Text and Photos: Bobby Cochran
The plan was for me to connect with Cult Leader at their show in Reno, a small town just across the California/Nevada border not necessarily known for its thriving music scene. Word came down they’d been having trouble with their van just outside Salt Lake City and were stuck trying to fix it. I made my way to Reno anyway with the hope they’d get on the road OK and make it to the show. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way, and the Reno show had to be cancelled. However, the band is lucky enough to have a mechanic in guitarist Mike Mason, who managed to replace the fuel injectors (after waiting two hours for Mike’s dad to drive the missing parts 2 hours from SLC) so they could get on the road. It was late as they headed west, hoping to cut some hours off their drive to San Francisco for the next show. I found a place to hunker down for the night, and headed to SF the next day, which was where we finally met up.
The hurry-up-and-wait game is familiar with all touring bands, where days are spent driving driving driving, then waiting to load into the venue, then waiting to soundcheck, then waiting hours until the show starts, then waiting another hour (or more) while the opening bands do their thing. This can make for some very, very long days. But when you’re touring with bands you enjoy spending time with and enjoy watching them play every night, it can make the days go by a little quicker. Joining Cult Leader for these handful of dates were Denver grindcore trio Vermin Womb and post-hardcore heroes Less Art (featuring members of Kowloon Walled City and Thrice), who are all friends and comrades-in-arms from previous musical excursions. This mini-tour made for a diverse musical lineup that worked well, regardless of the musical divergences.
Despite the long day of waiting, Cult Leader managed to blow the roof off this tiny club with a ferocity and fortitude that makes them unique amongst their peers. Opening with “Mongrel” from their Nothing For Us Here E.P., and blasting through a short but formidable set, Cult Leader put a proverbial stake in the ground announcing their conquest of this particular spot on the musical map. Blasting through almost half the songs from their debut album Lightless Walk and a couple from the EP, I have to admit feeling a little disappointment when vocalist Anthony Lucero called out the last song, “Driftwood”. I wanted more. Luckily I’ll have my chance when Cult Leader opens for Converge and Sumac in January. So will you, so don’t miss it.