• Review

REVIEW: The Cult at PNC Pavilion

Photo Cred: Juan Azulay

Having been a Cult fan since the early 80's, I remember when Love came out. This was back when MTV used to actually play music, and that's when I caught The Cult in concert for the first time. I knew then that I would never be the same again.

 For me, there was Elvis Presley first and foremost (because I used to get to stay up late to watch his movies) but nothing ever rocked my world so hard again, until I saw Ian Astbury command a stage in my teen years around 1984 or 1985. He was otherworldly... Drawing on the neo-romanticism craze at the time, that was made wildly popular by such bands as Adam and The Ants and Duran Duran - The Cult were just as visually appealing as they were musically sonic.

Songs by The Cult such as "Nirvana," "She Sells Sanctuary" and "Rain," far exceeded the typical radio drivel at the time. They drew some of their influence from Native American culture which I found fascinating, and visually appealing. I would later dig deep and reach into the old Southern Death Cult stuff they did before just becoming The Cult. However none of that was like Love. Most people probably got hip or remember The Cult when they moved into the top 10, with 1989's Sonic Temple, which by all accounts had just as much swagger as any of the metal "cock rock" bands that were out at the time. But to me, The Cult just sounded better and were not cheesy and contrived like their contemporaries. The Cult were the definition of cool.

When you hear Billy Duffy play that White Falcon, it's a different sound. The tone is all its own, and makes you understand why so many guitar players are drawn to the Gretsch. I have seen The Cult play live only one other time, and it was nothing like the show at PNC Pavilion last night. They seemed to harken back to the early days before all of the fanfare happened. They played all the favorites from Electric and Sonic Temple, such as "Love Removal Machine," "Fire Woman," and "Sun King," which still hold their own.

Last night at PNC Pavilion is the best I have ever seen The Cult since the mid 1980's, and that's saying a lot because back then there was absolutely nothing better. So happy to see these guys back on their game. If you are an ardent Cult fan, or even just the casual listener, go see them, don't hesitate. You will be pleasantly surprised.