i was there: cults at black cat (early show), 1.14.12

17 Jan

I’ve attended some awkwardly early shows lately. Something feels slightly strange about walking into Black Cat, a place normally reserved for nighttime frolicking,  before even eating dinner—though not as awkward as being in U Street Music Hall at 8 p.m. for the Penguin Prison show in December. That just felt straight up wrong.

I found myself in a similar predicament this past Saturday, when I attended the first of Cults’ back-to-back sets at Black Cat: doors for the early show were at 6, late show at 9. I worried the show would feel too brief, too “early bird special,” and not give me enough time with a band I consider one of my most exciting musical discoveries of the past six months.

But somehow, this short-but-sweet format works for Cults, an NYC-based girl-guy duo (with matching haircuts) that pairs singer Madeline Follin’s girlish, sing-along vocals against Brian Oblivion’s ’80s new wave guitar and synth. After all, their tremendously successful 2011 self-titled debut album clocks in at 30 minutes, and they built their indie reputation on just three singles they released online in 2010. No one expects them to play an marathon set with a lot of depth and layers. Instead of feeling abrupt, their performance felt nothing but charming despite its brevity.

The duo expands to a group of five for live performances, though Follin and Oblivion play the starring roles. Given the limited catalog the to pull from, the band easily covered all of their fan favorites (they opened with “Abducted” to get the crowd moving), but they threw in a pleasant surprise with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows,” which Oblivion claimed the band had performed only once. If that’s true, then wow- big ups, guys.

Also, is it weird that one of my favorite parts of the performance was that they didn’t do the requisite faux-exit before the encore? After closing with early hit “Go Outside,” Follin uttered a squeaky thank you and simply stated that the band would stay on stage for the encore, the light and breezy “Oh My God.”

I’m guessing the audience at Black Cat was prepared for the speedy conclusion, given that, well, another show was scheduled for an hour later. Or maybe the bouncy, whimsical sound of Cults’ insanely catchy melodies quelled any negative vibes the audience held. Because I, for one, enjoyed every 45 minutes of their set, and the happy chatter on the way out suggested others did too.

And then, we all left Black Cat to eat dinner and continue our nights. Weird.

Black Cat isn’t too keen on flash photography but enjoy some Iphone pics. Fittingly, hair is the strongest visual element in all of these:


One Response to “i was there: cults at black cat (early show), 1.14.12”

  1. djdeprey January 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    Vid of Leonard Cohen cover in Philly courtesy of YANP


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