LIVE REVIEW: The Cult - Mandela Hall, Belfast


The Cult returned to Belfast to play the Mandela Hall on Sunday night. It's their first time in Belfast since they played the Ulster Hall in 1991. The Mandela Hall was packed to the rafters to welcome front-man Ian Astbury and 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, followed by Rain, Wildflower and Horse Nation from their debut album Dreamtime.


They returned to Hidden City as Ian Astbury's voice boomed over Billy Duffy's riff-heavy Hinterland and John Tempesta's heavy drums. Ian Astbury almost apologetically announced the new songs but promised old hits would follow. The set was a balanced mix of old and new, and no one complained as the crowd went wild. Ian Astbury singled out a fan 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 into a frenzy! After going off for a few minutes, they returned and finished with the current single, GOAT and Love Removal Machine, to rapturous applause.


This was my first time seeing The Cult, and I was overwhelmed by how amazing it was. Seeing them in the intimacy of The Mandela Hall, arguably Belfast's best live venue, was even better. When you see The Cult Live, you are witnessing a genuine rock and roll band who mean it; there aren't too many left. I urge you to catch them on this tour. Tremendous!

The Cult Mandela Hall Set list

Dark Energy


Wild Flower

Horse Nation


Honey From a Knife

Lil' Devil


Birds of Paradise

Sweet Soul Sister

Deeply Ordered Chaos

Fire Woman


She Sells Sanctuary


Love Removal Machine

Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as conducting interviews for the XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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