LIVE Cults by Mats Schram


Riding the popularity of the new album Static, Cults finally came back to Vancouver for the first time in over a year. Their long-awaited return was well received at the Rio Theatre, prompting almost a full house by the time they arrived onstage. Between the opening support from Sacco and Mood Rings and the comprehensive cinema atmosphere the Rio emanates, the stage was set for a memorable evening.

In a set list that moved fluidly back and forth through both their sophomore and debut albums, Cults managed to keep everyone in the theatre on their toes – literally. By their third song “Always Forever,” the majority of the crowd had migrated up and out of their seating confinements, eager to dance. Like many before him, guitarist Brian Oblivion admitted it was his first ever theatre performance, pausing to mull over his teenage theatre job of “standing up onstage, introducing movies” before casually rolling into their tuneful track “So Far.”

Quickly and quietly transitioning between each song, little was said by neither Oblivion nor lead singer Madeline Follin, rather letting the visuals do the majority of the talking. Although seating may come as a downside to a gung-ho crowd, performing at the Rio meant cinema-quality projections – much of which seemed to be organized solely by the theatre staff. Regardless of their lack of conversation, Cults proved more than engaging with the coupling of awe-inspiring effects and consistently catchy material.

While the encore felt quite a bit forced, Cults certainly delivered – a three-song cap to an hour-long set, including the much-anticipated smash single “Go Outside” as well as my personal favourite, “Oh My God.” Both Follin and Oblivion seemed content blending in with the touring band members, as if not to dilute their participation in the performance by standing out – but when you’ve got an entire cinema swaying along, who’s complaining?

By B. Mackay
Photo by Mats Schram

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