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The Cult try to get a rise out of the Danforth Music Hall

Posted by Roger Cullman / December 9, 2013

The Cult at Danforth Music HallThe Cult's Ian Astbury isn't one to mince words. Moments after bursting on stage with his band at Danforth Music Hall Saturday night to the bombastic beats of their hit single Wildflower, he shouted out "Rob Fucking Ford!" After the third song, he belted out "Hey, Toronto! Is that all ya got?" after a typical polite Toronto welcome, adding, "We're not dead yet!"

The Cult at Danforth Music HallAstbury and company do have a bit of a love-in for Toronto, having played here numerous times over The Cult's 30-year career. This show was an electric one, largely playing most of their 1987 album _Electric_, including Love Removal Machine, "Lil Devil," and even its b-side "Zap City."

Despite an announced 8pm doors and 9 o'clock showtime, the band didn't hit the stage until 9:45. That gave the sold-out crowd extra time to get a few more beers in them. A look around me and I immediately felt like the youngest guy in the audience - groups of aging rockers in their mid-to-late-40s and an assortment of hosers. The crowd perked up considerably when "Love Removal Machine" began, as a huge skull-and-crossbones was projected on the screen above the stage.

The Cult at Danforth Music HallAstbury played well to the crowd, swaggering about the stage in his cowboy boots, black jacket with fur trim and ever-present shades. He'd often pace in circles, wielding his tambourine like a weapon, shaking it with ferocity. Fans threw up the devil's horns during the guitar solo.

Others in the audience were more into themselves. The dude next to me had to make a nuisance of himself and annoy all those around him by recording the entire song on his iPhone. With the flash on full blast the entire time. While his friends all took turns making fools of themselves on camera. Astbury appeared impatient with the Toronto audience, who weren't giving him enough love. "I'm waiting for you, Toronto!" he shouted out, about 45 minutes into the set. Was this simply to boost his ego or was he craving more validation from his fans?

"Rob Ford!" exclaimed Astbury, later on in the set. "All of America's laughing at you!" which drew a few chuckles from the crowd. "But what do they know? They've got their own problems."

The Cult at Danforth Music HallSuddenly it was break time. Apparently, there's a rule for bands performing in Canada, Astbury explained, where if there's no Canadian on stage, there's got to be an intermission. Perhaps this was created so that bands would slot in a local support act. "Go drink some beer!" said Astbury. "We're gonna jerk off back here," before heading backstage. Charming.

For those who stuck around, there was a video projection of their song "Elemental Light" from 2012's _Choice of Weapon_ album. It was almost 11pm when they came back, kicking right into Rain. Lots of energy, but the harmonies were way off key. Maybe a little too much partying?

"Sweet Soul Sister" a few songs later got lots of arms in the air. The band was much looser by now. Especially Astbury. "CFNY!" he shouted out. "Q107!" Perhaps he got confused.... "One of them's good." Then, perhaps realizing which one, he blurted out "Fuck Classic Rock! Fuck Classic Rock! Fuck Classic Rock!" Cue "She Sells Sanctuary", which CFNY (now Edge102) championed back in tha day. The crowd ate it up.

For the encore, The Cult started off with "Spirit Walker." Astbury blurted out, Larry's Hideaway! ... The El Mocambo!" as the song began. To introduce "Sun King," he mentioned the Idle No More movement, giving a shout out to all the First Nations people. "Show us the way!"

Missed them this time? Not to worry. The Cult will play again on Tuesday, December 10 at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.

Photos by Roger Cullman Photography.



Jeff / December 9, 2013 at 08:55 am
Ha... Playing at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga... Yeah, that seems like a typical The Cult venue..

I have never seen them live but they definitely have some songs that are now "classic".
Say wha? / December 9, 2013 at 11:09 am
Maybe they are a bit sensitive about the fact they are much lower on the ladder than they used to be. As has been pointed out already, " Living Arts Centre in Mississauga" says a lot.
Really? / December 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm
To the last commenter:
Why exactly are you even reading BlogTo with your profound hatred of "hipters" and Toronto? It's kind of what they do.
Bob Smith / December 9, 2013 at 01:24 pm
You don't like cameras, you don't like them swearing ("charming"), you don't like the age of the people there.

What about the music dipshit? For a music writer you're quite clueless. They are one of the few bands in the world that have had such a long career and can still tour the world in mid-size venues. A rarity these days.

Get a clue bro, or go back to serving coffee.

