Reviewed on Friday October 4.

A trio of first-class performances flowed through the much-loved Pavilion of Hordern on Friday night, with the smell of nostalgia heavy in the air. I spent many an unhinged night in my early twenties at this venue seeking out great music and experiences with people who are now just distant memories. Tonight the Hordern is exactly what a venue should be to mark the occasion: loud and huge. The motley crowd of ten-to-75-year-olds swelled outdoors in hazes of smoke, weathered black band t-shirts and overpriced beer.

The all-girl quintet Beaches kicked off the night with a solid set of ’70s-style psych rock. The casually cool Melbourne ladies warmed the crowd up with just the right dose of purring guitars, ethereal vocals and smoke-filled ambience onstage. Cue Redcoats, and the bar was raised higher again. Dynamo frontman Emilio Mercuri slinked and writhed his way around the stage, gripping his microphone with the firmness of a long-lost lover. Mercuri’s Herculean vocals complemented the band’s raw cranking sound, thick with bass-heavy riffs, reverb and feedback. There were plenty of sexy guitar solos and slamming drum sequences to keep the sea of heads enthusiastically banging away.

The Cult immortalised their groundbreaking 1987 album Electric with a sensational and immaculate performance. Ian Astbury sported the classic overcooked rock‘n’roll guise, wearing dark sunglasses for the entire set, with hair slicked back and a fur-collared coat despite the obvious heat. Astbury’s charisma and ear-piercing gritty vocals match those of any young gun. Alongside him, Billy Duffy’s skilful guitar playing was razor-sharp.

An electrifying light show and artistic visuals were on show throughout, including an interesting short film titled Elemental Light, which Astbury chimed was “for all you people who like art and arty things and stuff.” The visual triptych juxtaposed snippets of animals and exploding technology backed by an ambient electro soundtrack. A cautionary tale illustrating the inevitable death of nature at the hands of humans, perhaps? Aside from this bizarre allegorical tangent, The Cult’s performance had the crowd eating out of their palms; dancing and singing along in an idolising frenzy.


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