Born in 1984 out of the ashes of the UK post-punk scene, The Cult are one of the few bands that successfully reinvent themselves while staying consistent to their roots. It’s a tough thing to do in this current sea of irrelevant music that is watered down and reliant upon a viral, social-media flash-in-the-pan for defining success. But The Cult have continued to record and tour while keeping their devoted fan base energized with a steady stream of new music and stellar live performances.
When I heard that Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy were making a stop in San Francisco on the way to Coachella, I marked my calendar and cleared my schedule. I have seen the band over a dozen times, and they never get old. This time, though, was something really special, as the band would debut their Coachella set, which they are calling A New Wilderness. In addition to a few select US dates, they will perform in the desert for the first time at Coachella on April 11 and April 18.
A New Wilderness reflects the recent NASA study, concluding that modern civilization as we know it will change drastically in the next few decades, due to the strain on the Earth’s resources and economic stratification of the rich and poor.
This was an incredibly challenging show to shoot as the band requested that I shoot from the soundboard over the top of the crowd. This was the first time I had ever shot at the Regency Ballroom without a photo pit. My photog buddy Alan Snodgrass recommended that I bring a step stool and that was a life saver. Without it there would have been no shots at all. The other challenge was of course the ever changing lights and the fact that I only brought my 70-200 and had to crop all of my photos down substantially. In hindsight I should have brought a 300mm f4 which I believe is now essential for ANY soundboard shots. With that being said, I took the best of around 700 photos and turned them black and white since the colors were much less appealing.
So I present to you my favorite band of all time in beautiful black and white. I think this concept really captures the mystique of the band and brings us all back to their humble beginnings of goth rock. Hope you enjoy…