REVIEW: The Cult

Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy of The Cult

Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy of The Cult - Credit: Archant

The Cult have always maintained the ability to deliver a fantastic live show, even if their recorded output has never since matched the heights of Love or Electric. That wasn't the case here though.

The Cult

UEA LCR, Norwich

A couple of The Cult's earlier albums are bona-fide all-time classic rock records. And although it's three decades since they were at the forefront of the rock 'n' roll scene, Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy (and their multitude of journeymen bandmates) have always maintained the ability to deliver a fantastic live show, even if their recorded output has never since matched the heights of Love or Electric.

All of which makes this performance all the more baffling. Once in a while Duffy lets rip with one of those riffs, but the guitarist has his back to his colleagues for most of the evening, and frontman Astbury looks bored for much of the time. The middle of the show teeters on becoming a dirge.


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With songs in their locker such as Rain, Fire Woman and Wild Flower, there's always going to be a few peaks. New song Birds of Paradise gives another chance for Duffy's simple yet powerful guitar work to come to the fore.

But with a few exceptions, it's not really until we get to She Sells Sanctuary and encores Spiritwalker and Love Removal Machine that the energy kicks in. And with keyboards dominating a number of songs midway through the evening, this doesn't sound like The Cult of old.

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If this were a new band, we'd be marvelling over their songwriting and predicting a great future for them. And, in fairness, this isn't a bad show. But The Cult have electrified us for decades, and this is nowhere near their best.

After the final song, Duffy takes the microphone and gives a heartfelt speech about how Glastonbury has changed over the years and how festivals aren't what they used to be.

It's the most passionate moment of the night.

Adam Aiken

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