The house was pretty packed at the Grove of Anaheim last Friday night. The crowd was a vibrant and anxious group, mixed of a variety of ages, solidifying that The Cult still has it. The iconic Cult frontman, Ian Astbury emerged from the stage wearing a bandana and a black hoodie. His hood was over his head and his sunglasses were dark. As lead guitarist, Billy Duffy played the first few notes, you automatically knew what was going to happen. Like a bat out of hell, The Cult went right into their 1987 classic, “Wildflower”. With no hesitation, the crowd ripped into a roar of excitement. Heads were banging and hips were shaking. The Cult was here.
Astbury’s voice is quite strong, it sounded just like it did twenty years ago. The energy stayed high as they played songs like, “Lil’ Devil, “Dark Energy” and of course they closed out the show with a great set of songs such as “Sweet Soul Sister”, “Fire Woman”, “She Sells Sanctuary”, and ended the night with “Love Removal Machine”. It was all the classics any Cult fan had hoped for. The band even included songs off their new album Hidden City. Although unfamiliar to many, fans seemed to be jiving off the new tunes.
The crowd for the evening wasn’t bad; however, there were a couple of guys causing some trouble in the pit area to which Astbury said to the guys, “this is for everyone, don’t bring your shit into our home.” Naturally, the crowd cheered at Astbury’s bold (and true) statement.
Later in the evening Astbury spotted a family who brought their young daughters. Showing that heart of gold, Astbury would interact with the kids at times. He even gave the two girls each a tambourine which put immediate smiles on their faces. Astbury asked if the girls had ear plugs and the parents said “no” which disappointed Astbury quite a bit, and I can understand why. Exposing children to live music is great, but do it responsibly (especially with loud rock bands). Ear plugs or children’s safety headphones are key.
As the show came to an end, and the band left the stage, Duffy stayed out a little longer to give a nice warm thank you to the crowd before exiting the stage.
It was a great show overall, however, The Cult had to end the night at about 10:30PM. Anaheim has a curfew — which totally blows — especially when it comes to rock shows. Needless to say, The Cult rocked the stage and they rocked it damn well.
Opening for The Cult were Grimy Goods local favorite, The Dead Ships. Unfortunately, I had missed their set due to horrific traffic. The Dead Ships upcoming new album CITYCIDE is our June 24 via Nevada. Preorder it here.
Words & Photography: Wes Marsala