Cults brings early holiday cheer to The Echo

Cults The Echo 2019 mainbar

New York-based indie pop band Cults brought two nights of tunes to The Echo just days before Christmas, spreading some holiday cheer to the few in LA who don’t flee the city during this time.

With three albums to their name, the group was able to pick and choose different songs on each night to play, with a focal point on last year’sĀ Offering. The band also recently released a collection of tunes that didn’t make the album, called Offering B-Sides & Remixes.

One of the first shows I ever saw in LA was Cults at the House of Blues in 2013 before it closed. I wasn’t even officially living in the city yet. Five years later, singer Madeline Follin still has the same charming meek stage presence. Throughout the set, she messed with her hair and smiled nervously as she sang the band’s many raw yet catchy tunes. Her dress shined as brightly as the disco ball that hung over the crowd’s head.

The set kicked off with the title track from last year’s record. It was followed by “I Took Your Picture” from the same album, the lo-fi-ness of it reminiscent of their self-titled first record. The band also played Offering B-SidesĀ “Not Impossible” and “Hope You Found What You’ve Been Missing” to great fanfare.

“Bumper” is one of my favorite tracks as Follin and Brian Oblivion trade turns on verses in a very ’60s-sounding tune. “I Can Hardly Make You Mine” shows Follin’s unique talent for hitting the high notes in the song’s chorus.

“High Road” came midway through the show. The guitar riff reminds me of ’90s one-hit wonder Folk Implosion song “Natural One”. Follin’s voice transforms the song from being a post-grunge tune to a more doo-wop sounding record.

A cover of “Celia” by The Motels stood out nicely and was followed by “You Know What I Mean”, one of the band’s breakout hits from their debut. An encore featured “Go Outside” — the song that first introduced me to the band. I remember seeing the band play it at the inaugural Life is Beautiful in 2013, the song traveling across the crowd and hitting me like a wave in the ocean. It felt much more compact in the tiny room of The Echo. The band closed with “Always Forever” from their second record Static.

Getting to see a band like Cults in an intimate space like The Echo was an early Christmas present. I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future.

Madeline’s brother Richie James Follin and his band Guards opened up the night, providing a nice appetizer for those who showed up a bit early. A full gallery of both bands can be found below.

Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Tim Aarons