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Ian Astbury

Ian Astbury and The Cult Electrified Billy Bob’s
Photo by Chuck Cox
Rattle and Hum Sports

Billy Bob’s changes things up for The Cult

By Chuck Cox

Special Contributor

On the somewhat rare occasions I get to see a rock show at Billy Bob’s, it’s always a little bit surreal. After all, when I think of “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk,” I think of both kinds of music — country and western.

But the recent “Electric 13″ tour stop by The Cult took it to another level. For starters, it was a Wednesday night. And even during the holiday season, it was a strange night of the week for a rock show at Billy Bob’s, which typically has shows on Friday and Saturday nights at 10:30 p.m. The show also started a little after 9 p.m., so that was also unusual.

However, the strangest aspect of the concert for me was the fact the tables in front of the stage were all gone. So, like several rock shows, there was general admission standing in front of the stage. It was my 26th show at Billy Bob’s, including a handful of rock concerts, and it was the first time I had ever seen the historic venue set up without its trademark cramped tables. It was much, much better that way.

The show itself was great. It was my first time to see The Cult, which played another concert at House of Blues, in Dallas, earlier this year. Without an opening act, the band played its brand of hard-driving rock for 90 minutes. It started off by doing most of its Electric album, including one of my all-time favorites by the band, “Love Removal Machine.”

The Cult then played 11 more songs, including fan favorites “Sweet Soul Sister” and “She Sells Sanctuary.” It was a little interesting the band opted to omit “Fire Woman” from the set list.

I’ve always thought of lead singer Ian Astbury as pretty much the perfect rock singer. The guy just oozes rock and roll and has a great growl. He and guitarist Billy Duffy are the only two remaining original members of the band, which formed in 1983, in England. And even by rock and roll standards, The Cult’s 21 former members is a pretty amazing total to wrap your brain around.

I’ve gotten to the point where there just aren’t that many bands around I still need to see for the first time live. The Cult was a big one to cross off my list. Billy Bob’s is also cool about bringing in cameras, so I got to shoot the show, too. That made it even more fun for me.

I’ll be heading back to Cowtown next week to see The Toadies at Billy Bob’s. But before that, I’ve got Jay Z at the American Airlines Center. And be sure to check back for my top 10 concerts of 2013.

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