TVD Live Shots: The Cult and Primal Scream at the Warfield, 11/17

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-7

I’ve seen The Cult perform live almost a dozen times and they never cease to amaze me. How could one ever get tired of the combination of Ian Astbury’s dark yet soulful voice and Billy Duffy’s one of a kind Phil Spector-esque wall of sound guitar tone?

Add in some of the most iconic and memorable rock songs of the past 30 years and you have arguably one of the greatest rock bands on the planet in my opinion. For some reason they seem to play in San Francisco more than any other city in the country, but this time around it was quite a different show.

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-2-2

Teaming up with Scottish rock gods Primal Scream, the co-headlining bill appropriately named “Primal Cult,” is in the midst of a short West Coast run. I’m a casual fan of Primal Scream as they usually come in one of two flavors in regards to their live shows. One being their signature, noise-induced psychedelic electro-rock in the form of Screamadelica and Evil Heat (which I totally dig as do so many aging hipsters), and the second, their Stones-infused classic rock jams found on my favorite two records from them, Riot City Girl and the terribly underrated Give Out but Don’t Give Up. This show in particular would feature the later.

The musical pairing of these two bands worked beautifully—each one elegantly pulling together a setlist from their impressive catalogue of genre bending rock ‘n’ roll. The Cult truly impressed, going back all the way to 1984’s Dreamtime to open up their set with “Horse Nation,” and continuing with “Rain” and “Nirvana” from their masterpiece Love. Other highlights from the set were two of my all time favorites, “Honey from a Knife” and “Lucifer” from 2012’s Choice of Weapon, and “Wonderland,” a surprise throwback to the often missing Sonic Temple follow-up, Ceremony.

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-2

But the real gift from this show was the debut of the new track, “Dark Energy,” from the band’s upcoming tenth studio album Hidden City due on February 5th. I hesitate to say that this is a return to form for the band as I don’t think they’ve really strayed too far from what makes them great on their last two efforts—but goddamn this song is good. I would describe it as the perfect mix of Sonic Temple and Electric, with a shot of adrenaline and no frills production.

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-3-2

I got a sneak preview of the entire new record from the band’s publicist and I’ve listened to it ten times in a row and I can tell you this is the best work these guys have done in the past decade. It’s just a shame that we have to wait for three months to throw this one on the turntable, but you can pre-order Hidden City in all its deluxe white 2LP awesomeness here in the meantime.

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-3

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-4-2

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-4

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-5-2

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-5

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-6-2

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-6

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-7-2

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-1

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-8-2

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-8

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-9-2

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-9

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-10-2

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-10

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-11

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-13

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-12

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-14

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-15

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-16

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-17

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-18

PRIMAL SCREAM

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-1

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-1-2

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-2-2

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-2

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-3-2

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-3

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-4-2

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-4

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-5-2

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-5

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-6-2

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-6

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-7-2

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-7

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-8

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-9

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-10

Primal Scream Photographed by Jason Miller-11

Bottom line: Two legends celebrate their legacy while one sets the stage for a proper return. Both still pack a enough punch and epic rock ‘n’ roll anthems and prove they’re still as relevant as ever before.

Check out hi res photos in the gallery: The Cult here and Primal Scream here.

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