Gig Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Kal Ahmed

The Cult

“Don’t put your hands up to me man… I can see you, putting up your fists, it’s violent, we need a cool vibe here… none of that Peaky Blinders s**t” lead Singer Ian Astbury boomed over the microphone to an overzealous member of the crowd. “We’re all adults, we need to show love, if it kicks off by you we need to intervene and look after each other”. The sweaty crowd had started to get leery in the crowded conditions within the Birmingham O2 Institute and cheered after The Cult leader reached out to his disciples to make it a peaceful night.

The Cult

The throng of fans had been eagerly waiting for nearly twenty minutes past the original allocated start time for the 80’s idols to come onto the stage, classics such as ‘Li`l Devil’ and ‘Rain’ made the crowd bounce up and down within their mosh pit as if they were back in 1983 when the band first emerged onto the scene, but the mainly testosterone filled forty to fifty year old audience lacked the eyeliner from those days.

The Cult

Guitarist Billy Duffy slayed his trademark Gretsch and Les Paul guitars to ‘Birds of Paradise’ and ‘In Blood’ from the eagerly awaited ‘Hidden City’ album and at 54, if the complex riffs and immense sounds hadn’t captured your attention, then his chiseled jaw and strong arms had the minority of female audience members mesmerised.

The Cult

Ian Astbury’s powerful vocals and distinctive sound kept the crowd enthralled, belting out their hit ‘Sweet Soul Sister’ with the crowd clapping and singing along as well as playfully playing the tambourine chucking one into the front row of the audience encouraging participation. His cheeky comments reminded the audience that he was very much aware of his surroundings on the night as he mocked a Brummie accent calling out the guy on the Balcony he caught on his phone texting “I’ll be back home for eleven missus, can you get my tea ready!”…  “Smile you’re at a rock concert” he told another member to cheers of his devoted and loyal fans.

The Cult

He clocked a teenage boy with his father in the front row nodding his head with the music with a look of awe on his face and ensured to recruit the next generation into The Cult, passing him another of his tambourines to paint this moment onto his heart forever, before a phenomenal finale of hit ‘She sells sanctuary’ to lift the crowd to the biggest climax of the night, a song quite fitting to a venue which was previous known for many a year under the name ‘The Sanctuary’ before becoming one of Birmingham’s O2 venues.

The Cult

Astbury’s vocals did not disappoint, combined with his stage presence and showmanship he left the crowd begging for an encore, ‘Love removal Machine’ was the perfect end to the evening leaving the venue on a high. The Cult are recruiting more followers completing their UK tour with dates in Leeds, Newcastle and finishing in Norwich on the 10th March , if you get the chance to see this British rock band, then you won’t be disappointed.

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