The Cult, Bo Ningen: O2 Academy, Liverpool


The Cult came back around in celebration of their Electric album, Getintothis’ Joseph Viney found a defiantly youthful and energetic band looking to cause a scene.

Cult by name, cult by nature.
That is, if the amassed ranks at the O2 Academy are anything to go by; hair and clothes of an equally “none more black” hue, layers of jewelry and the aroma of patchouli oil. And that’s just the band!
The Cult are pretty old hands by now, but what marked this show was their exuberance and what appeared to be an effort to make a point: we’ve still got it.
Perhaps ironically, this tour was designed to showcase and run through one of their more famous previous LPs, Electric, and it’s something of a paradox to parade the old stuff while showing off what you can do in the present day. Still, it sells tickets and shifts the merch. These days, that’s the priority.
One thing that strikes you about The Cult is the Peter Pan-like appearance of their two lead members, Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy.
Astbury, once Jim Morrison’s replacement in the lawsuit-attracting The Doors Of The 21st Century, still has the unwavering deep tones that can ascend any number of peaks. Sunglasses indoors, fur waistcoat and all. The life of a rock star indeed.
Duffy, now aged 52, doesn’t look a day over 40 on stage. The ageing-rockstar-turned-fitness-freak using the best legal steroids, but each time the benefits show themselves to be advantageous.
The Cult’s Billy Duffy at O2 Academy, Liverpool
The rest of the group are hardly lackadaisical either, and opener Wild Flower, with its AC/DC-esque stomp, is a welcome reminder of how and why both band and album are still part of the cultural consciousness.
Peace Dog and Lil’ Devil follow in short order and the crowd are sold immediately. Now, here’s a weird one. Electric contains a cover of Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild. Tonight it’s eschewed in favour of something else.
But it gets us thinking. In reality, the song doesn’t need to be covered on record, as much as you wouldn’t cover Also Sprach Zarathustra. It’s been done best the first time.
Yet since this also presents itself as a celebration of still having it, maybe the live version would go down a treat. Either way, it doesn’t get played and at least for Getintothis, a slight disappointment is evoked within us.
Never mind. For the rest of the night, the group barely put a foot wrong.
Bad Fun and King Contrary Man are certified rockers, while the latter part of the set sees them err away from the old LP and cherry pick some hits instead. Rise and, inevitably, She Sells Sanctuary peal out and the overriding feeling is ‘thank God we still have groups like this about’.
Bo Ningen performed a hair-raising set at O2 Academy, Liverpool
What to say about Bo Ningen?
Visually and musically they are astral, completely not of this planet. The stunned crowd who made the early visit caught the Japanese quartet in utterly eviscerating form.
It’s acid-punk on record but live it’s a messy nervous breakdown, a stick of dynamite in an abandoned sewer, something Stephen King dreamed about but hesitated to put on paper. Each song whirls about you in a maelstrom of noise before attacking the nervous system and making it thrash about. It’s essentially the musical version of the opening of the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
It served as a reminder that there is always something new, exciting and addictive brewing musically worldwide.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Sakura Zilla.
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