WORDS JANET HARDING / IMAGES PAUL EVANS
When it was announced earlier this year by Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy ,that Deathcult would return for a full UK tour, I knew it was a given, I just HAD to go! But getting to see them in Manchester, home town of Billy Duffy, and at Albert Hall, one of Manchester’s most iconic venues, well that’s the icing on this musical cake, surely? So on a surprisingly mild November evening I arrived at this stunning and acoustically brilliant venue, along with hoards of steadfast and lifelong followers, a sea of Deathcult, the Cult and Southern Death Cult T-shirts engulfing us in the already packed out hall, it’s brilliant to see. The atmosphere is alive and tingling with nostalgia excitement and feels very inclusive and welcoming. There is a real air of anticipation, the energy of thousands of like minded people all waiting on a knife edge for what promises to be one gargantuan night of music from this legendary band.
Support – Lili Refrain
From Rome, Italy, Lili Refrain opens for us tonight. I’ve been told about Lili’s s unusual sound so I’m very intrigued and very eager to witness this set. Using a loop, sounds are layered live on stage rather than using backing tracks; drumming, guitar, keys and other percussion instruments such as cow bells are laid down before us, then the most stunning vocal is performed on top. Arriving on stage in flowing black dress with black eye mask and surrounded in swirling dry ice, she cuts a very mysterious and mystical figure. The sound is nothing short of incredible. It starts off gently, layering, like lapping waves caressing the sea shore, steadily increasing then intensifying into crashing waves of musical currents reaching out towards us as a crowd. The vocal is quite breathtaking, very very atmospheric; it almost feels spiritual (especially given our venue’s history. It’s transcending, like sound healing or a sound bath. I get real Middle Eastern themes/feels, like some ancient Persian ritual or prayer song. echoey, operatic vocal with a vast range; eerie yet immaculate. Lili Refrain is utterly spellbinding, siren like, mesmerising us with immersive sounds! Cathartic, hypnotic and completely submersible. What a special and magical performance. I’m left completely in awe.
So in a blacked out Albert Hall it’s now shoulder to shoulder as we wait with bated breath, this long awaited resurrection arrive on stage to deafening screams, and then it begins…and boy does it begin. Like a storm cloud breaking, the no holds barred, torrential rain of music lashes down upon us; we can feel already this is one hell of a set; the energy, the power and prowess with which this musical sorcery is delivered is outstanding! From the opening bars this crowd has been bouncing, the collective energy is electrifying and the sounds are just spine tingling. This IS incredible! Our venue is alive, a pulsating, swirling sea of a mosh pit engulfing anyone who’ll submit, and we all do readily submit. Drums are hammered, producing machine gun like sequences, bass lines roar then become jangly and high vibrational as guitar screams its intricate riffs. The vocal is rich, deep with a gravel and is unmistakable. The sound as a whole is so atmospheric and genuinely transports us back to an era long gone; it’s mind blowing.
Coloured beams of light pierce through the billowing clouds of dry ice, illuminating our iconic front man, Ian Astbury, who is attired all in black and is make up free and has his hair tied back, but oozes charisma just the same. The force of energy with which he performs is impressive: wielding his tambourine at us, then throwing it to the ground, even managing to sheer it in half at one point as he swings the mic stand about then stomps about the stage, dancing intensely during instrumentals. As a crowd we cannot take our eyes away from him! From low, almost guttural growls, to higher and louder cries he masters his vocal with ease. Drums like rolling thunder add to the feels whilst guitars cut through the sound, fast paced and driven by pure expertise. The energy is such we can almost feel it! This crowd is wild, rhythmically bouncing in time with these 2 musical gods whilst beer rains down over us; we become hoarse through shouting back, singing along with such vigour. Tonight quite honestly, has been epic, incredible, special; a real nostalgia fuelled masterpiece, musical perfection and stand out performance. Resurrecting this era has been a gift from the musical gods which we have all revelled in tonight. One of my all time best gigs, I salute you Deathcult, you did not disappoint!
Deathcult – Headline
Ian Astbury – lead vocals/percussion
Billy Duffy – lead guitar
Charlie Jones – bass
John Tempesta – drums
A Flower in the Desert
Go West (Crazy Spinning Circles)
She Sells Sanctuary
FOLLOW DEATH CULT
FOLLOW LILI REFRAIN
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.