Toronto Jim replying to a comment from Another wanky hipster review / December 9, 2013 at 01:49 pm
Why don't you tell us how you really feel?
w-hat / December 9, 2013 at 07:18 pm
The Cult were seriously good and relevant back in the day and the songs have aged pretty damn well in comparison to some of their contemporaries. Saw these guys with Lenny Kravitz New Years eve 1989-1990 at Maple Leaf Gardens, we all had mickeys stashed down our pants and it was awesome.
w-hat / December 9, 2013 at 07:19 pm
Maybe it was 90-91 now that I think more about it. Anyhow, it was a long time ago!
Another wanky hipsterator review part deux / December 9, 2013 at 11:17 pm
Cause it's fun calling out pretentious wankers that's why. They're so easily made fun of cause they look so fuckin stupid it's HILARIOUS, they sound the same, they dress the same, and they have rules of engagement. Dicks in stupid hats and glasses.
Roger replying to a comment from Another wanky hipster review / December 10, 2013 at 12:10 am
Well thanks for your valuable insight, once again.

It appears that you've got a lot of disdain for the youth of today. That's a real shame, because they're the ones who will be shaping your future tomorrow.

As for my review, how can you say it's not objective? You've admitted you weren't even at the concert yourself. I'm actually a fan of The Cult and I've seen them a couple of times before. I just call it like I see it.

All your vitriol is misdirected. If you're such a fanboy, why not go to the show yourself and offer your own "objective" review instead of spewing all this nonsense.
Simon Tarses / December 10, 2013 at 12:52 am
Gen Why Bother.
Jello Biafra replying to a comment from Another wanky hipster review / December 10, 2013 at 11:05 am
I see Toronto is still getting under your skin. Bahaha. You can't get away from us, sucker.
Sick of Wanker / December 10, 2013 at 11:37 am
I think it is safe to say that Wanker is the same turd who spews hate about Toronto about every subject in here. Who knows (or cares) if he even lives here, but if he does he should move his tired ass home to where he remembers life was better. Would do us all a favor and make Toronto a better place to have one less Wanker.
Crappy review / December 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Nah it's just a crap review. I agree with the hipster hater, she's right. There's no problem with the youth of today, but the hipsters are quite pretentious and annoying little bastards. Like any group they'll grow up and sure some of them will be leaders but in the meantime, lose the glasses and fake accents.
ddt / December 10, 2013 at 02:02 pm
Agree with Crappy Review and Hipster hater as well...Nothing at all wrong with cool young people these days...but these hipster assholes?..Jessus!...back in the days of R'R Heaven, Gasworks, and the old Hard Rock cafe, these little shits wouldn't have stood a chance, that's where music like this comes from, a really cool era where snarky little farts couldn't hide behind screens and devices and be little paper tigers, they just shut the F up..
Gramps / December 10, 2013 at 03:58 pm
Jim / December 10, 2013 at 07:12 pm
I gotta hand it to the folks on here with the bad attitude towards the band returning to Ontario.

Big deal! They are playing the Mississauga Living Arts Facility. I think these commenters are just jealous that The Cult are playing a World-Class centre.
They are plying for their fans whom have immortalized them as '80s rockers.

Not that many who can fill-out a building from that era there?

It's hard not to think of The Cult as survivors. This year they have travelled the world, and now, they are playing Mississauga. GREAT! If you go to the states, this is what bands do. Play any venue where they can reach-out to their fans.

I got no objection to Toronto. Hell, I was at the MUSIC HALL show. SOLD-OUT!

I DID NOT SEE ANY YOUTH UNDER 20 THERE. Many were in their 40s 50s.
I was too transparent to see that - especially from the balcony!

Jim / December 10, 2013 at 07:33 pm
Okay. I see a typo on my comment.

I also forgot to mention you can see the state-of-the-art centre here -

Go ahead. Enjoy. Not for you? Too contemporary of a place?

I think, it's outstanding to see a performance there.

Now what?

Off to the Mississauga show now.

Montreal was too far this time for me.
Mike / December 11, 2013 at 01:09 am
I've seen The Cult live at least 8 times spanning 22 years and have never heard "way off" harmonies.

I just got back from the Mississauga show which was the oldest crowd I've seen to date - shame cause I'm always so stoked for concerts so I can't stand low energy audiences. The band sounded great though. (The crowds at The Phoenix and Massey Hall were awesome.)

"Much lower on the ladder than they used to be" is a bunch of bullshit. Choice Of Weapon is fanfuckingtastic so that makes them relevant as hell regardless of what anyone thinks.

Nothing made me happier than to hear Astubury say they were still pushing, still creating. CFFC!!
Rach / December 11, 2013 at 02:04 pm
I thought this article was fairly accurate. The Cult was awesome as usual. (I have seen them several times)However, the crowd was pretty lame. Although there were some very nice people there, many acted as though they were going to watch a movie. A woman told my friend she had "poor concert etiquette" for putting her hands in the air during the concert. Many people stood there staring and taping the entire event on their phones. Maybe I am out of it but I thought dancing and partying were part of going to a concert. Especially a rock one. I don't think it is an age thing since I have been to many other concerts in this city and the younger crowd has been lifeless as well. Sporting events are often the same in Toronto too. I guess I will have to test this theory by checking out one of my favourite bands in another city.
Ps: Met Astbury after the concert for the second time and he is pretty damn cool. I think he deserves a better crowd.
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