Cults Play Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia
Cults (our former Artist to Watch) is a duo is comprised of singer Madeline Follin and guitarist/keyboardist Brian Oblivion. Cults have come a long way since their debut album (also a major label release on Sony’s Columbia imprint). They’ve now grown to add three additional backing members, which add a whole new dimension to their live act.
Cults took the stage in support of their sophomore album, Static, and dove right into their current single “High Road.” Behind them, the stage was set with eight small video screens that put on a stunning display of static imagery and black and white stock footage that projected throughout the night. The intensity of the visuals matched Follin’s vocal emotions and fed into the band’s energy. The lights were dim and the venue was near complete darkness; while unsettling, it created a mood that felt just right for the band’s material.
Follin stood almost motionless behind the mic all night, aside from simple swaying. At times, she seemed emotionless, deeply staring into the crowd, and only speaking up to say “thank you.” However, she still managed to consume the venue with her forceful vocals. Her voice was squeaky, yet beautiful, hitting notes that matched perfectly to each song while creating a defining element among the 60s-inspired, psychedelic pop melodies.
Cults played through an impressive set list – including the bass-stomping “I Can Hardly Make You Mine,” “Keep Your Head Up,” along with the vocal-trading break-up themed “Bumper.” They also tore through the track that put them on the map, “Go Outside,” which had every person singing along (the chorus is still stuck in my head).
As the set came to an end, the video screens fittingly faded to static, slowly shutting off one by one. The night as a whole was simple, however, Cults have proven you don’t need a flashy light show with exuberant dance moves to put on a good performance. It’s merely about good music. Cults have continued to create the perfect balance of retro and modern sounds, mixed with deep, emotional lyrics. One thing is for sure, heartbreak has never sounded so good.
Article by Erika Reinsel