The Cult & Against Me! rock Boston for all ages

A review of The Cult, Against Me! at the House of Blues on June 5, 2012

, Staff Writer

It was easy to tell who had come to the House of Blues for which band last Tuesday. There was a pretty significant age gap between those there for Against Me! and those interested in The Cult. Regardless, both bands pulled off full-throttle performances and cranked the decibels high and gave the people what they wanted. After a blistering Against Me! set, however, everyone present was ready for something loud and big, and Ian Astbury and company delivered.

The Cult were in full-out rockstar mode, playing a set mostly built of material from their new album Choice of Weapon. Astbury was a mass of swagger, belting out tunes and sounding damn good for a man his age. Billy Duffy was a terror on guitar, and John Tempesta and Chris Wyse laid down a crushing beat. For anyone who was skeptical about seeing a bunch of old guys playing rock music, The Cult proved them wrong by not slowing down for a second.

Opening with a thundering version of “Lil Devil”, The Cult made it clear they were their to rock. “Honey From A Knife” was a high octane piledriver that set the tone for the set. Soon enough, even the tiny little punk kids were getting into it. A little later, they were rocking out just as hard as they had for Against Me!’s opening set. When it was all over they walked out in huddled groups, sweaty and panting, glued to iPhones, looking up the band that had just rocked their world. Towards the end of the set, a scorching version of “For The Animals”, the first single from Choice of Weapon had everyone reeling.

Closing their main set with the classic “She Sells Sanctuary”, The Cult took a short break before returning for an encore of “Horse Nation” and “Love Removal Machine”, ending a set of straight-up fun-and-fast rock n’ roll.

Against Me! set the tone for the evening with a blast of intense punk rock that won over a few fans in the older crowd. Lead singer Laura Jane Grace, formerly known as Tom Gabel, who recently came out as transgender, was absolutely intense onstage, with an angry yet melodic delivery that was overwhelming at times. Ranging from new material like “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” to old favorites like “Dead Friends” and “Black Me Out”. Conspicuously absent was “Thrash Unreal”, the band’s biggest commercial hit. Finishing with “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” and “Sink, Florida, Sink,” Against Me! played a set to please the old fans, and the appreciation was clearly there.

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