Gig review – The Cult – The Enmore Theatre, Sydney, 25 November 2016
By PERRY GRAYSON
SUPPORTERS The Art warmed the stage up for heavy rock royalty The Cult. While not a perfect fit for the opening slot, The Art played a set of shoegazing songs. Not my cup o’ tea, but a fair share of the crowd dug what they heard and saw. Drummer Jordan McDonald pounded the skins with abandon and looked as if he belonged in a metal band. The Art fulfilled their purpose and left the punters hungry for the heralded headliners.
The Cult came on fairly early and proceeded to rip the roof off the joint. The Enmore was packed to the rafters with hungry hard rockers. While The Cult’s latest offering, Hidden City, is a bit on the mellow side, there was no lack of energy poured out in their live performance. Beginning with “Wild Flower”, they blazed brightly through both catalogue and new tunes.
Axeman Billy Duffy lovingly caressed his Gretsch Falcons and Les Pauls and proved that he is still a consummate feel player. Billy’s tasty leads were accompanied by newcomer rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Damon Fox (from Big Elf), who added plenty of spice and texture to the already top-notch numbers. Tight current offerings like “Hinterland”, “Birds of Paradise” and “Deeply Ordered Chaos” proved that The Cult doesn’t have to rest on their laurels. Killer classics like “Lil’ Devil,” “Sweet Soul Sister”, “Fire Woman” and “She Sells Sanctuary” kicked The Cult into overdrive.
Vocalist Ian Astbury remains as one of the most recognisable front men in rock, with his penchant for twangy shouts of “Yeah-ah!” in between lyrics. Slicked out in black sunnies and bashing on a tambourine for most of the set, Astbury led his compadres like a snake-charming shaman. Drummer John Tempesta is no stranger to The Cult, having toured with them on many occasions. Tempesta’s solid skin beating and bassist Grant Fitzpatrick’s four-stringing provided the backbone, while Astbury and Duffy rocked sublimely and Fox put the icing on the cake. Encores “GOAT” and “Love Removal Machine” satisfied the rabid Cult fanatics and then some.