The Cult returned to Belfast to play the Mandela Hall on Sunday night. It’s first time they have been in Belfast since they played the Ulster Hall in 1991. The Mandela Hall was packed to the rafters to welcome front-man Ian Astbury, guitarist Billy Duffy who has fronted the Cult for 33 years.
They were joined by current band members John Tempesta (drums), Grant Fitzpatrick (bass), Damon Fox (keyboards and rhythm guitar. Opening up with Dark Energy also the first track from their brilliant new album Hidden City then delved into their back catalogue of classics following with Rain, Wildflower and Horse Nation from their debut album Dreamtime.
They returned to Hidden City as Ian Astbury’s voice boomed over a Billy Duffy’s riff heavy Hinterland and John Tempesta’s heavy drums. Ian Astbury was almost apologetic announcing the new songs but promised old hits would follow. The set was a balanced mix of old and new and no one was complaining as the crowd were going wild. Ian Astbury singled out a fan who was recording the gig on his phone. He said “are you going to shoot the whole show?” to much applause from the rest of the fans.
Sweet Soul Sister and new track Birds of Paradise had the Belfast crowd singing along, the atmosphere was electric, but it wasn’t until Billy Duffy played the opening chords of their classic 80s hit and calling card, She Sells Sanctuary that the Mandela Hall roof lifted and the crowd went in to frenzy! After going off for a few minutes they came back and finished off with current single GOAT and Love Removal Machine to rapturous applause.
This was my first time seeing The Cult and I was overwhelmed how amazing it was. It was even better seeing them in the intimacy of The Mandela Hall, arguably Belfast’s best live venue. When you go see The Cult live you are witnessing a genuine rock and roll band who really mean it, there isn’t too many left. I urge you to catch them on this tour. Tremendous!
The Cult Mandela Hall Set list
Honey From a Knife
Birds of Paradise
Sweet Soul Sister
Deeply Ordered Chaos
She Sells Sanctuary
G O A T
Love Removal Machine
Photography: Bernie McAllister – Argyll Images