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Watch The Cult’s transformation from mall-goth to hard rock in these 1986 concert clips
06.24.2014
06:28 am

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Music

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The Cult


 
Like most suburban ‘80s kids, I found out about The Cult via MTVs saturation-play of “She Sells Sanctuary,” which managed to break out of the alternawhatever programming blocks to find a place in regular daily rotation. I really did adore the absolute shit out of the album that spawned it, Love, and so I backtracked to their excellent prior album Dreamtime. But hearing concert recordings almost completely ruined even those great albums for me. Their live energy made the studio recordings seem so tepid and anemic by comparison, I nearly stopped listening to them.
 

 
Of course, they famously and drastically ramped up the energy with their next album, Electric, but while I enjoy that album a great deal now, I was disappointed when it was released. I saw them as Judases, pandering to bonehead wallets by copping arena buttrock tropes. Of course, I was just being an overly tribalistic kid. The reality was that this was a band finding itself in its desire to rock the fuck out, and didn’t see any point in hiding it since they were already trying to tap that sort of energy in their relatively fey gothic flowerchild era, and one could make the case that they foresaw the underground’s phasing-out of mall-goth trappings in favor of heavier sounds. A pair of 1986 performances gives a taste of that transition.
 

 
That was a TV appearance, with all songs culled from the Love LP, though bafflingly, the big puttin’-asses-in-seats single “She Sells Sanctuary” isn’t included. They’re still firmly in the gothy-pop realm, though the energy there noticeably bests the LP.

Now check this out. This is a concert from Finland, later that same year, when the band was working on their next album. It was to be titled Peace, but the original recordings were was entirely jettisoned. Def Jam’s Rick Rubin re-recorded the material, treating it like an AC/DC album, and it eventually saw release retitled Electric, with the band awkwardly beginning to affect an attempted badass persona. But pay attention to the version of “Love Removal Machine” that they play. It’s the rejected original, and it’s pretty well unrecognizable to fans who’ve only heard the LP/single version. Those original scrapped tracks have been released as the limited Manor Sessions EP, and on the Rare Cult box set, but both of those are now rare, out of print collectibles. That material was at last made available again last year, under the title Electric Peace, which as you’ve surely guessed is a 2XLP containing both versions of the album.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Dreamtime: The Cult live at the Lyceum, 1984

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘She Sells Sanctuary’: The sheer awesomeness of The Cult
01.18.2013
03:00 pm

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Music

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The Cult
She Sells Sanctuary


 
I had just gotten signed to RCA records and was looking for someone to produce my band’s debut album. Bruce Harris, A&R at the label, called me into his office and said “Marc you got to hear this. The guy who produced it, Steve Brown, should produce your record.” Bruce puts “She Sells Sanctuary” on his stereo system, turns it to 11, and The Cult proceed to blow my fucking mind. My reaction was immediate. “Yes, I want Brown working on the album. Absolutely!”

Two nights later, Steve Brown and I go to see The Cult’s U.S. debut at the Ritz. It was a staggering show and I predicted The Cult were going to be huge. It didn’t happen. The world passed on The Cult and Brown passed on my band.

Last year I had a talk with Ian. He seemed quite healthy, though a bit wartorn. There was a time I actually thought he’d end up dead. But that was long ago.

While The Cult never really lived up to their promise, they did manage to record what may the best song of the 1980s. Here’s a nice quality YouTube upload of that song.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Dreamtime: The Cult live at the Lyceum, 1984

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Dreamtime: The Cult live at the Lyceum, 1984
02.17.2012
10:45 am

Topics:
Music

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The Cult


 
Although perhaps their best days are long behind them, The Cult were a powerful live act in the 1980s. I’ve seen them play several times, in both London and New York going back to 1983 and those shows were among the more memorable gigs I’ve ever attended.

Especially early on, the Cult’s rabid fan-base was so incredibly devoted that they’d follow the group around like crusty punk Deadheads, night after night. Back packs and sleeping rolls were in (annoying) abundance at every show. The band could really capture the imagination of their followers who seemed like they were having a pagan religious experience watching them. Their shows had a truly Dionysian drama to them that no other group I can think of achieved so totally and completely other than maybe Killing Joke. (It’s no wonder that the surviving Doors wanted Ian Astbury to be their front man, he was the obvious choice!)

I found their concerts mesmerizing and unlike anything I had ever seen before. Or smelled. The Cult’s fans were among the first “New Age Travelers” and a few hundred of them in one room was not something you’d care to get a whiff of, as anyone who saw them back then can attest to. “BO” was an unavoidable element of a Cult gig in the early 80s. Probably 90% of the audience (including me) lived in squats. It was that kind of scene.

I saw them at the Camden Palace in London sometime soon after this Lyceum show was shot, but the shamanic intensity and the tribal vibe I experienced when I saw them are evident here, too in spades. They weren’t even beginning to peak at this point.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment