Meath’s Cult Called Man launch the vinyl edition of their debut album, Cult Fiction, in the Button Factory tonight. It’s the first we’ve heard of opening band, Papa Rua, but their opening tune 'Not In My Name' suggests a deep reservoir of talent and ingenuity. It’s a light funk tune with an irresistible melody. The fellow Meath band play a brand of pop that was common in the ‘70s and ‘80s but is rare nowadays. It’s easy to see why CCM selected them for the bill. The two fit hand in glove.
Their cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Exodus’ is a re-interpretation with a funk overtone that is, by turns, mellow and swinging. A bit like Finlay Quaye without the behavioural issues. ‘You Got Me’ is an intimately performed love song. The last song, ‘Lorna’, starts out with finger picked guitar and tight vocal harmonies before the rest of the band join in and the kick drum beats out a steady pulse. I expect to hear more from this crowd.
Anticipation is building for their latest headline show. CCM are fresh from opening for All Tvvins at the Olympia and having their debut album nominated for the Choice Music Prize, We’ve seen them before in Musos' Guide. They’re not yet at the level of selling out the Button Factory but there’s a respectable crowd here, and the ambitious move is proving popular with the fans. It's a better class of venue than they are used to with bands of this magnitude. The lights go down and the tannoy music mutes as CCM take the stage. The countdown on the big screen lets us know that something is about to go down. CCMtv starts to broadcast and the music begins.
After an instrumental introduction, they break into ‘Shut Up And Glow’ and ‘Bad Seeds’ from the album. There’s little in the way of audience interaction, they let the music do the talking, often segueing one song into the next. CCM think nothing of playing four songs in a medley with seamless interludes joining them together. It’s like something they picked up from The Family Stone and it makes them a formidable live force.
They’ve set up the stage for the big occasion but the lights are pointing right in the faces of the crowd. It’s distracting having white spots in your vision while watching the band. Frontman Razmo leaves the stage and re-emerges in sparkly knee high moonboots for ‘The Martian’. He is a flamboyant and engaging performer as well as a versatile singer. The songs are unconventional and unique to the band. They could only be performed by this unit.
When I first saw this band they were covering David Bowie b-sides to pad out a half hour set now, with an album and a couple of EPs behind them, they can pick and choose their setlist. The pleading harmonies of the penultimate tune, ‘Sad Bunch’, lead into ‘For The Cadillac Kids’. It’s a stormer of a finishing tune and, as ever, Cult Called Man defy the demands for an encore. They always leave you wanting more.