Great Hall, Cardiff University Students Union, Fri 18 Oct
In the late 80s, The Cult chucked goth and the UK in for a Stateside cock-rock rebirth and to sate the mother of all America fetishes. Ian Astbury knows exactly how he wants to be remembered 30 years after Sonic Temple went nuclear; as a swaggering, desert-trotting Yank raised in Yorkshire instead of the Mojave, right down to the sunglasses.
“We get a bit more energy going in the States! This is rock‘n’roll!” he chastises through shades – to what seems like a perfectly good crowd to me. All the right hits get sung along to, hands went in the air followed by a few pints, a couple of sweaty shirts came off: life is good. Bands feed off a good crowd, and the sweat box is clearly vibing with wailing Manc axe-titan and fellow founder Billy Duffy, despite whatever the American accent on centre stage says.
The band rattle through the hit-studded Sonic Temple album and all the other Cult standards from those goth days and Electric, and in between strobe flashes the years just fall away. Mates go hoarse together trying to reach Astbury’s highs, husbands and wives in matching leather jackets dance together by the front railings and strut around like they were still ready to smack you one if you tried to push in.
The band swiftly sidestep the rock has-been threat every ‘anniversary’ tour offers, and Astbury’s vocals still sound pretty fresh, still able to ring way above the registers of his peers and the hubbub. The band have a pretty expansive library of hits and there’s plenty of competition for loudest singer in the venue. “How about we wake up a bit in here UK, get things moving?”, the man in sunglasses calls.
The call for encore comes with the one big Cult hit still to go. Billy came out and took the mic, still as Manc as they come: “This next one we played the first time we played, which was somewhere in Wales. Anyone tell me where?” The crowd yammered and shouted.
“Whoever said Swansea, you’d be right.” Just after him, Ian waits to butt in.
“What do they win?” Ian says.
“Your fuckin’ sunglasses mate.”
The crowd cheers.
words JASON MACHLAB