Cults: Do They Deserve The Buzz? Are They Good Live?
Zach Hart Thursday, August 05, 2010
In a few months, Cults went from being a band with three tracks on Bandcamp to having a 7” released on Forest Family Records, an Adult Swim produced music video, nation wide tour, and being the toast of thousands of blogs. With this instant success, a cloud of skepticism followed the band…do they really deserve this buzz or is it manufactured? A few hours before I saw the Cults here in Louisville, I posted a message on twitter and facebook saying: “Going to see Cults, let’s see what they’re worth.” Within minutes I had fifty responses asking me to let them know how the show was…everyone seemed 50/50 on Cults…do they deserve what some bands struggle for years to obtain? It’s impossible to know a band’s merit based on three tracks, so I decided the live show would settle it.
Cults are the real deal. I was expecting a cutesy two piece who couldn’t step outside the brilliant “Go Outside” and what I witnessed instead is a solid six piece that played music that transcended the buzz. Frontwoman Madeline Follin has a majestic quality about her voice and stage presence that creates a hypnotic, yet toe tapping, live show. Talking to Madeline after the show, the subject of Joe Meek came up and she admitted that as a kid she wore a shirt that read “Got Meek?” This is not a band who cheated their way into music, their love for music runs deep and they have the knowledge of music history to smartly implement their favorite influences. Guitar player Brian Oblivion and Madeline have an on stage relationship with the unique sounds they present that can only be described as special. The backing band includes members from Willowz, one of my favorite bands of the early 2000’s and adds a perfect backdrop to the energy between Brian and Madeline. The music, surprisingly, is unpredictable; weaving it’s way from 50’s prom music to 90’s stripped down indie rock.
I stood at the venue stunned. This was not a blog creation, a band riding the wave of buzz, a group hiding behind their one known track. I can say with a smile that Cults truly deserve everything that is coming to them and they are a magnificent band. In the world of blog buzz, it’s fair to be skeptical of those bands that rise out of the blackhole of free mp3s. After last night, I’m no longer concerned with how Cults deal with the buzz; rather I’m excited to see what one of the best new bands of 2010 does next. Yes, they’re a real band…and they’re amazing.