Southampton O2 Guildhall

The Cult

Released in 1987 The Cult’s “Electric” album was a complete change in direction for the band after the Goth/Rock style of “Love” and “Dreamtime”. The band had discovered America and along with Ian Astbury’s accent the whole style changed at this point forward to a more mainstream style of hard rock.

Fast Forward to 2013 and the band are back on the road along with a re-released double cd version of the album Electric/Peace. Tonight’s gig is the band’s 1st visit to the Guildhall in Southampton since the “Born To This” tour in 2006. As you would expect the place is packed out with expectant rock fans hoping for yet another great show. First up though we have support act Bo Ningen.

The band are a four piece from Japan who absolutely stun the audience when they initially arrive on stage, with everyone looking in disbelief as to what is in front of us. The band have strong imagery that can be described as something that came from the horror movie The Grudge. The almost genderless front three guitar players thrash about in flowing dresses making a noise like a cross between Sonic Youth and early Marilyn Manson. The electronic trickery, fast paced drumming and the extreme hard-edged guitars create a unique jam sound that you would have to hear to believe. The whole set was insanely beautiful; ending in a massive crescendo of guitar feedback and energetic movement, that stunned the slightly startled crowd into polite applause as the band leave the stage after a powerful 30 minute set. As the performance of Bo Ningen sinks in, the curiosity to learn more about them will get the better of everybody and I’m sure lots of “Google” searches will be done on computers when people get home. There is something very ground breaking about this performance, nothing like I have ever seen before. Could we have just witnessed a glimpse into the future of live performance.

Bo Ningen
Bo Ningen 1

The Cult arrive on stage and without any messing around launch into “Wild Flower” and proceed to play the whole of the “Electric” album in the same order as on the original record, only replacing the cover of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild” with a popular B-side called “Zap City”. The sound is true to the original and is bolstered with the addition of new touring guitarist James Stevenson who you may already know from bands like The Alarm, Chelsea and Generation X. The band leave the stage for a few minutes while an arty style video “Elemental Light” is projected onto a screen at the back of the stage.

As is par for the course with “Cult” gigs Ian Astbury gets a little frustrated with the Southampton crowd for not being into it. This all soon changes as the band come out for the second set and play “Rain” which changes the atmosphere in the place completely. Next up is “Honey From A Knife”, a song from the band’s recent album “Choice Of Weapon” which stands up really well alongside the classics. Billy Duffy is as usual on fine form and when he brings out his big white Gretsch Falcon guitar for “She Sell Sanctuary” the crowd at the front get a serious mosh going.

The Cult

The Cult 123

The evening ends with a further dip into the past with a great version of “Spiritwalker” and an extended vesrion of “Sun King”, which shows some brilliant guitar improvisation. After all these years the band continue to provide an evening of maximum entertainment, leaving with a more than contented audience.

Wild Flower
Peace Dog
Lil’ Devil
Aphrodisiac Jacket
Electric Ocean
Bad Fun
King Contrary Man
Love Removal Machine
Zap City
Memphis Hip Shake

Elemental Light Video

Honey From A Knife
Sweet Soul Sister
The Phoenix
She Sells Sanctuary
Sun King


Bo Ningen

Band Links

Words, Videos & Pictures by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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