The Cult

August 22, 2013
Roseland Ballroom
New York, NY

Review by Ralph Greco, Jr.

For their “Electric 13” tour, the Cult are playing their entire Electric album from 1987 in the first set, and then featuring some tasty nuggets from their career in the second set. This is just what the band delivered at New York City’s huge Roseland Ballroom.

Opening with a bigger-than-big sounding “Wild Flower,” lead singer Ian Astbury and the boys rolled through a well-executed read of their celebrated late 80s album like fine martial artists. There were a few EQ problems early on, especially during “Peace Dog” and “Lil’ Devil,” but by “Memphis Hip Shake,” the band was rocking. By the time the incendiary “Love Removal Machine” was upon us, the band and the crowd were practically reeling in ecstasy.

Other than Billy Duffy — who has a guitar tone so unique it propels this band — bassist Chris Wyse was the other member to take note of here as he not only laid down his solid bass, but sang backing vocals. Astbury, of course, offered up his unique shaman-like moves (no wonder he worked with the Doors) and tambourine playing.

When the band returned for the second set, they sounded even stronger. Astbury had changed from his aviator-style jacket with fur-lined hood and dark glasses to a sleeveless denim vest. Making points this night in anti-technology rants, pokes and prodding at the crowd and against Spotify (“Don’t send them your money… They are the devil”), the singer proved to be a provocative front man. I’m not sure “For the Animals” from Choice of Weapon worked all that well, but then again “"Honey from a Knife" from the same album rocked.

As expected, “She Sells Sanctuary” blew the roof off the joint as the crowd bopped, shimmied and moshed about (this could have been the closer and nobody would have cared). However, the band did return for encores, playing a spectacular “Spirtwalker” and finishing with the equally killer “Sun King.”  It was a tight two hours plus in New York City from a superb rock band.

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