jakub | July 16, 2023

The Cult, “Under the Midnight Sun tour 2023” with The Mission and Lili Refrain-Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 6th, 2023.


 

WORDS AND IMAGES PAUL EVANS

 

Nestled amidst a stunning coastal landscape, the Scarborough Open Air Theatre is about to be set ablaze. It’s a warm summer night and the perfect backdrop for an evening with the electrifying Cult, The Mission and the hauntingly beautiful Lili Refrain.

There are loads of people in early to watch the truly mesmerizing and boundary-pushing musical experience which is Lili Refrain. An avant-garde multi-instrumentalist and composer, Lili’s hauntingly beautiful ethereal melodies create a sonic tapestry that blends elements of ambient and avant-garde genres. Lili builds complex and mesmerizing musical structures in real-time tonight which evoke a range of feelings.  From introspective and contemplative to intense and cathartic the ebb and flow of the music is a surreal experience that leaves a lasting impression on me. It’s an experimental set that wouldn’t be out of place during the halcyon days of the 4AD record label and within the setting of the open-air theatre connects with me on a profound level.

Setlist

1/ Ichor

2/ Sangoma

3/ Mami Wata

4/ Terra 2.0

5/ Earthling

 

 

The Mission have been captivating audiences for over three decades now and as Wayne Hussey takes the stage for opener ‘Tower of Strength’ someone stands up on a friend’s shoulders conducting the anthem as the rest of the band join the charismatic frontman. There are several failed attempts by security to get her down before Wayne tells them that’s it’s OK and to leave her be.  “Tower of Strength,” sets the tone for a powerful and nostalgic performance tonight. The crowd erupting in cheers, singing along to every word as commanding vocals and intricate guitar provide a sonic assault that resonates throughout the open-air theatre.

Songs such as the haunting “Butterfly on a Wheel” and the anthemic “Wasteland” reverberate deeply, evoking a sense of nostalgia in me and remind me why The Mission have stood the test of time. The band’s chemistry is undeniable, as they effortlessly navigate through intricate guitar solos and thunderous drumbeats of classics such as “Severina”, “Swoon” and The Stooges “1969”. Wayne Hussey’s stage presence is captivating, his mesmerizing voice still as rich and commanding as ever, soaring through the open-air venue, resonating with every soul, exuding emotion with every lyric. The set draws to a close with the anthemic “Deliverance”.  The crowd swaying, dancing, raising their hands in the air, roaring in approval and chanting the chorus. Both crowd and band are united by the music that has shaped their lives.

Setlist

1/ Tower of Strength

2/ Beyond the Pale

3/ Severina

4/ Swoon

5/ Garden of Delight

6/ Stay With Me

7/ Never Again

8/ Met-Amor-Phosis

9/ Butterfly on a Wheel

10/ Wasteland

11/ 1969

12/ Deliverance

 

 

As the sun begins to set, the atmosphere is growing more electric setting the stage for the highly anticipated performance by The Cult. The moment Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy, the band’s founding members, emerge, the crowd erupts and the band waste no time in unleashing their own brand of raw, primal energy. Opening with the hard-hitting and explosive “Rise”, it’s a sonic assault that leaves no one untouched.

Astbury’s vocals are as powerful as ever and soar through the night air, his primal energy resonating with the crowd, while Duffy’s masterful guitar riffs mesmerize and set the tone for an intense and adrenaline-fueled set. Effortlessly traversing their extensive discography and genres, it’s a seamless set blending “Rain” from Love, ” Lil’ Devil” from Electric and “Spiritwalker” from Dreamtime showcasing the bands evolution and relevance over the last 40 years.

Ian, with his magnetic stage presence, commands my attention with his every tambourine playing move. His voice effortlessly transitioning between haunting melodies, fierce screams, delicate verses and explosive choruses. Duffy’s guitar work is nothing short of extraordinary, as he delivers blistering riffs and soulful solos, sending the crowd into a frenzy, jumping, jabbing the air and singing at the top of their lungs. The band’s ability to captivate and move the audience is a testament to their enduring legacy. Each musician is locked into a rhythm and the backdrop of intricate lighting, smoke and vibrant visuals enhances the depth and intensity of the music and propels the performance to new heights.

The relationship between the band and the audience creates an electric atmosphere and The Cult’s ability to still create an intense atmosphere is second to none. It’s impossible not to get swept up in their music. As the night draws to a close, the roar of the crowd echoes through the open-air theatre for the timeless anthems “She Sells Sanctuary” and “Love Removal Machine” with everyone singing along at the top of their lungs, united in a collective celebration of music.

It’s been an unforgettable night filled with nostalgia, energy and a shared love for the power of music in the perfect sanctuary of Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Looking forward to the next one.

 

 

Setlist

1/ Rise

2/ Sun King

3/ King Contrary Man

4/ Sweet Soul Sister

5/ The Witch

6/ Lil’ Devil

7/ Aphrodisiac Jacket

8/ Vendetta X

9/ Phoenix

10/ Wildflower

11/ Mirror

12/ Spiritwalker

13/ Rain

14/ She Sells Sanctuary

Encore:

15/ Peace Dog

16/ Love Removal Machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOLLOW THE CULT

 

FOLLOW THE MISSION

 

FOLLOW LILI REFRAIN

 

 

 

 

 





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