November 16, 2015

The Cult w/ Primal Scream – lacklustre and nearly boring

the cult nightmair creative

The Cult w/ Primal Scream
written by Scotty Evil

I think most people are tired by the time they hit Sunday. That appeared to be the level of energy put out by Scottish experimental rockers Primal Scream as they opened to a sparse crowd at the venerable QE.

Although I am admittedly not familiar with the vast majority of their catalog, as a multi-genre DJ I listen to a LOT of music. And as a musician and performer, I love live shows.

This was barely live and I certainly did not love it.

The band took to the minimalist stage setting spot on the scheduled time with their 2015 version of “2013”. Frontman Bobby Gillespie, in skinny pants, a sheer long-sleeved blouse and golden smoking jacket seemed disinterested and was quite pitchy in his vocal deliverance. Bassist Simone Butler was in her own world far off stage left. Guitarist Barrie Cadogan sported a pork-pie hat atop his shaved noggin and bounced around wielding a gold topped Les Paul. The sole bright spot was the drumming of Darrin Mooney, laying down solid rhythmic beats that were both precise and very danceable.

Gillespie seemed perturbed at both the lack of bodies and energy in the room. “It’s a fucking rock concert, c’mon…” and then proceeded to phone the rest of the performance in.

Oh and there was a keyboard player? I think he was mostly responsible for triggering the pseudo avant-garde samples that quite frankly just made their music more annoying. The whole performance was so forgettable that I got up 7 songs in and went for a beverage.

And so I waited for The Cult. It wasn’t hard to notice how many empty seats there were. The scalpers outside had given up and gone home to eat ramen noodles dinner.

The headliners too were on time, a soft swash of red stage lights bringing them onstage. The spotlight was on guitarist Billy Duffy, his shiny black Gretsch Country Club slung low in front of his crotch. Ian Astbury was however pitchy and inconsistent.

The first 45 minutes was peppered with newer material and lesser known singles. But not nearly as entertaining as the oddities between songs.

First off, let’s hope he fires his stagehands, as the frontman spent the vast majority of his time crouched down in front of his monitors fussing with and taping his setlists. Then adjusting his mic stand. And then making known his feelings about Paris, Bono, Prime Minister Trudeau, people texting in the crowd, and the one heckler who loudly told him “fuck you” after the terrorist attack commentary.

“Was that a fuck you? In MY house?!? Well now.”

And so the night went on. More re-taping sheets of paper, pacing the stage and quips about people on their phones. Berating the men in the crowd for not being “into it”. Finally he said “I suppose you want some hits. Well, we aren’t playing any, it’s only the newer stuff” as they launched into “Wild Flower”, waking up the crowd enough to get them out of their Facebook feeds and selfie taking. The band ended with “She Sells Sanctuary” but returned for a two song encore. Astbury tossed a succession of tambourines into the crowd. By this time, the 5 rows directly in front of my seats were mostly empty.

At least many Facebook friends out there got real-time updates from the audience. If they hadn’t already gone to bed that is.

Here’s a Youtube of Sanctuary.. check it out.

all rights reserved
written by Scotty Evil




  1. Evil M

    Interestingly, I had the exact same view, and I clearly witnessed a very different, and amazing show. For example, from where I was most people stayed till the very end, and judging from the video he took on his phone I was sitting in a similar area. Not only was the performance great, but Ian was up to his usual eccentric antics, it’s part of what he does. Rock fans “get it.” If you’ve seen The Cult before, you know Ian is going to say some strange things, you know he is going to. I’ve seen The Cult maybe 11 times, but who’s counting. I have seen them put on a bad show, this was not one of them.

    As a working professional “Multi-Genre” DJ, I am very familiar with The Cult’s entire catalog. Perhaps a so-called journalist reviewing a show should familiarize themselves with an artists body of work before attending a a show for review, and insulting DJs as a whole with an admission of ignorance. Even if as a DJ you only know She Sells Sanctuary, as a journalist, do your research…simple!

    Otherwise you’re just a troll at a show.

    This reviewer starts off by complaining about the day of the week, the “I think most people are tired by the time they hit Sunday,” best describes the writer’s attitude. Sounds to me like an over-50 tired old man who was more annoyed at the fact that he had to “work” on a Sunday. Then he comments on the scalpers, what does the presence or lack thereof have anything to do with the performance?

    How is that even journalism?

    Out of curiosity I checked TicketMaster’s website the night before the show, it was a near sell-out, and there were only a few single seats left. When I arrived at the Queen E., it was pretty full. So full that I was not able to sneak into a better seat.

    As to the ‘heckler,’ singer Ian Astbury also complimented the guy who said F-U, finishing his reply with “You’re just a wild thing. I like that.” The heckler himself was standing in the row right in front of me, and clearly wasn’t even being serious with Ian at all.

    The Cult is a very raw sounding, unpredictable band, that’s what they are about. If the writer wanted to see a perfect nice little show, he find an artist that plays an acoustic guitar, on a Saturday or some horrible prog-rock show and from the sounds of his energy level make it an afternoon show, so he can be home, fed and in bed by 7pm with his bottle of formula.

    • Admin

      as Scotty’s ‘boss’ let me just clarify that Scotty was not ‘assigned’ the show and didn’t ‘have to’ work – he specifically asked to cover The Cult as he is indeed a fan of the band’s music. I leave any other comments on this to Scotty himself

  2. Scotty E.

    Thanks for the long criticism of my review, Evil M. Unlike it, I shall be brief in my response to your points, criticisms and pseudo personal insults.

    I had no issue with the “eccentric antics”, they were far and above the best part of the show. Not sure if he fusses with his setlists EVERY show but w/e.
    I am quite familiar with The Cult’s catalog AND some of Astbury’s side projects. I’ve used a fair bit in my sets from time to time. I’m puzzled as to where I gave you the impression that I wasn’t.
    I give honest reviews, I’ve got far better things to do than “troll” musicians. I don’t kiss asses. I base my “opinion” or point of view on the variety of music, musicians, hit songs, b-sides, albums AND live shows I’ve seen. Lots have knocked my socks off. Lots have sucked.
    As for nit-picking my writing style, it’s just that. A style. Get over it or get your own blog.
    And I wouldn’t use Ticketmaster sales as a judge of attendance. I had FIVE empty rows in front of me at the end of the show. I saw empty seats all the way up to the 10th row or so.
    I appreciate The Cult may be a “raw unpredictable band” but they SHOULD also be seasoned performers. Astbury was pitchy the first half. Period. A blooper performance from American Idol standards.
    I love acoustic performances. They require much more technique because they aren’t masked with distortion, delay and reverb.
    And you kind of shot any sense of musical knowledge by saying “horrible prog-rock”. Pink Floyd? Rush? Yes? They blow The Cult away.
    I listen to EVERYTHING.
    I stand by my review. It’s factual.
    Well that was tiring, I need some warm milk and my blanket. Maybe I’ll put on some Primal Scream to put me to sleep.

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