The Cult didn’t exactly suck when they played the Murat’s Egyptian Room last Friday. They didn’t exactly burn the place down either. What did suck was having three totally worthless opening bands stink up the place before The Cult went on. It was a prelude of unimaginable horror that featured pop-punk bands with keyboards and $300 haircuts that couldn’t come up with a decent song between them. However, time was well spent on the sidewalk watching bimbos in low-cut blouses shiver between hits off cigarettes.
When The Cult came on, they did so with a set that offered all the hits everyone wanted to hear and a run through of almost the entire new album, Born Into This. Songs like “Dirty Little Rock Star,” “I Assassin” and the title track fit in well with the older material, but they came off bland and unconvincing. Although these songs sound great on the record, live, the band simply played them without trying to sell the crowd. That made this a greatest hits show with plenty of opportunity for bathroom breaks.
Billy Duffy didn’t disappoint, ripping off classic leads and solos with the cool of a veteran slinger and the hyper energy of a rookie. He managed to carry the rest of the band through a set that otherwise would’ve been a disaster. The backing guys did just exactly what was required — no more, no less.
The Cult’s frontman, Ian Astbury, on the other hand, looked as if he would’ve rather been anywhere other than where he was. The only time he even showed a little spark was during the opening moments of “She Sells Sanctuary” when he jumped into the crowd and got mixed up in a little tomfoolery. Other then that, he pretty much phoned it in, shaking his tambourine a little and doing his Jim Morrison moves while looking down his nose at the crowd.
With Born Into This, The Cult wanted to show the world that they still matter. Maybe they do still matter. But if they do, they didn’t want Indianapolis to know about it.