Live Review: The Cult Strut Prime Material on ‘Electric 13′ Tour

Published on August 27th, 2013


SILVER SPRING, M.D. – Whether the record was worn out on a bedroom stereo when it came out in 1987 or discovered some years later, The Cult made fans jump for joy when they announced the ‘Electric 13′ tour.

As the name suggests, the American tour would involve playing one of the band’s most successful and cohesive albums in its entirety in front of audiences in the year 2013, more than 25 years after its release.

The looming question was whether or not the band would have enough raw energy to bring its jarring, melodic sound back to life.

At the Fillmore, a new venue in Silver Spring which is fast becoming a cultural epicenter for the D.C. suburb, it was time to show the goods.

Ian Astbury swaggered out to the microphone after the saccharine guitar riff of “Wild Flower”, when enough time had been given to start the packed crowd jumping. His signature tambourine shake during the song’s chorus only intensified the energy felt in the venue, as head banging began to infect twenty-somethings just as much as it did those old enough to be their parents.

Thanks in large part to Astbury’s stellar and oft-imitated voice, The Cult was firmly in control from song one.

For the next fifty minutes they sliced through the likes of “Love Removal Machine” and “Aphrodisiac Jacket” with fine precision. This first half of the show was an accurate transport to the 1980s, which in this case is the highest compliment.

Only the multitudes of fans with their cell phone cameras gave away the current year, but Astbury was quick to spot and scold them.

“That’s Martin Scorsese over there,” he teased one amateur videographer.

His subsequent pep talk about living in the moment might have seemed clich√© if it wasn’t for the fact that the show had clearly earned undivided attention.

In the 1980s, no band sounded quite like The Cult. In the years to follow, countless bands would try to create their sound. This day in Silver Spring, Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy were in the flesh, playing the stuff of inspiration.

It deserved better than a nod every now and then from someone engrossed in their email.

An entirely new setlist awaited on the other side of ‘Electric’, containing a well-rounded mix of the expected hits, the new material, and some rarities.

All the while, the band held together tightly and Astbury looked truly menacing in sunglasses with slicked hair, and a fur-leather hybrid coat to boot.

This band has more memorable guitar licks than you can count, and their new album continues the trend with “For the Animals”, a full-throated rocker they tested out near the end of the show.

There’s more than enough punk energy in The Cult to provide a thrilling rock show.

Maybe the ‘Love 14′ tour is next.

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