MONTCLAIR, NJ—I remember first buying the album Love by The Cult. It wasn’t 1985, but I probably did have too much hairspray and eyeliner on at the time. I knew a couple of their hits and liked Ian Astbury’s ruffled shirts, so I figured it’d be a good filler record to have in my collection. Instead of lumping it with the rest of the fillers that made few trips to my turntable, it ended up getting listened to repeatedly. So when I saw that The Cult was playing their entire Love album at The Wellmont Theatre, I was curious to see what these guys sound like after forming 26 years ago.
No opening band? Awesome! Starting the show close to an hour-and-a-half late? Eh! I wished there was an opening band instead of hearing the same five songs on loop over the speakers. I did however enjoy listening to the grandpa Goths talk about seeing Southern Death Cult “back in the day.” It sucks being born around three decades too late.
They did a great job playing through Love. “Hollow Man” sounded enormous and the crowd roared once “She Sells Sanctuary” started. Pleasing fans with other hits such as “Fire Woman” and “Wild Flower,” The Cult played a solid set of guitar howls, crooning vocals, and sultry bass lines. Ian Astbury looked like “L.A. Women”-era Jim Morrison with his grizzly beard but his vocals haven’t aged a bit. Even though he looks nothing like he did in the ‘80s, he did have on leather gloves and a raccoon tail hanging by his hip. Guitarist Duffy blew me away with his echoed solos and white holy body guitar that looked bigger than he was.
Though I was expecting Astbury’s infamous tribal hip shakes, instead he complained about how the concrete stage was giving him pain from his recent hip surgery and commanding the Wellmont to use the stage lights instead of the spotlight. What a rock star! The psychedelic video in the backdrop of nature, people, and trippy effects made the show better and livened up the lack of movement from the band. By the end of the show, Astbury threw the tambourine he was playing into the crowd, Duffy threw a bunch of picks, and the overpriced beer fueled crowd went nuts over them. Let’s hear it for big hair, leather, and combat boots!
According to Ian Astbury, there are rumors of The Cult going into the studio soon, so hopefully they’ll have a new album out within the next year or two.