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The Cult
With Stabbing Westward, Monster Magnet and Bird 3
Tu. June 19, 2001 - SDSU Open Air Theatre
Review by antiGUY

Back to Part I

Chapter IV: The Monster Magnet

This review is already proving longer than expected so I will keep my review of Monster Magnet brief and move on to The Cult. Monster Magnet is a band trying to keep the classic metal sound alive. For that I have to give them credit. I did enjoy their latest CD “God Says No”. Musically, they have a potent combination with an extreme rhythm section and the monster chops of lead guitarist, Ed Mundell. From a musical standpoint I give them really high marks. Where I found their live show lacking was in the vocal department. Dave Wyndorf sounds great on CD, but at least at this show he spent most of the time shouting the words instead of singing them. Ok--put that fact aside, his stage presence seemed a little too contrived. By his twentieth “Mother f***in’ Mother f***er” I was wondering if he had Tourette's syndrome. I know this is a metal band but it all seemed a little too cliché’ for me, Blackie Lawless can pull it off but with Dave Wyndorf it seems like an act. But hey, that’s just my take on it. There were plenty of people pounding their fist and banging their heads, but I’ve seen enough Priest, Motorhead, W.A.S.P. and Maiden shows to know the difference. 

Chapter V: The Seduction of The Cult

After a brief intermission the house lights went down and the crowd jumped to their feet cheering…. A large white tarp with the artwork from the Cult’s latest album, Beyond Good and Evil”, obscured the stage from view. Several purple triangles of light, set at a 45-degree angle from the lighting rig, shined through and then pulsated with a loud thumping sound like a heartbeat. The tarp drops, the stage is awash in light and sound as The Cult’s triumphant return to the stage is witnessed by a few thousand lucky followers in San Diego that night. It was as if they never left, the same intensity, the same showmanship that made The Cult superstars in the 80’s was there on the stage for all to see. As if singing from a secret spiritual place inside himself, Ian Astbury lifted the audience to a rapturous height as he sang, “We are not chained to the wheel /You are the tear, I have no fear/ You are so strange, I feel the same”, from the bands new hit single, “Rise”. 

Gone were the long black locks Ian wore in the old days, on this night he donned a black beanie; with the his new look he possessed a striking resemblance to John Taylor (From Duran Duran to our non-children of the 80's readers) . Billy Duffy hadn’t lost his magic fingers either. Those exceptional leads that became one of the touchstones of The Cult sound, filled the air. Although Billy experimented a bit with the more recent nu-metal tones and powerchords on the new album, his unmistakable style is still heard with every note.  Last but certainly not least, Matt Sorum and Billy Morrison could give any rhythm section a run for their money.  While the band had an unmistakable “Cultish” image in the 80’s, The Cult of 2001 looked more like a hard working punk band, content on giving the audience their all, musically; not worrying about “all that lip stick and hair spray rubbish”. 

Unlike other bands that return from a hiatus, The Cult wasn’t sticking the fans with a greatest hits show. They gave them the songs they knew and loved from the old days but they also supplied plenty of current favorites from the new album including; “Breathe” and the “Saint”. Older favorites also kept the fans cheering as Ian dashed about the stage like a man on a mission belting out his powerful vocals during “Lil’ Devil”, “Peace Dog”, “Rain”, “the Witch”. 

Ian joked from the stage “…C..U..L..T.. brings you the hits”, but he wasn’t far off, as the band delivered one hit after another. “Edie (Ciao Baby)”, brought back sweet memories of hits past. Before they broke into a letter perfect jam of “Firewomen”, Ian admonished the audience; “If you don’t know this one, you might as well go home now”, then that unforgettable Firewomen lead guitar riff filled the arena as Ian mesmerized the audience …”F… iiiiiiii…… eeeee….. rrrrrrrr….. eeee…. rrrrrr…. / Smoke, she is a rising/ fire, yeah / Smoke on the horizon….”  Utilizing seven years of stored up energy the band gave the audience every ounce of intensity they could muster with the next song, “Sweet Soul Sister” followed by another favorite from the new album, “Take the Power”. 

Astbury, Morrison, Sorum and Duffy had a few more tricks up their sleeve as they told the story of “Wildflower”. 

All good things must come to an end and you could feel the crowds’ disappointment when Ian announced that the band had only one more song for them that evening. At that point, Billy Duffy walked to the front of stage and lit into the intro to “She Sells Sanctuary” and the monetary lapse of despair that overtook the audience with Ian’s announcement was replaced with zealous joy. 

The Cult left the stage, but the crowd wasn’t done with them yet. As the cheers climbed to a fevered pitch, the band decided they hadn’t had enough either and returned to the stage for WAR! What usually comes after “WAR”? Yes a brief period of “Nirvana”. After witnessing this 120 minute testament to music, it was abundantly clear, The Cult had returned to reclaim their followers and had succeeded. If there were any doubters left in the audience to the true faith of The Cult, that doubt was washed away with the final song of the evening, “Love Removal Machine”.  Seven years isn’t really that long, but in a rock world without the music of the Cult to lead us, it was much too long. They weren't too far off when they named their new album "Beyond Good and Evil" because that night they went way beyond good. 

Appendix: More is not enough!

The Cult

Visit The Official  web site for The Cult

Purchase Beyond Good and Evil online and listen to sound samples

Check out the House of Blues site for the Beyond Good and Evil Tour!

Stabbing Westward

Visit The Official Stabbing Westward web site

Purchase Stabbing Westward's new CD online and listen to sound samples

Moster Magnet

Visit The Official Monster Magnet web site

Purchase God Says No online and listen to sound samples

Bird 3

Visit The Official Bird3 web site

Purchase Bird3's debut online and listen to sound samples

Photos by Debbie Seagle. Copyright 2001 Groove Quest Productions. May not be used without permission all rights reserved. 


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