Cult / Against Me! / The Icarus Line
By: Logan Mounts
The Cult is England's finest Native American support band in music history. They're also one of the most underrated rock bands from the '80s. For the release of their ninth studio album, Choice Of Weapon, they went out on tour and took anthemeers Against Me! and LA punkers The Icarus Line with them, and I had the pleasure of seeing this excellent lineup on Friday night at the Congress Theater in Chicago. First up were Los Angeles outfit The Icarus Line. I had never heard the band before the performance, and while I absolutely loved their music, they had a bit of a bothersome stage presence - especially their vocalist. They seemed very influenced by The Stooges, and that doesn't just stop at the music they played. Their vocalist, Joe Cardamone, was trying incredibly hard to move shirtless like the legendary Iggy Pop while also attempting to pull off a move of Mick Jagger's moves, only he didn't do all that great of a job at either task. With his lanky stature, jet black emover, and pretentious stage presence, I found it hard to really take him seriously as a performer. However, despite Cardamone's image, the band was incredibly tight and their sound was explosive.
Next on the bill were Against Me!. This was their first performance in Chicago since Tom Gabel came out to be a transgender, changed her name to Laura Grace, and started the beginning processes of the transformation. The last time Against Me! graced Chicago with their distinct anathemas punk sound was when they performed last June at the Metro, and it was a bit strange yet also incredibly cool to have seen that show and followed it up with this one. The band performed some of their greats such as 'Don't Lose Touch,' 'I Was A Teenage Anarchist,' and 'Thrash Unreal,' as well as some new songs from their upcoming album Transgender Dysphoria Blues. The new songs sounded great, especially since Laura's voice has not gone through a full change yet. I quite enjoyed throwing myself around to the new tracks and pumping my fist and chanting the words to the older ones. The band is still ferocious as ever, and I expect excellent things to come of them in the future.
After Against Me! was finished, a good quarter of the crowd completely left the building. From one side, it was kind of sad realizing that so many people were only there to see Against Me! and didn't care to stay to see The Cult. However, it was pretty awesome that they all left because the floor opened up and all the people that were left were the coolest people in the room. Everyone in Against Me! and related band shirts were out and all across the floor you could just see people donning attire for The Cult, Rancid, Johnny Thunders, VNV Nation, Motörhead, and plenty of other excellent acts. So, when The Cult began, there was plenty of room to dance and groove to the excellent sounds they produced. They opened up their set with 'Lil' Devil' from the Electric album, and followed it right up with 'Honey From A Knife' from Choice Of Weapon. The old songs sounded just as great as the new songs, and Ian Astbury's voice is still in pristine shape. Every single member of the band seemed like they were having an excellent time playing, and it was great watching the audience react to classic songs from Love and be equally as responsive to the songs from Choice Of Weapon. Their 15-song set was filled with tracks spanning from about half of their albums, and song after song was filled pure rock energy.
At the end of the evening, I was sweaty, breathless, and full of adrenaline. The Cult's performance was better than I ever could have hoped, and with the help of Against Me! and Icarus Line, they made my first time seeing them an excellent experience.
The Cult's new album Choice Of Weapon is out now on Cooking Vinyl.