Cults at Rhythm Room, 3/19/12 (VIDEO)
Better Than: Sweating buckets or inhaling copious amounts of secondhand smoke at previous Cults shows.
Being "Internet famous" can come as a mixed blessing, but Cults has now played three sold out Arizona shows thanks to hype from the blogosphere.
The band's career started when founders (and boyfriend/girlfriend) Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin posted a few songs online for friends to hear and ended up attracting national attention. Part of Cults' allure was its mystery--on the surface, the band plays sunny, upbeat indie with twinges of '60s pop, but there's something darker lurking under the air of sweetness and innocence.
I was first introduced to Cults when the band opened for The Morning Benders a couple years ago. I was smitten by what appeared to be the physical manifestation of what would happen if Nancy Sinatra met Charles Manson. Beyond the upbeat, glockenspiel-driven melodies lurks something a little more sinister. Just listen to "Abducted," it seems like an intense love song, but it's really about an unhealthy relationship.
After that show, I, like many others scoured the internet for any information I could possibly find about Cults. I listened to the three song demo quite a bit in the months leading up to the release of the band's debut full length album last year. I believe the album is what launched Cults into full fledged buzzband territory, because the band sold out its Club Congress show last summer and drew a huge crowd at FYF Fest in Los Angeles.
Both shows were fun, but pretty similar. I was a little disappointed that I drove down to Tucson to see Cults perform a relatively short 45 minute set, only to hear a very similar setlist at FYF. Regardless, they are a great live band that really exemplifies their charm in person, but it's done in a modest way, as if the band is still coming to terms with its large fanbase.