It’s an awful evening to be stood outside watching bands, but that’s what several thousand devoted rock fans are doing at Cardiff Castle tonight for The Cult. Needless to say, it still makes for a very pretty backdrop – it just doesn’t have a retractable roof. A massive oversight, Mr Burges.
The rain does decide to lay off for a time when support act The Alarm take to the stage, with the ever-present Mike Peters dressed in a green leather jacket to match his guitar as they jump into Coming Home. The north Wales veterans run through a 45-minute set of crowdpleasers, including Warriors and Rain In The Summertime – ironic in itself, as the heavens reopen halfway through the set leaving only the most hardcore of Alarm fans dancing. If the band didn’t make many new fans today, you can probably blame that on the weather.
After an absolute soaking, there’s a noticeable hole in the crowd – people evidently deciding to call it a night – but as rock royalty Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy stroll onstage to front up The Cult, the ones who stayed are all gathered in anticipation. Opening with Rise, from 2000’s Beyond Good And Evil, is a peculiar choice, but from there, it’s straight into Sun King, a cut off classic Cult LP Sonic Temple, and the dancing begins.
Frontman Astbury – dressed like some sort of yoga guru tonight – still exhibits that Jim Morrison-esque voice as Sweet Soul Sister gets the singalong it deserves. The Witch and Lil’ Devil give Duffy the chance to pull his best rockstar poses off the side of the stage, while Astbury hands out tambourines to deserving members of the crowd. Duffy, for his part sporting a ‘stepped off the set of Sons Of Anarchy’ look, must be a frontrunner for world’s most underrated guitarist, having written so many classic, instantly recognisable riffs that transcended new wave into rock.
Latest Cult album Under The Midnight Sun receives some love, with Vendetta X and Midnight getting a runout; Astbury, tongue firmly in cheek, informs the audience he plans on spoonfeeding us the new album, and that Sonic Temple is not the only album they have. A combination of Here Comes The Rain (please, not again!) and She Sells Sanctuary takes us into a short breather for the band, before they re-emerge with Peace Dog and Love Removal Machine.
A quick look around the field tonight was like being back at the old Cardiff rock club Bogiez circa the early 90s, while The Cult rolled back the years with a lively, thoroughly entertaining set – one the band themselves seemed to enjoy as much as the now slightly drier crowd.
The Cult + The Alarm, Cardiff Castle, Tue 4 July
words CHRIS ANDREWS photos ANTHONY JAMES