By James Currie
The Cult made a stop in Chicago along their 2016, “Alive In The Hidden City Tour” and the fans came out in droves to prove we’re no hidden city.
Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy and John Tempesta brought a live line up that seriously rocked the walls of the House of Blues. It was standing room only and even that’s putting it lightly. I don’t know how they decide what “capacity” is in this venue, but you couldn’t move. We were literally packed in like sardines. (See photo below. This is what you walked up to if you tried getting in to see the show after it started. A wall of bodies at the top of the stairs with nowhere to go.) Great for the band, terrible for everyone else including security, waitstaff and bulging bladders.
After a late start, The Cult finally took the stage around 9:30PM. The lights dimmed, a green haze filled the stage accompanied by a stereophonic tribalistic sound scape before Billy ripped into “Dark Energy”.
The stage was hauntingly barren. No logo. No backdrop besides a full length curtain. No stage props. It was obvious, they were not here to do anything but rock our faces off and that they did.
This tour was in support of their new album, “Hidden City”. Twelve new tracks produced with long time collaborator, Bob Rock. Released on Cooking Vinyl, this marks the bands 10th official studio release and fourth time working with Bob Rock. “Hidden City” is the bands last of the trilogy records they started back in 2007 with “Born Into This” and continued to 2012’s, “Choice of Weapon”.
Ian Astbury’s voice was as powerful as ever. He is still one of today’s best front men for rock music. Always poised and precise. He connects with the audience as well as the band. He’s the Sun King Baby.
Billy Duffy is another professor of cool. His style, guitars and playing are what today’s youth should model after. He’s not over the top or flashy, but you know his look and sound.
John Tempesta has been drumming with the band for a decade now. He fits right in. Hidden City is his fourth album to play on. More than any other drummer in The Cults history. It’s great to see this gel happen. He’s a great musician and his style and sound fit the band like a glove.
The rest of the backing band consists of a traveling group of semi regulars. They compliment and maintain the sound as a good backing band should with tight bass, rhythm guitar and keys.
They played a surprising number of tracks off the new album, “Hidden City”, which was great. Don’t get me wrong, I love the old songs. They are as much a part of my life as ordering my first legal beer or graduating college, but when you’ve seen The Cult as many times as I have, getting something new added to the set is a warm welcome. They played almost half the album starting with “Dark Energy” then “Hinterland”, “Bird of Paradise”, “Deep Order Chaos” and “G O A T” peppered throughout the night, off of the 2016 release.
Don’t worry, you’ll still get to hear some classics. Astbury knows this as he made comment during the show, “Ok everyone, I’m watching you. Just because you don’t know the songs yet doesn’t mean you can get out your phones and see how many cat videos you can like.”
I’ve listened to and followed The Cult for almost 30 years, starting with “Electric” in 1987. I’ve covered them several times in that span with interviews, reviews and photos and hey never disappoint. “Alive In The Hidden City Tour” lives up to the bands reputation. They are still very much alive and there’s no hiding the fact that these lads from England can still produce quality rock n roll live and on plastic.
If you want to experience The Cult live, click here to find a tour date and go.
For the latest news on the band, click here
To listen to and purchase the new album, Hidden City, click here.
For photos from the House of Blues Chicago show, click here.
For a live video clip from the House of Blues show, click here.
Chicago House of Blues Set List
15. G O A T
16. Love Removal Machine