AUGUST 22nd 2012

Review By: Richard Steven Hensey
Photos By: Peter Ruttan

As we head towards the end of summer and the temperatures are cooling down some music festivals are wrapping up and kids are prepping for back to school some of us had the opportunity to have British band the Cult, one of the meatiest altrock bands to emerge from the ‘80s visit Vancouver for a sold out show at the Commodore Ballroom.

The band offered a tour of its finest moments with the opener “Lil Devil,” from the classic “Electric” album, which kicked butt in spite of the fact that the band looked tired on stage. But by the time the five-piece tore into the revered anthemic “Rain,” from its storied “Love” album, the blend of heavy power chord rock, sturdy melodic lines rocked the crowd instantly. Front man Ian Astbury casted a mighty shadow from center stage, wearing black sunglasses and a furry coast and his throaty, sensual growl, and the dark tint of ’80s goth had everyone in the venue into a slamming assault. Duffy played like a virtuoso, conjuring heavy, dexterous playing that included plenty of wah-wah effects and controlled feedback. Bassist Chris Wyse also receives kudos for attacking his instrument as if it were a guitar, rather than standing still and plucking strings as so many bass players do on stage.

A big part of The Cult’s energy can be attributed to the fact that this is the first steady lineup they’ve had in years. The Cult has pretty much been Astbury/Duffy in the front and various heroes for hire. Now with drummer John Tempesta, bassist Chris Wyse and touring guitarist Mike Dimkich, The Cult has been a fully realized band for over six years now, and it shows in the enthusiastic way they interact onstage.

The Cult closed with the mandatory “She Sells Sanctuary” before returning with the 1984 gem, “Horse Nation” and finishing with “Love Removal Machine.” While the set list might not have satisfied die-hards (no “Sweet Soul Sister?”), many fans left the Commodore with a solid performance.