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Fan Reviews | Charlotte, NC

Brother Doug sent his review of the Charotte show, enjoy!


Hot Sticky Scene
The Cult Rock Charlotte, NC

The Cult
Love Live Tour '09
Charlotte, NC
Tues, Sept 8

Generation XL was in full effect Tuesday night when one of its most beloved bands, The Cult, hosted a middle aged rocker summit in downtown Charlotte, NC. A capacity crowd of 1,200 well behaved 40 year old rockers (that's 1,175 dudes and 25 chicks), clad in standard issue concert black, crammed into Amos', a very cool, no frills Music-Farm-meets-Tin-Roof-esque rock club with a bagin' PA, to stroll down memory lane with one of the best rock band of the 1980's as Ian Astbury and the gang played their timeless masterpiece from 1985, Love, at it's entirety. Long story short, even from their well oiled laurels, The Cult still rocks balls.

The Living Things from Las Vegas, NV took the stage at 9:00pm and rocked moderately for 40 minutes to a polite reception. They had some decent songs and they were pretty tight, but they were little too stiff for the rock n roll thing they were going for. I gave them the benefit of the doubt because their singer looked so much like Charleston's all time favorite rock star, Jodi Porter.

At 10:30, after an annoyingly long changeover, The Cult took the stage and, in front of a screen at the back of a stage that continually flashed much less cheesy images than you thought it was going to, ripped into "Nirvana" and proceeded to rock the place straight through the whole album for an ass kicking one hour set. After a short intermission, they came back out and played a handful of hits from later albums, pulling mostly from Electric and Sonic Temple, including, of course, "Love Removal Machine" and "Fire Woman."

When an older band charges it's fans a lot of money to lazily dip from the same old well over and over, it's usually pretty lame. And it feels cheap. Like a scam. Thankfully, this was not the case with this show. Not only did they sound phenomenal, but they reminded us how truly great Love is. Way ahead of its time and still relevant after 24 years, Love is a classic. It has such depth. Every song is great. It not only rocks but it also has a lot of intelligent artistry to it. And the sequencing of that album is genius. Hearing it performed lived reminded us how well it flows. It made for a perfect set.

The band was in top form. Guitarist Billy Duffy looked and sounded great on his beloved white Gretsch Falcon. The thick, dark, textured thing is right where he has always belonged and it was great to hear him work those tones again. Ace backing band Chris Wyse (bass), Mike Dimkich (rhythm guitar), and the extremely talented John Tempesta (drums) could not have sounded better.

But the man of the hour was Ian Astbury. Much more mature and subdued these days, he sounds as good, if not better than he always has. He has always had some of the best pipes in rock 'n' roll, and thanks to an excellent mix, we got to hear that unmistakable tone and perfect vibrato nice and loud. There is a whole generation of music lovers directly connected to his unique voice and to hear it is always a treat. It takes you right back to the good old days. That nostalgic togetherness was very palpable in the air Tuesday night. Everyone was smiling and singing along just like we did before we had child support and mortgages and health care reform troubles. 

Though there doesn't seem to be very much connection between Duffy and Astbury these days (they didn't once connect or even make eye contact the whole night), they both seemed sincerely inspired. You get the feeling that it's a treat for them to get to play all those great songs again. Ian mentioned how fond of the place and the vibe several times. Though slightly less sensationally entertaining, It's good to see a more astute and professional Astbury these days. He's obviously more there to serve the song than himself. But even without the hair and the moves and the unpredictable drunken rockstar histrionics, he's got vibe for days. He's a very heavy cat even now that he's all grown up.

The high points were the two mellow songs from the first set, "Brother Wolf, Sister Moon," and "Black Angel." With the more quite, slower songs, Astbury really got a chance to stretch out and even tastefully change the melody here and there ever so slightly. Rarely ever heard live, the mid tempo title track, "Love" is  nice and heavy and features Duffy's best lead work. And hearing Tempesta impeccably work the toms on "Big Neon Glitter" was quite nice.

Even though it was nothing new, The Cult rocked. Hard. I was originally thinking that this would be my swan song with the boys, but after the Charlotte performance I'm proud to say I would gladly drink from that well again any day. And take a wild guess which album is back in heavy rotation.

-Doug Walters
Charleston, SC

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