At The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., May 26, 2019

THE CULT (Live at The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., May 26, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Hearing a certain song is often enough to transport you back to a different time and a different place, effortlessly time travelling through the power of music. When the opening guitar refrain of Spiritwalker chimed around the hall, the vision of a show 35 years ago at Tiffany’s in Newcastle sprang to mind where The Cult first played supporting their debut album Dreamtime. A lot of time has passed but the memory remains.

The Cult have certainly come a long way since then. Big hit singles that defined an era, multi-million selling Platinum albums and huge stadium tours, not to mention a catalogue of music that has constantly evolved and pushed musical boundaries. The Cult are certainly a one off and they are also a devastatingly potent live act.

While half of Newcastle was over at Exhibition Park for the This Is Tomorrow Festival, The Sage was also packed for a unique one-off show by The Cult to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their mega-seller Sonic Temple.

For the first half of the show it was 100% Sonic Temple from the opener Sun King to Automatic Blues and everything in between including the big hits Sweet Soul Sister, Firewoman and Edie (Cia Baby). For the fans, hearing rare takes on Automatic Blues and American Horse was worth the price of admission alone while the atmospheric keyboards of Damon Fox added an extra dimension to The Cult’s sound on Soul Asylum.

Lead singer, Ian Astbury, cut a fine swaggering figure, dressed in black with a pair of shades permanently affixed to his face living up to his Wolf Child persona, with a voice that has retained its edge and power over the years whereas his foil, Billy Duffy pulled every shape in the guitar hero book while delivering the riffs and solos on which The Cult’s greatest songs are built.

As Astbury announced “that’s all from Sonic Temple as the others are dodgy” meaning the rest of the set was a mix of songs from right across their career including Rise and American Gothic from their millennium busting album Beyond Good and Evil and Saints Are Down from their self-titled 1994 release.

Dipping back deep into their past saw the aforementioned Spiritwalker and the wah wah heavy, The Phoenix prime the crowd ready for the big hits She Sells Sanctuary and Rain before Love Removal Machine left the crowd breathless and absolutely ecstatic.

During the show Ian Astbury jokingly thanked the crowd for choosing The Cult over the Stereophonics over at Exhibition Park, “after all we are a better band” and you just can’t argue with that.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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