The Cult Channels Its Inner Morrison at the Fillmore Miami Beach

The Cult couldn't have a more fitting name.

If a Druid or Dionysian from centuries ago time traveled to the Fillmore this past Saturday night, they could be forgiven for thinking that the concertgoers were actually religious followers gathering at a temple to witness some sort of holy ceremony. 

In a blackened room, as prerecorded tribal drumming blasted through the speakers, the five touring members of the Cult picked up their instruments a little after 9:30 p.m. Though surrounded by three new members, the core of the band has always been singer Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, the principal songwriters of the group.

Astbury has always worshiped at the altar of Jim Morrison. Ten years ago, he toured with the surviving members of the Doors, and 25 years ago, Oliver Stone offered him the starring role in his movie The Doors. On Saturday night — with his shoulder-length hair, sunglasses, and boundless energy — Astbury unleashed his own version of the Lizard King, ranting at modern technology, banging on his tambourine, and even muttering something about James Douglas Morrison being found guilty by Dade County before singing "Horse Nation."

Ol' Jim would have been proud.

"It's a tribe, man," Astbury screamed midway through the 90-minute set. "It's what we've been trying to build for 30 fucking years." And there was, indeed, a familial vibe to the moderately sized crowd that enthusiastically raised fists and sung along to hits like "Fire Woman" and "She Sells Sanctuary." They even clapped politely to the newer, more unfamiliar songs like "Birds of Paradise" and "Deeply Ordered Chaos," tracks off the newest album, Hidden City, which is a surprisingly worthy addition to the Cult's hard-rocking goth legacy.

The Cult recently announced it will be opening for a few dates on this year's Guns N' Roses reunion tour, which is only fair, since Guns N' Roses partly broke through thanks to opening for the Cult in the '80s and even kidnapped the Cult's drummer, Matt Sorum, and took him as their own. With the mania and precision it brought to its show at the Fillmore, the Cult deserves to be heard by massive audiences again. As Billy Duffy told the crowd at the end of the show, "Don't forget us. We won't forget you."

Set List:
"Wild Flower"
"Dark Energy"
"Horse Nation"
"Lil' Devil"
"Birds of Paradise"
"Deeply Ordered Chaos"
"Sweet Soul Sister"
"Fire Woman"
"The Phoenix"
"She Sells Sanctuary"

"G O A T"
"Love Removal Machine"

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland