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For the LOVE of the Cult

House of Blues - Chicago, IL, USA - September 2, 2009

by Jackie Lee King

The CultThe Cult, as with many other artists currently touring, are giving fans a treat in that they are featuring a specific album and playing it cover to cover live. The record in question is their iconic release "LOVE." The band was a little late getting to the stage, and the opening song (track one, side one) "Nirvana" seemed a little sluggish, but the rest of the first set was a perfect memory of 1985.

The Goth Rock scene was well represented, but upon the completion of the first set, about 40 people left the audience. Granted, this was a show nearing the venue's capacity, and their presence wasn't missed, but the tone of the evening took a sharp nosedive into vehemence as the band came back to the stage to play their more metal music.

Too much testosterone in the audience equals bad behavior. Several fights broke out, not because audience members were getting into the band, but that they were getting in the way of each other. No concert etiquette was present at this show, and even some of the ladies, who were up for a little necessary roughness, eventually chided their boyfriends (due to obsessive groping and butt smackin) with the look of 'ok, that's enough of that.' At the end of the show we were herded out a different exit to allow paramedics to attend to one audience member sustaining major injuries.

At times Ian Astbury (Vocals) seemed frustrated with the crowd. It was like he knew that they didn't really care about the background of some of the songs, like the Celtic origin of "Black Angel" (which had never been performed live with previous tours). He would point out members of the audience and attempt some sort of witty banter, most of which was lost due to excessive noise in-between songs. It seemed more like an out of control party where the bars were slammed, drinks were spilled, and hi-fives were traded all the way around. There were more button downed shirts than concert shirts at this show; which equals wrong!

The stage show was pretty simple, anything else would have been a waste. These are great songs, with vivid lyrics and should be enjoyed for all of their splendor. Most of the backing images were lost on the audience considering myriad of cultish images that were being hurled into our faces (i.e. Kenneth Anger's "Lucifer Rising"). At one point a pair of panties was thrown at Ian to which he kicked them off the stage and commented that "Do I look like Bret Michaels? He single handedly ruined rock and roll."

Ian seemed slightly apathetic but gave the crowd what they wanted and made it easy for them, "Here's a song for all the metal heads; this is 'Rise.'" This garnered almost as much attention as when they performed "She Sells Sanctuary." It seemed that he just wanted to get the show over with by making more idle (or should it be Idol) conversation with the audience while the band switched guitars and retuned for the next number.

He was so distracted that his intro to "Dirty Little Rockstar" (querying the audience if they liked their rock stars a little more Disney like) came a little premature as the band launched into the song "Fire Woman" At the completion of the song, he paraphrased the same speech as they finally did the song that he was expecting.

At the closing of the show he kept on thanking the audience, but noted that there was no smoking, no drugs, no nudity. I think that was a hint for the crowd. It just seemed that the audience was so into themselves that they forgot that there was a band performing on stage. Make no mistake, it was a show that I've been waiting to see since high school, I just didn't know that I would be physically transported back to that place. A good time was had by all, I'm sure, but a lot of the dark brooding and cultish aspects were lost in the scent of beer and speed stick. And dude, if you or your wasted girlfriend keep slamming into me I'm going to make sure you pick a fight with several of the bouncers and get your ass kicked out of here.

SET LIST

  • Nirvana
  • Big Neon Glitter
  • Love
  • Brother Wolf Sister Moon
  • Rain
  • The Phoenix
  • Hollow Man
  • Revolution
  • She Sells Sanctuary
  • Black Angel

Break

  • Electric Ocean
  • Wildflower
  • Illuminated
  • Rise
  • Fire Woman
  • Dirty Little Rockstar
  • Love Removal Machine

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