The Cult




live review


London Hammersmith Odeon

FOR PEOPLE of my vintage dry ice, strobe lights, dubious/obvious backdrops, a wah-wah pedal, awake dormant memories of pre-punk years and emotionless rock bands operating on a formula which involved all of these things. Those born more recently can find an enthusiasm evidently unabashed by such totems. The paradoxical moral perhaps being that the youth of today don't know how bad a time they're having when they think they're enjoying themselves.

There were people standing on seats, roaring, cheering, waving, whooping – and that was just for the intro tape. One song into the set lan Astbury says: "This is our night. Fuck the seats."

Fuck the seats! I imagined carnal entwinings of wood and flesh, bouncers looking in horror at this generation of covert seat fuckers. But everything that Astbury says is liable to be taken in a way that it isn't meant.

In the tradition of early '70s performers he's a poor articulator but adept at employing the pout (occasionally), the kick (often) and doesn't look self-conscious without a shirt. He fills a vacancy for such a figure and fills it well – but a bearer of cogent ideas he is not.

The Cult's music runs between narrow boundaries. It reaches a zenith with 'She Sells Sanctuary', a refining of their abilities which makes the rest of the set sound obsolete. Only with 'Resurrection Joe' do they hint at alter-energies, bursting out of their usual straitjacket and into something wilder and almost attractively sinister.

At the end, another echo of the early '70s with an encore segue of 'Wild Thing'/'Louie Louie', Astbury dived into the crowd. He reappeared pulling his trousers back up his legs, looking for his shoe and pursued by an eager posse of young females. "Will the groupies please leave the stage," he said with an unfortunate narcissistic smile.


mick sinclair

any use of the text on this page is subject to permission

If you enjoyed reading this article, or even if you didn't but appreciate the effort that went into making it available for free viewing, please make a donation (via the button below) to help pay for upkeep of this large and unique archive.