5 October 2013 at Festival Hall
Iconic band The Cult had a big reputation to live-up to. Formed way back in 1983, the band has ridden the various waves of fashion and fortune and has found itself battered but sailing along in the here and now. This tour, Electric 13, is the prologue to the new album, which is due for release next year, though the guys aren't yet performing any new material.
Electric was The Cult's third album, and one of their most popular. This album marked the band's departure from the post-punk style of their first two albums, and placed them well and truly in the midst of the heavy rock and metal scene of the '80s. The punters at Melbourne's Festival Hall were out to witness Electric being performed in its entirety, and to relive the days when metal received adequate airplay and promotion.
We cannot expect The Cult to be the same as they were in 1987, when these songs were first released. Let's face it, sometimes time passing can bring sophistication and a level of accomplishment that only experience generates. On this night though, there was something missing. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what had gone astray, but at a number of points during the night, the performance lost momentum and punters were leaving the building. Some of the songs dragged along like they were only there because they had to be and not because they had anything worthy to contribute to the show.
Ian Astbury began his musical career with noble aspirations but in Melbourne he resorted to foul language and a general disrespect for the Melbourne (and Sydney) crowd, commenting that Melbourne particularly had "gone all hipster". There were magical moments though, which redeemed the whole experience for many. "She Sells Sanctuary", although not from the Electric album, got the fans dancing and showed that Astbury can still hit all the notes he needs to. Billy Duffy is one awesome guitarist. The old sea dog can work the crowd better than anybody and his solos were truly artful. "Love Removal Machine" was another highlight along with "Lil' Devil", perhaps because we could all participate and sing along.
In some ways The Cult disappointed, but we couldn't help but look in awe at times and know that we were seeing legends of yore in action. If Astbury manages to lose the rambling monologues and the 'attitude' then The Cult may truly hit the mark again one hundred percent.
Line-up: The Cult
Reviewer: Sharon Brookes