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POPCAPSULES

Cult: Reinvented

September 07, 1987|CHRIS WILLMAN

The Cult came, they saw, they headbanged, they condescended, they conquered.

At the Long Beach Arena on Saturday, the cleverly reinvented Cult could well have been a bunch of good ol' hard-rockin' Southern boys for all any newcomer knew, and the unsuspecting certainly wouldn't mistake them for the erstwhile new-music Englishmen that they are.

Not that the older fans enjoyed it any less than the newcomer metalheads. When singer Ian Astbury railed against the "alternative bull . . ." that supposedly dominates the radio (he also excoriated the "progressive yuppie types" in the crowd who had come "to look at all us long-hairs"), it could be taken at face value or swallowed with a knowing smirk.

The Cult lets the power chords rip in effective enough Zeppelin-cum-AC/DC form that unreconstructed '70s rockers might hope they play it straight, and even bring along some much-needed respectability and class. But in embracing the genre, the Cult has felt compelled to embrace its cliche outer trappings as well, in true Spinal Tap parodic fashion. By the time the shirtless Astbury demolished the drum set with his mike stand and yelped yay-uh! for the billionth and final time, one knew one was slumming in Camp City for sure.

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