By: John Bat
The first time I saw Cults back in 2012, everything was small. The stage was small, the band was small, and even the crowd was small. However, after last night’s electrifying performance at The Blue Note, it made me realize just how far Cults has moved up within the sphere of college/indie music in a mere two years.
The only opening act, Mood Rings, promptly began their set at nine. This five-man trance/pop band delighted onlookers from every corner of the venue. Their nonchalant attitude on stage matched with raw musical talent strengthened the growing crowd’s interest in much of what the band had to offer from their 2013 debut VPI Harmony.
By the end of Mood Rings’ set, a hefty crowd had filled the floor of the Blue Note. On the last song of the set lead vocalist, William Fussell, ended up breaking a string on his guitar. Fussell spontaneously chose to use the partly attached string to add distortion and echoed fuzz on top of the band’s experimental draw. This musical ingenuity and passion is what finally convinced me to buy VPI Harmony and meet all of the band members after their set.
Shortly after Mood Rings, Cults was met with a generous applause as they took the stage. The floor was packed and several onlookers from the balcony stood to welcome the young band. Cults opened up their set with the popular hit “High Road” off of their most recent album Static. Throughout Cults’ set, the band preformed most of the songs off of Static while still tossing in a handful of songs from their debut album. Half-way through their performance, Cults paid tribute to their favorites of the 80’s by skillfully covering The Motel’s “Total Control”.
With more than a dozen fuzzy television sets hanging up behind the band, it was easy to get lost within the atmospheric haze that Cults was visibly trying to share. Lead singer, Madeline Follin, was indeed a charmer that evening with her smooth vocals matched with the echo of drifting guitar riffs and a xylophone to chime along. Her partner in crime (and former long-time boyfriend), Brian Oblivion, took time towards the end of the set to thank the audience as well as express his love for Missouri. Brian grew up visiting the Lake of the Ozarks quite frequently during his childhood and he wasn’t hesitant to tell the crowd all about it. Cults officially ended their set for the night with the crowd favorites “Go Outside” and “Oh My God” both of off their debut album. They made us wait for it.
For only performing in Missouri three times before last night, the turn out for Cults at The Blue Note couldn’t have been any more perfect: a large enough crowd to give the band the emotion they needed for a strong performance and small enough to where I could see the stage and not be a packed sardine for two plus hours. Nearly two years since I saw them on a much smaller stage at The Parish in Austin, TX. it was clear to me that Cults have rapidly matured into a band now ready for the bigger stages and the bigger crowds. What was once an intimate musical experience on 6th Street has transitioned into a slightly more polished and perfected live performance that you all eventually need to witness.
John is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and minoring in History. John started DJ-ing at KCOU the fall semester of his freshman year and boy does he love it. He frequently day dreams about San Francisco sourdough bread bowls during micro economics class while still managing to keep his GPA up. While John realizes that California is ridiculously expensive, his alternate plan is to go to law school and move back to his home state of Texas.