Cults are one of those bands that put out such a great, infectious debut album, you can’t help but question if their live show is going to live up to their awesome studio recordings. It’s thoughts like these that can really make or break a band. Thankfully, we were more than pleased with their live set this past Thursday, July 28 at the Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock.
The adorable Brooklyn duo comprised of Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion, have now added a few more band members to their live show with plenty of guitars, synth and some peculating drum beats. After grabbing some major indie attention with their 2010 three-song EP including the track “Go Outside,” Cults then moved on to produce one of the most catchy sing-along albums of 2011 with their self-titled debut released on June 7 off Columbia Records.
With a packed crowd at the very D.I.Y. Center for the Arts, Cults did not kick off with a bang. In fact, it was quite a slow start. The duo came off a bit timid, with Follin’s vocals definitely not representing their full potential, the sound also wasn’t loud enough to garner a powerful stage presence. As the crowd gently swayed from side-to-side, they weren’t fully engaged and many began to worry if their live set was going to be a lackluster bomb.
Some where after performing three tracks from their debut album, Cults did an amazing 360 and turned up the fuckin’ volume. Follin was a doll, shaking her hips and tossing her messy long hair as she busted out some soulful vocals. The lil lady definitely has a big voice and it was a pleasure to finally hear it. Along with her pipes, the band’s sound also kicked up a few notches and really came together. With his matching messy strands, Oblivion’s hair covered his face as he blasted out some hazy riffs while his male vocals were a complementary accent to Follin. With such a sweet sugary sound, where Follin comes off like a young Mary Weiss (Shangri-Las), Cults even had the boys in the crowd singing-along to their lovely melodies. I just about blew red wine out of my nose as I began to laugh hearing the tattooed guy next to me yell out the chorus to “You Know What I Mean.” He was really trying hard to exude his most feminine alto within a very manly exterior. It was pretty damn awesome.
Although their songs are not the deepest in lyrical content, their words boast teenage sentiments that we can all relate to while exuding a bittersweet nostalgia of a time that once was (at least for us folks 30-and-over). With a little more polish, Cults can really become a mesmerizing live act. The vocals, instrumentation and look are all there (even the witty stage banter), but these young musicians just need a few more notches under their tour belt to really own it. I look forward to seeing them in a year when they’ve become pros at owning the stage they walk on and the crowd before them.
Words: Sandra Burciaga
Photography: Monique Hernandez
Click through the photo gallery below for more photos of Cults and Guards!