The Cult is ready to rock the Fremont Street Experience
Now in its fourth decade, British hard rock outfit The Cult has routinely done one thing particularly well: It only ever sounds like The Cult. This is a rock band that has carved out its own niche and never chased trends. At different times, it has been described as post-punk, heavy metal or goth rock, but labels mean next to nothing to founding members Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy, the frontman and lead guitarist that make up the core and spirit of the band.
As Astbury wrote five years ago, “The Cult have and shall always remain outside.” The band’s individuality, ability to seamlessly soar across rock genres and distinctive, defiant attitude have allowed it to thrive through generations and fit into multiple formats. This is especially true in 2018, when The Cult kicks off triple headlining tour this month with fellow favorites Stone Temple Pilots and Bush.
The 20-city Revolution 3 Tour officially launches July 18 at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, but the world got a taste of what this three-headed musical monster is capable of at a special announcement event in Los Angeles in April. It was there that these veteran rockers started to discover what they had in common, according to Duffy.
“On one level there is a bit of friendship between certain members of different bands, but that alone isn’t enough to jump the higher hurdles and logistics of putting the tour together,” he says. “That was (promoter) Live Nation that really believed in the idea of it and wanted it to happen. But I’ve known the guys from STP for a long time because of (playing together in) Kings of Chaos. And there is an arc of a band’s career, wherever you start and however long you are fortunate enough to go, if you make it through a certain level you sort of shed the negative aspects of ego, I think, and really start to appreciate what you got.”
That bit of rock gratitude is a shared characteristic for these three bands, but they have other things in common, including a solid and extended catalog of songs and an unrelenting willingness to satisfy their fans in the live environment. The Cult tunes up for the tour with a free show at the Fremont Street Experience on July 14, another installment of the Downtown Rocks concert series. “This show is great for us, definitely from a logistical point of view to travel east from Vegas, but it just kicks it off well,” Duffy says. “We’re going to be doing a few one-offs here and there but we don’t have a heavy tour schedule other than Revolution, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
The legendary guitar god behind the metal-blues sounds of The Cult’s third album Electric and the stadium-filling, riff-filled anthems of Sonic Temple is excited to return to Las Vegas. The band played its first Sin City show in 1991.
“I think maybe we played a casino ballroom as there were no proper venues for rock bands,” he says. “Seeing our name on a marquee outside with Tony Bennett was a really tricky thing for me, and for my parents. I sent them a picture and it was really funny. Vegas has changed a lot since then and that’s great. If you’ve got stamina, it’s a great place.”
Fremont Street Experience, 9 p.m. July 14, free. 702.678.5600