Imagine 90s chancers Bush, or someone similar, decided to incorporate elements of prog. Just fucking imagine that for a second. If that sounds like your thing, then keep an ear out for tonight’s support band, Ape Rising. Bands take note – don’t get up on the stage in the same ratty clobber you were wearing when you did the load in.
Which leads me on to the colourful main act of the evening. Cult Called Man, most of whom arrive out in full military regalia. Lead singer Razmo sports a fetching psychedelic suit (imagine Syd Barrett’s pyjamas from about 1967), while the bass player, who proves to be a proper groovy bastard for the duration, looks like a Cuban pimp, insistent on selling you something you probably shouldn’t buy. Apparently, he’s called Sebastian. Of course he is. They’re making an effort. Proper order.
‘Welcome To The Island’ kicks things off - all jittery new wave shapes, followed by ‘Bad Seeds’, the opener from last year’s very fine Cult Fiction. The nagging chorus over jagged guitars has the sold out crowd at Dublin’s finest Rock n’ Roll n’ Liquor emporium, The Thomas House, singing along, obviously already familiar with the material. ‘Wickyr Mice’, together with ‘Lonely as Hell’, which arrives later, deliver the kind of new wave reggae beloved of the post-punk generation. But things really start to get interesting around about the staccato clang and hiss of ‘The Martian’. Razmo takes a mile from the yard offered, giving us his bloke-trying-to-get-out-of-an-electric-chair dance. He’s got the right kind of voice for this stuff too, although he does go a bit Foghorn Leghorn the odd time.
‘For The Cadillac Kids’ begins with a background military tattoo on the drums before defecting to a full soviet work song. ‘Shut Up and Grow’ is a bit of a dirge though; imagine someone trying to convey the greatness of David Bowie using only the recorded works of Gary Numan as an instructional aid. We’re back on track as ‘Lightbulb Sam’, great title, goes into ‘Circus’, its meaty guitar riff descending into the soundtrack to that dream you have where the clown is chasing you with a knife. ‘New Religion’ cops a feel off the Peter Gunn theme before we get an extended version of the big single, ‘Make It Easy’, which combines the African end of Talking Heads with a slightly rockier version of Chic, to finish.
They are literally jumping up and down with ideas. Get in on it.