Ian Astbury in a fur hat, certainly having earned the right to deem what passes for cool in rock, comes out to introduce his friend Kostas Seremetis’ new film entitled Resistance. It was greeted with mixed reviews, but you have to respect the fact that The Cult are embracing the multimedia age. This concert event itself was even accessible via simulcast through livenation.com
The five-piece scorched the stage with a surface that Ian proclaimed to be like skating on black ice. However, like a champion the chiseled powerhouse persevered in style, with tambourine smashing and dancing that surely caused the heavy downpour outside. He superbly bantered with the crowd and he was flawlessly assisted by the rebellion, sex, sorrow and love pulsating through those amplifiers turned up to 11. Billy Duffy’s riffs were as sharp and crystallized as shards of glass through an utterly gratifying setlist which boasted everything from “Sweet Soul Sister,” “Electric Ocean,” “Wild Flower,” “Fire Women,” “Love Removal Machine” and “Peace Dog.”
A chilling acoustic version of “Eddie (Ciao Baby)” was served alongside a keen insight on the part of the singer who, although not a native New Yorker himself, is enchanted by its promise and wonder. Remarking that now CBGB’s is gone and Continental is gone, we can now enjoy another cup of Starbucks. Thankfully, The Cult incited a riot in a place where rock clubs seem to be going the way of the dinosaur. Although, with a rhythm section made up of New Yorkers [minus rhythm guitarist Mike Dimkitch], bassist Chris Wyse and drummer John Tempsta, whose intensely electrifying chops prove there is no substitute for talent, the New York scene may experience a renaissance soon.
The Cult certainly merited an encore and came out with “Nirvana” and “She Sells Sanctuary,” and overall, the set was the perfect mixture of goth, psychedelic, glorified hooks and a labyrinth of majestically pointed rock. Ian definitely holds his place in the small pantheon of rock’s greatest frontmen.