The Cult @ O2 Academy, Leeds. 18.01.2011
Lights darkened, carpet laid out, crowd cheering, a skull and crossbones blazened across the stage. The Cult are about to begin the first night of their ‘Destroy Europa’ tour, and by the sounds of it, they are up for a fight. They take to the stage, silhouettes, Ian Astbury instantle recognisable, rabbit tails hanging from his belt and his foot stomping. The band begin, and the crowd go wild.
Opener ‘Everyman and Woman is a Star’ is the perfect way to announce the return of The Cult but it is second song ‘Rain’ that really send the place into a frenzy, just as you’d expect. The combination of Billy Duffy’s riffs with Astburys howling vocals and his thrashing tambourine is distinctive. Exactly what the crowd came to see.
In true Cult style, they don’t stick to safe ground tonight and play a lot of lesser known songs from their less commercial past, even pulling out songs from their ‘Death Cult’ days, like ‘Horse Nation’. This tour is not about playing a classic album from start to finish in the way their ‘Love Live’ tour did a couple of years ago. This tour is for the new fans and the die hard fans, and all that is in between. Seeing all incarnations of the band thrown together, playing songs from every one of their albums, something for everyone.
At times throughout the evening, the crowd really aren’t great. Either something to do with the bands choice of tracks or too much booze, i’m not quite sure. But Ian is Ian and gives as good as he gets, claiming that he knows where he came from and how he got there.
Classics like ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Spiritwalker’ leave the band breathless and the fans baying for more, but they leave the stage for a short break in order to show a short film directed by Astbury himself. Focusing on his obsession with Native American history and culture, it does leave the audience slightly bemused, and clearly they just want more music.
New song ‘Embers’ is a highlight of the set tonight but it is the anthemic ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ that is clearly the best song of the night. It always will be, every time they play it. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest rock songs of all time. The enthusiasm pours from the band, and the fans, with people literally being thrown around the place.
The set ends with ‘Love Removal Machine’. A perfect ending. Then encore of ‘Ghost Dance’ and they are gone. Tonight The Cult remind everyone why they are such an important band and that they have not lost it. As for Ian, he is better than ever.