First to hit the stage at this Cult headliner was Local Edmonton band Naked Beauty. They had just managed to put a single to bed at 8pm on the night of the show. They hit the stage at 8.30! Tee shirts are close to selling out! On stage they were raw. Drum and guitar is brash, technical, loud and lucid, clever, yet cool. These guys are still very young and still teething. Once the Wisdom teeth show through, these guys will be huge. It’s a given.
Gloryhound are a little older, but they too are fresh, energetic and animated. They really want it all. Making their first impression on the West on this tour with The Cult, these Halifax, NS, natives are eager to put themselves out there. They have a different sound, but it’s for certain real rock n roll. Even with a live show mishap and broken gear, they survive, adjust, adapt and get it right. Delivering a raunchy and raucous set, singer Evan Meisner appears confident and a little cocky. It gives him just the right amount of edge. Gloryhound will be welcomed back to Edmonton with open arms.
The Cult frontman Ian Astbury and his friend fluffy the sheep, didn’t seem able to engage their audience from the get go. With his unmistakable voice, the audience, made up mostly of middle aged fans from the heyday, were aware that Astbury was in the house, but the flamboyance and arrogance of the once beautiful singer had seemingly burned out. Wearing dark sunglasses throughout allowed Astbury to avoid eye contact with anyone. Astbury as a showman seemed to be no more; he stood almost central for the entire show and barely payed heed to his band mates or anyone else present.
Musically the band was sound. Billy Duffy looked as he had back in the bands heyday, but alas, the lack of chemistry looked to be making his job difficult. Bringing back the big hits and playing new music from Choice Of Weapon, the standard of production was spot on, but the audience was watching a bunch of guys that seemed as if they had been forcibly placed on stage and couldn’t wait for it to be over. Was this part of the show? No-one will really ever know!
Whatever your opinion on the live show, it cannot be taken away from the headliners that they have a library of great music. 2012’s Choice Of Weapon is a great listen and a smart purchase, but if you are expecting a live show reminiscent of your youth, a show with gothic grandeur and glam rock gods, forget it.
Article and The Cult photographs by Karen Graham Aug.-30-12