blood is flowing and there's a bit of a push for the front but I hold firm planted at the front, stage right. The crowd are getting a bit wilder now, a combination of more familiar tunes and a good few beers under the belt seem to make all the difference. Later songs like "Rise"; "Dirty Little Rockstar" and the rarely played and very heavy rendition of"Star" show us that the Cult always knew how to make great music even after Electric and Sonic Temple.


After "Star" we get a nice 'Happy birthday' to Billy sung by Ian and the band which segues into one of my highlights of the night, a great rendition of "Fire Woman" where the band just seem to peak beautifully. It doesn't let up though as we are straight into "Wildflower" and you can feel the whole room moving and singing in unison. The classic "Love Removal Machine" of course rounds out a great night.



It's a great show, a great set and a good few beers. And on the way out I speak to a couple of people who have heard of the which is cool, though again I'm drawn into a deja-vu situation when I find myself defending the Ace Frehley gig at Fremantle earlier in the year. I concede that yes, sometimes sentiment and the love of a band or an artist can colour a review. No need here though. this was a great gig and there are a lot of happy punters. I manage to score a pick and a drumstick too so all's well. All told it was an amazing night out in Perth that is just hitting winter.


Catch the Cult live on this tour. It reminds you just how good these guys are and from what I've read I think Perth got them on a particularly good night. It was Billy's birthday after all. Let’s hope it’s not another 15 years before we get another Cult tour down this way.