What could reasonably be called a new and improved edition of popular '80s and early '90s hard rockers the Cult opened an unprecedented seven-night sold-out run at the Sunset Strip's House of Blues on Monday, and it was almost as if they had never gone away. The sound at the packed club was fattened by the recent addition of second guitarist Mike Dimkich, who added heft to the familiar riffs and solos of original six-stringer Billy Duffy. Ninety-minute show was a virtual greatest-hits run-through, including such enduring radio station fodder as "Fire Woman," "Sweet Soul Sister" (the band's catchiest), "Lil' Devil" and a smoking take on "She Sells Sanctuary."

What could reasonably be called a new and improved edition of popular ’80s and early ’90s hard rockers the Cult opened an unprecedented seven-night sold-out run at the Sunset Strip’s House of Blues on Monday, and it was almost as if they had never gone away.

The sound at the packed club was fattened by the recent addition of second guitarist Mike Dimkich, who added heft to the familiar riffs and solos of original six-stringer Billy Duffy.

Long-haired front man Ian Astbury easily fell back into the role of rock star, barking at fans with insults that were intended, no doubt, to incite the crowd members to mosh faster and cheer louder.

Ninety-minute show was a virtual greatest-hits run-through, including such enduring radio station fodder as “Fire Woman,” “Sweet Soul Sister” (the band’s catchiest), “Lil’ Devil” and a smoking take on “She Sells Sanctuary.”

Following a quick break, Astbury and the band (which recently inked a new deal with Atlantic Records) returned to the stage, where the singer — who looks and sings quite like Jim Morrison — quipped, “Perhaps you’re witnessing the most misunderstood band since the Doors.”

The group — which wraps a 31-show North American tour with these seven HOB bookings — then launched into the surprise track of the night, a trippy rendition of their semi-obscure 1985 gem “Phoenix” (which Astbury introduced as “Kitty Litter Disco”), followed by the adrenaline-pumping closer “Love Removal Machine.”

The Cult

House of Blues; 1,000 capacity; $30

Production

Presented inhouse. Opened and reviewed Aug. 16, 1999, continues Aug. 19-23, closes Aug. 25.

Cast

Band: Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy, Matt Sorum, Martyne LeNoble, Mike Dimkich.
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