The lights went down and guitarist Billy Duffy stepped on stage, along with the rest of the band. He ripped into the riff to “Wild Flower” and the jam packed Metropolis erupted in a cheer. Along with Ian Astbury and a band of hired guns, The Cult tore the place down with an enthusiastic set of new stuff, old favourites and deep cuts. Their latest album “Hidden City” had the lion’s share of the setlist with 5 songs, but the classic records “Love”, “Electric” and “Sonic Temple” were well represented too. Favourites like “Rain”, “Sweet Soul Sister”, “Love Removal Machine” and “Fire Woman” recalled the band’s glory days, with fans singing along to the familiar melodies.
Ian Astbury’s voice has seen better days, but it was strong tonight. Of course, he has to adapt some songs to avoid the high notes, but the crowd’s loud singing makes up for some of it. The 54 year old singer showed more energy than on previous tours, and spoke quite a bit of French. Perhaps jilted by a small controversy that erupted from one of his on stage speeches the previous day in Ottawa, he kept the banter to a minimum, preferring to let the music do the talking.
Not many in the audience seemed familiar with the new material, and when Astbury asked for a show of hand of who owned “Hidden City”, precious few were raised. “Steal It!” would implore the singer. But the crowd gave the new songs a chance, listening patiently and attentively.
“She Sells Sanctuary” closed the main set brilliantly, and by then the crowd wouldn’t let the band go. After the customary wait, the musicians came back onstage to play another new song, G.O.A.T., perhaps a bold choice for an encore. “One last song” called out Astbury and there was no doubt what the closer would be. A three count on the hi-hat, a snare hit on four and Billy Duffy launched into the “Love Removal Machine” intro. Perhaps the song that Astbury modified the most, it could have lost some of its effectiveness if it weren’t for the fact that the crowd sang along so loudly. After the song’s frantic finale, the band said its goodbyes and left the stage. 90 minutes of densely packed rock.
The opening act was Montreal’s The Damn Truth, who were presenting their newly released second album “Devilish Folk”. Led by the powerful voice of singer/guitarist Lee-La Baum, the band delighted the crowd with their bluesy rock that set the table perfectly for the headliners. A great band that will go far.