Saturday, April 21 , 2018, 4:35 pm | Fair 70º


Jeff Moehlis: Cult Classics in Ventura

British band rocks old and new material at the Majestic Ventura Theater

At the beginning of The Cult’s encore on Saturday night at the Majestic Ventura Theater, singer Ian Astbury declared that the band was “officially back.” And I think that most of the fans who caught the show would have to agree.

The characteristically charismatic Astbury, in shades with hair slicked back in a ponytail and wearing a jacket that must’ve had him roasting onstage, was joined by longtime co-conspirator and riff-master Billy Duffy on guitar, plus Chris Wyse on bass guitar, John Tempesta on drums and touring guitarist Mike Dimkich. The backdrop of the show was a series of cool photographs ranging from scenes of graffiti-covered subways to classical art images.

Of course, the band played many songs from their 1980s heyday, including songs off their three “Cult classic” albums: the pyschedelic-meets-new-wave-goth Love (“Nirvana,” “Rain,” “Phoenix” and “She Sells Sanctuary”), the hard rocking monster Electric (show opener “Lil’ Devil,” “Wild Flower” and show closer “Love Removal Machine,” which first cracked the U.S. market for the band), and, my personal favorite of The Cult’s albums, Sonic Temple (“Fire Woman”).

The band also performed some choice selections off their new and well-received album Choice of Weapon, such as “Honey from a Knife,” “Lucifer” and “The Wolf.” The latter was introduced by Astbury with the statement, “This is about as f***ing metaphysical as it gets these days,” and has some delightfully heavy riffage that is among Duffy’s best.

The show highlight was definitely the main set closer “She Sells Sanctuary,” which perfectly melds The Cult’s strengths into an exotic gem. This led to some mayhem in the pit, but that was all in good fun, of course. The enduring appeal of this song was apparent earlier this year when it was mashed to great effect with “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida for a Budweiser commercial during the 2012 Super Bowl.

One downer for some unlucky attendees — and no fault of the band — was that shortly after the show ended, the venue stopped letting patrons into the restrooms upstairs. C’mon guys, we paid $40 to $55 each for a ticket, and then $7 to $9 for each cup of beer. Can’t you at least let people relieve themselves before they head home? I only bring this up in hopes that the venue rethinks this policy for future shows.

The Cult is riding high with a great band, a sweet new album and a rocking song catalog that continues to hold up several decades in.

Yep, The Cult is officially back, baby!

Noozhawk contributing writer Jeff Moehlis is a professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site,

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