Cults a bit uneven at El Rey

photos of cults

Tuesday night at the sold out El Rey Theatre, burgeoning New York band Cults rifled through songs at a brisk pace in front of an enthusiastic Los Angeles crowd.

At times, vocalist Madeline Follist was difficult to make out, but the sound improved as the gig moved forward.

Coming off their critically acclaimed album Static, released just last month, Cults is midway through their tour to support it. Upon hearing them play a fourteen song set, it’s clear to this writer they haven’t yet been able to translate their indie pop sound from the studio to the stage.

Furthermore, they lack much stage charisma with Follist more or less just swaying back and forth, closing each song with a quick “thank you”. Though cute in delivery and a look that surely has indie rock fans fawning over her, one hopes her and her band mates will continue to develop on that front. Given that they toured with Passion Pit, a band known for having tremendous stage presence, one would have thought they would’ve picked something up from them.

A passionate crowd showed up in support, with a fairly large number of attendees knowledgeable to the band’s lyrics. It was quite impressive to see given the band has been together only since 2010.

The band cobbled together a quality set that featured high points in hit “You Know What I Mean” and vocal duet “Bumper” as well as a good number of songs from their latest studio release.

A sort of more upbeat Mazzy Star, Cults will be cult favorites due to their unique sound (pardon the pun). They’ll need some work if they intend on moving up the circuit and out of the smaller clubs like the El Rey, which was a nice fit for where the band is currently at.


I had a chance to see Cults a few weeks ago in Las Vegas at the Life is Beautiful Festival. They played late on the first day of the weekend, and by then I was as equally unfamiliar with their music as I was smashed and far from sober. Still, I remember being impressed as I listened from the back of a large crowd.

It was my first time seeing a show at the El Rey Theatre, and I was impressed. It felt like a much smaller to scale version of San Francisco’s Fillmore, my absolute favorite music venue. The next time a band I like even remotely plays there, I will be there.

Words: Mark E. Ortega

Photography: Casey Lewis

Check out our photos below of Cults and opening acts, Sacco and Moodrings!








sacco photos

sacco photos



moodrings band photos

moodrings photos


For more photos of Cults and opening acts, Sacco and Moodrings, click through the photo gallery below!