Show Review: Cults @ Emo’s (11.4)

Monday night gave you lots of choices as for live music in this city, but it didn’t seem like Emo’s was the popular choice for many, as even with the full venue partitioned in half the crowd wasn’t close to capacity. However this lack of audience wasn’t a problem once the bands for the night took the stage, each offering a different kind of tone and energy.

Read more and see pictures from Brian Gray…

First up was Atlanta, Georgia’s Mood Rings, who took the stage to a plethora of fog and carried this dreamlike effect all through their set. This five piece captivated audiences with their hazy dream pop and short and sweet set. With catchy guitar hooks, breathy vocals and ever changing bass lines captured my attention and it seemed from the amount of head bobbing and lack of show talkers that this band had captured the rest of the crowd’s attention as well. When the band left the stage after their quick set, I wasn’t ready for them to go: I wanted their hazy pop with dance beat undertones to carry on.

Next up was Sacco, a three piece who acclaims to be a dark ambient surf rock band on their website, though it came across a little flatter than all those things imply. Interesting at first, with fuzzy guitar and percussion as a main part of the songs, but the crowd grew a little weary of the simple three piece band and quickly wanted what they came to see, which may have been a case of second opener syndrome.

And so it wasn’t until around 10:45 that the headliner, Cults, was up. Their opening was pretty rough, with an awkward six-minute pause between when the venue lights were dimmed and an “entering” ambient track began playing that the band actually took the stage. After this, they opened with new single, “High Road,” which was sort of a train wreck: the mix seemed to be quite muddled and lead singer Madeline Follin was barely audible, which was quite disappointing as this song was one of my favorites off Static. Next up was a crowd favorite from their first release, “Abducted,” which pumped up the fans and gave the night the boost it needed. The sound was soon fixed and Follin seemed to find her stride and confidence in the more familiar track, even though it pushed her sugary vocals more than the first.

The vocals were great for the most part, and Follin was captivating as a front woman in that she always has a look of strained concentration and the ‘go-to’ move of a back up dancers’ hip switch from side to side. Along with the hypnotizing front woman the group brought along with them some cool stage projection lighting that really helped to keep the audience deadlocked on the group. Songs that stuck out “Were Before,”  “You Know What I Mean,” which both seemed to take on a new life not found on their albums; surprisingly these playful tunes were taken to a new height in the live setting, making this band great to watch and listen to.

While the live setting fleshed out the tunes from this New York band in an enjoyable light, the dead/cold endings to all of the songs became hyper evident. The band would find their groove in a song and then it would end abruptly allowing for some awkward space in which the audience didn’t react fast enough to fill it with applause. However, this was just a minor flaw in the evening—all in all Cults were quite a pleasant surprise.

Photoguy Note: Sorry for missing the openers, I was kicking it with my personal friend, Trent Reznor. As always, more pics at the photo site

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