Welcome to our inaugural concert reviews. These were supposed to start a few weeks with Big K.R.I.T. in Cincinnati, but don’t even get us started on that snafu. We had the privilege of seeing the rookie band, Cults, opening for Foster the People (their concert will not be reviewed). I’m going to try to make these as straightforward as possible, so here we go.
The band takes the stage in unceremonious fashion (makes me a little sad that this seriously awesome band is stuck opening for the “Pumped Up Kicks” people), but they’re marching five or six deep. The official band only consists of two people (Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin), but they have a full set with them tonight. I’m already excited even though I can’t really see.
Their set starts the same way their album does. To be honest, I am just a little disappointed by the opening number. It’s a tricky way to start since it relies almost entirely on a bass line (not too exciting for a live show) and forces Madeline to talk the verses and shout the refrains. They’re either too quiet or too loud. Rough start but I trust that they’ll rebound.
2. “The Curse”
I always get wide eyes and goosebumps when a band plays a rare track at their show (proves to me that they’re not pandering to the audience). I know it’s hard to believe a band that only has one album could possibly have a “rare” track, but they busted this little gem out from their EP that most people don’t even know exists. They seem to be having fun so I am too.
3. “Never Heal Myself”
They’re starting to pick up some steam now. This song sounds kind of light and cheery on the album, but Oblivion’s metal guitar sound really buffs this one up. Follin finds her range and delivers her jingle-esque notes perfectly. Show officially hits its stride towards the end of the song when Follin belts out, “I can never heal myself… so fuck you” and the band lets loose on a rock out all the way to the end. Much harder than the album. Awesome live.
4. “Most Wanted”
The bizarre little voice overs that sound like announcements at the airport continue between all of the songs throughout the show. Not really sure what they’re supposed to signify but they pop up on the album as well, most prominently on this track. Again, they seem to have just a little more oomph than the album track which is very becoming for a live show. Bonus: THE Golden Age’s favorite song off the album.
5. “You Know What I Mean”
And, naturally, they go right in to my favorite song off of the album. The guitar is so retro and dreamy that I have to fight the urge to put my arms around the people on either side of me and sway from side to side. The band shows some more rock chops when they really wail in the refrain with the shouting “YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!” The band doesn’t officially have a drummer but this guy seems pretty impressive.
The set drops down just a little bit at this point. I really liked every song on the album, but this one seemed the most static and the least unique. It seems a little odd to me that they would go with this one for a live show. It’s not bad or anything, just feels more like a time killer (would have enjoyed something else more here like “Walk at Night” or “Bad Things”).
7. “Never Saw the Point”
Back on pace with one of the top two or three tracks off their album. At this point, it finally dawns on me that it’s not so much that I have a bad seat and can’t see but more of the fact that Madeline Follin is no more than 5 foot nothing with shoes on and all. There’s no way to confirm this for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she is like 4’9. The Golden Age and I agreed that the final minute or so of this track is probably the strongest part of the whole album and the only point where they really let loose. Since the show has been significantly harder than the album, you can imagine how good this portion is live.
8. “Go Outside”
After some more of the airport announcements (?) and a bit of a pause for dramatic effect, they play the much awaited opening notes of “Go Outside.” the entire hall goes crazy as even the Foster the People fans can exclaim, “Hey! I know this song.” The drummer belts it out from start to finish as Follin seriously delivers on the energy front. When everyone in the house sings along with a certain song can be a really electric experience. I’m loving this shit.
9. “Rave On”
I get genuinely bummed out when they start playing this one because I assume that it’s their closing number. I genuinely turned to Golden Age at this point and asked, “Do opening bands ever do encores?” Probably not. Anyway, this little slow builder comes as advertised and seems like a great way for the band to go out. I really hope they stick around and don’t get manipulated by a record label into something they’re not.
10. “Oh My God”
My thoughts exactly! One more song, which is introduced with an excruciating plug for Foster the People. They picked the perfect song to go out on as it serves for the ultimate embodiment of their entire show. This song was very high energy and slightly hard on the album, so naturally it’s super high energy (Follin recovered fully from her early-show singing follies) and more shredding from Oblivion (just realized the guy’s hair is freakishly long). They wrap it up and slide quietly offstage. They are the real fucking deal.
I am so glad they lived up to the hype because I absolutely adored their self-titled debut. I didn’t fully understand a few of their aesthetics (the previously mentioned speaker voice occurring through the show or the distorted clips of 50s movies on the projector screen behind them), but the show was hard not to enjoy. I did wish that they played a little bit longer, maybe hitting every song off of the album (they actually didn’t play the third person with us’s favorite song from the album- what are the odds for a ten song set and an eleven song album?) or even sneaking in a cover of some sort (doo wop anyone?). Either way, they get my stamp of approval and I eagerly await whatever comes next. I would definitely see them again… just hopefully not opening for Foster the People.