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The Cult Shows Up

The Cult
House of Blues
Chicago, IL
Dec. 19, 2001
The Cult
Is Ian singin' the blues?

Review by Scott Stegenga
Photos by Barry Brecheisen

After passing through the Chicago area twice this year to promote Beyond Good and Evil, The Cult came to The House of Blues again for a rock show like only The Cult could produce, or so I thought. I've been a big fan of Ian and Billy (and Matt too) for years and followed them from the days of Southern Death Cult.The Cult Unfortunately, this show had something missing. On the surface it was a proper rock show delivered Cult style. Ian was dressed in all black leather (complete with a black bandana ) and Billy stood to his left with a shiny blond Les Paul. They played songs from the new album Beyond Good and Evil as well as fist-clenching classics like "Rain", "Edie (Ciao Baby)", "The Witch," "Wild Flower," and the quintessential gothic dance anthem "She Sells Sanctuary." Even the ladies were swooning at Ian Astbury's sexual essence (and throwing the occasional lingerie on stage) sweating with every every shake of his tambourine(s).
So what was missing? Was it the full-on energy we expect? Did we need a Roger Daltreyesque microphone cord spin around the head? Why did Bill Duffy look like he was simply going through the motions as he played his classics? The rhythm guitars weren't reaching the beats of the drummer and Ian's voice wilted during various high points. Maybe they had a sour attitude and were a bit off tune because they haven't played a show in a while after they canceled some recent Aerosmith dates. Although that shouldn't be a viable excuse for a veteran rock band like the Cult. I came open minded and in a receptive mood. I really wanted this show to pack a punch like the good old days, but maybe the boys were just having a bad day.
The crowd of black adorned bikers, Goths, and hard rock fans chugged down their beers and seemed to have had a blast. Question is did the alcohol help dull their senses?
I appreciate the band at heart and will always be a fan, but this time, I felt something important was missing along with the absence of Ian's long hair.

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