Cults Played 1/19 NYC Webster Hall Review

By Michel Dussack

On Thursday night, local indie pop duo Cults played a headlining show to a packed to capacity crowd in the grand ballroom of Webster Hall. Seriously, just making it to the back of the crowd after photographing the first three songs is something that should’ve been met with a trophy that night, which was particularly surprising given that the band have only one album under their belt (one that clocks in at less than 34 minutes to be exact). A massive white backdrop seemed uninteresting during openers Dirty Fences and Delicate Steve’s sets; although it would captured projected visuals added another sense to be stimulated throughout the 70 minute, 13 song set that Cults put on. It was clear that Cults was ready to headline venues this size with an impressive sound from ‘official’ members Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion augmented by 3 additional touring members Gabriel Rodriguez, Marc Deriso, and Nathan Aguilar on guitar, drums and bass respectively.

While on their records, Cults come off as retro indie pop, something that could sound several decades old, this expanded lineup allows the band to be more, well, aggressive. Guitars can come dangerously close to dominating their performances; however Madeline Follin’s simply gorgeous, flowing vocals have a way of finding themselves right above them in the mix. On this particular night, the band played every track on the album, though not in order, as well as a cover of “Everybody Knows” originally by Leonard Cohen, a rare treat for fans. It was certainly refreshing to hear a band cover a Leonard Cohen song that wasn’t “Hallelujah”, and Cults turned “Everybody Knows” into a darker, sexier version. The real treat though, was the band actually returning for an encore, something that they nearly never do, to play their remixed version of “Bad Things” with Fredide Gibbs jumping on stage with them to perform it live. If you asked me what the last thing I would expect at a Cults show would be before this night, I probably would’ve told you a chant of “Fuck police”, however exactly that happened at Gibbs took to the stage. The remix of “Bad Things” sounded especially tight and well put together live, and to see such a rare occurance is something that very few in the audience will forget.

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