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Fan Reviews | Manchester 2011

The Cult @ Manchester Academy, Sunday 30th January 2011

 Review // Vicki Powell

The Cult returned to Manchester, this time to play the Academy, in a sort-of homecoming for legendary guitarist, Billy Duffy. With his Gretsch White Falcon, it only took a few chords of 'Every Man and Woman Is a Star' to remind us all why he is such a respected musician. The Cult have been doing this for the best part of three decades and their tight musicianship and loyal following is testament to this. 'Rain' is well received and it's fair to say that their extensive back catalogue stands up well to the tests of time. Ian Astbury still cuts a striking figure on stage with his trademark tambourine, long hair and leather jacket and I am impressed that his voice comes over so well, especially seeing as the sound for support act Masters of Reality was less than perfect.

The set is accompanied by big-screen visuals which have been themed for the set, with Native American imagery for 'Horse Nation' and plenty of footage from overseas struggles such as the Vietnam war and the Tibetan freedom fighters during 'Saints are Down'. This could have seemed cliched but manages to enhance the show instead. In a nod to their venue tonight, Astbury announces that they "stole this bassline from Peter Hook" before introducing 'Dirty Little Rockstar' with a snippet of New Order's 'Blue Monday'.
There is a short interlude after 'Ghost' where a film is showed about a reservation in South Dakota which was the setting for one of their album covers. The crowd seem to see this as an opportunity to go to the bar and it seems like an odd place in the set for a break. The band are soon back on stage though with 'Embers' and 'War' is probably one of the highlights of the evening showing the band full of what Astbury terms "visceral and real emotion".
There are a couple of moments where Astbury seems less than pleased with lighting and cameras but they overcome this to bring the end of the main set to a storming close with the hits 'She Sells Sanctuary' and 'Love Removal Machine'. Billy Duffy's guitar work in the former sends chills down my spine.
The band return to the stage, Astbury still in leather jacket and gloves, to play 'Rise' and then a blistering rendition of 'Spiritwalker'. In a nod to Astbury's work with the Doors, the final song is 'Break On Through', which although it is well done, it seems a little unnecessary. Still, the crowd show a great deal of appreciation for the hour and three quarters set and I am pleased to have seen the band pull out such a great performance.

SETLIST:
Every Man and Woman is a Star
Rain
Horse Nation
Sweet Soul Sister
White
Saints are Down
Dirty Little Rockstar
Nirvana
Ghost
Film Interlude
Embers
War
Go West
Wild Flower
Until The Light Takes Us
She Sells Sanctuary
Love Removal Machine
-Encore-
Rise
Spiritwalker
Break on Through

8/10
Vicki Powell

 

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