The Cult

Children of the wolf
By JAMES PARKER  |  March 27, 2006

KICKING ASS: Ian Astbury still shivers a wicked tambourine.Embrace the wind with both arms! The Cult kicked ass at Avalon a week ago Wednesday — beery, white, early-40s, predominantly male, and somewhat non-reactive ass. They kicked it repeatedly, with high professional zest, looking for signs of life. “Boston . . . what the fuck?” grumbled Ian Astbury from beneath his headband. “I’m just not used to these chilled-out audiences.” He diagnosed the problem: “Too much Starbucks and TV.” Astbury still does his stamping-in-the-ceremonial-ashes dance, and he still shivers a wicked tambourine. After all these years, the affectations of the shaman are intact. “This is a living, breathing band,” he assured us. “You can move to the music. I won’t judge you.” Guitarist Billy Duffy, his great golden head inclined in disapproval, was sterner: “Are you just gonna stand there? Trust me, I do this for a living. Get involved!”

“Li’l Devil,” “Rain,” “Spiritwalker” . . . Only the Cult sound like the Cult. Their unique biker-goth fusion, the AC/DC undercarriage toiling sweatily in the mystic shimmer of the Duffy riffs, is to be marveled at. And Astbury, with his tang of super-bullshit and his panting, clotted voice, has always been a hell of a frontman. “Yeah!” . . . “C’mon now!” . . . “Wooh!” . . . “Nah-nah-nah!” — after a certain secret number of these incantations had been uttered, the crowd began to go solemnly berserk. No longer enormous, the Cult have settled for being massive: this was a stadium show condensed to Avalon-scale. The wind roared, arena-size soundwaves and high-priestly flatulence. “There!” said Astbury, pleased, after flattening the place with “Wild Flower,” “That got the endorphins going!” For an encore, Duffy sat down next to Astbury and cradled an acoustic guitar. Classicism dispersed like incense through the club: the Cult “unplugged”! Was it awesome? Was it intense? You tell me — I went home. ’Cos I’m a wolf child, baby.
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  Topics: Live Reviews , Ian Astbury, THE CULT, THE CULT
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