Dec 8, 2019

The Cult / Spirit Animal - The Fillmore

Category: Live Reviews



The Fillmore

Silver Spring, MD


THE CULT Set List: Sun King, Wildflower, Automatic Blues, American Horse, Sweet Soul Sister, NYC, Edie, Soul Asylum, Honey From A Knife, Lil Devil, Aphrodisiac Jacket, Rise, American Gothic, Firewoman, Love Removal Machine, ENCORE:  Rain, Sanctuary


SPIRIT ANIMAL Set List:  Regular World, The Truth, World War IV, Hydr8, JFK, Painkiller, Karma, Big Bad Road Dog, YEAH!

 Before going into “Wildflower” Ian Astbury jokingly said, “Good Evening 9:30 Club!”  This was a slight jab/joke because they were performing at The Fillmore instead of D.C.’s legendary 9:30 Club.

 The sound mix for both Spirit Animal and The Cult was excellent; the crowd was primarily older and the drinks were clearly flowing as bartenders were pouring beers non stop throughout the night.

 Spirit Animal took the stage at 8:00 PM and they sound like a mix of The B-52’s, Talking Heads, and Matt and Kim.  Indie rock grooves, pop stylings, and artsy undertones are what make Spirit Animal unique.  Lead singer Steve Cooper is an interesting frontman and his energy kept the stage show moving while his quirky stage banter made the crowd laugh at times.  Cooper told the crowd that technically this was a homecoming show because he first met Spirit Animal bassist Paul Michel in 2002 a few blocks from The Fillmore in D.C.

 Cooper told the crowd that if they wanted to buy the band’s “yellow” shirt at the merch table that it was not actually yellow, it was “Banana Fuckin’ Cream” and that he preferred the crowd to address the shirt as such.  

 Spirit Animal’s set lasted a little over 30 minutes and the stage for The Cult was set up quite fast after Spirit Animal’s set.  The Cult’s stage set up was minimal with Damon’s keyboard and Grant’s bass rig on the left side, Tempesta’s drums dead center in the back and Duffy’s small guitar rig was on the right side of the stage.

 The Fillmore was close to being sold out by the time The Cult took the stage a little after 9:00 PM.  The core of the band has always been Billy Duffy on guitar and Ian Astbury on vocals.  The current 2019 line up includes long time drummer John Tempesta, bassist Grant Fitzpatrick, and keyboardist Damon Fox.  Interesting side note, Damon has also appeared on numerous releases including Christina Aguilera’s “Stripped” & “Back To Basics”, Cheap Trick’s “Rockford”, Celine Dion’s “My Love”, and Hole’s “Nobody’s Daughter”. 

 The last time The Cult performed in Maryland it was 2018 at Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore.   Damon played rhythm guitar for the majority of the show that night; at this show Damon was anchored behind the keyboard for the entire night and Duffy handled all guitar duties.

 Ian’s voice sounded amazing and while his onstage presence was super low key his vocals were on point and sounded strong.  Ian occasionally joked with the crowd and utilized his dry sense of humor which was sometimes lost on the Maryland crowd.

 This tour celebrated the 30th anniversary of “Sonic Temple” and the irony is that their biggest song, “Fire Woman” is off this record.  I say it’s ironic because while “Fire Woman” may be the bands biggest hit in the USA but both Ian and Billy have stated in interviews that it is one of their least favorite songs because it gets lumped in with “jock rock”.

 The set list for this show was unique; they decided to mix things up, change major portions of the show, and add songs that have not been played in a bit.   “Aphrodisiac Jacket” from the “Electric” record was a rare gem that the band pulled out for this show alongside “Honey From A Knife” from the “Choice of Weapon” release.

 Before the Fillmore show Duffy went sight seeing and took a tour of The White House earlier in the day.  Duffy posted a photo of himself in the White House press briefing room on his social media pages.

Before performing "American Gothic" Ian asked the crowd if there was anyone in the crowd that identified as a "Goth Rocker" and Billy Duffy may have pointed directly at me; the guy standing next to me jokingly said, "Yeah, he just pointed at you!" because Billy clearly did!

 “Love Removal Machine” closed the first set and the two song encore featured “Rain” and “She Sells Sanctuary”.  At the end of the show Ian introduced the band and then Duffy took the mic to introduce Astbury.  After Introducing Ian, Duffy thanked the crowd for coming out on a Sunday and joked that he assumed everyone was probably tired from having off all day and eating a big Sunday meal.

 At the merch stand all Cult t-shirts were $40, there were Tempesta used drum sticks, signed drum heads, Duffy signed guitar stings ($40), and Cult necklaces ($20) and keychains.  The long sleeve tour shirts were sold out and a sign stated that fans could purchase that particular shirt online but all on hand stock was sold out.

Author: Bob Suehs