Intronaut / Emma Ruth Rundle / Cult Of Luna – The Fonda Theatre; Los Angeles, CA

March 16, 2020
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As I mentioned in my last post, my plans this week (when not staying in and hunkering down) mostly revolved around the Cult Of Luna concert at the Fonda in Hollywood. Of course, the very next day all hell broke loose in terms of the local health department and government limited events to no more than…what is it now, 250 people in the same space? All day prior to the concert — and even as I munched on some sweet potato fries and mac and cheese before the show (next door at Blue Palms Brewhouse) — I wondered long and hard about whether or not I should even go. As multiple ticketed events I planned on attending have since been cancelled — including a work trip back east in April — I now feel bad for having gone to the show. Hopefully it won’t turn out to have been a bad decision on my part. I tried to keep a safe distance from others at the show, but that’s never too easy in an enclosed venue. Still! The show must go on. In hindsight, kudos to all the performers who took the stage on Tuesday night for their fortitude crossing the continent during the past couple weeks. Hopefully after tonight’s show in Mexico all those involved will be able to return to their respective homes safely and full of health.

We only caught the last couple minutes of Intronaut’s set but it sounded very…Cloakroom-y to me. Which is to say I dug what I heard.

The last time I saw Emma Ruth Rundle live was in February of 2017 at The Complex in Glendale. Since then she’s released a new album, On Dark Horses (#11 on the Swan Fungus Top 100 of 2018) and toured the globe in support of it. Previously when I saw her she performed with a full band. Tonight she was solo with an electric guitar, which made for a very different vibe. Her voice was fully on display, and she kept a rapt crowd solely focused on her performance. She even threw in an old song originally recorded by her band The Nocturnes, which was a pleasant surprise. As of right now, her next show (I think) is supposed to be Roadburn in the Netherlands. Who knows if that event will go on as planned or be cancelled. It’ll be interesting to see if she returns to playing with a band or not, but either way the performance should be awesome.

Emma Ruth Rundle Setlist:
01. Living With The Black Dog
02. Shadows Of My Name
03. Marked For Death
04. Grandmother, Make Me A Steeple [Nocturnes]
05. Darkhorse
06. Control
07. Protection
08. NEW SONG
09. Real Big Sky

The last (and only!) time I saw Cult Of Luna was at Psycho Las Vegas with Julie Christmas in 2017. At that time I called it the highlight of the weekend-long festival. More recently, Cult of Luna has released a new album called A Dawn To Fear (#4 on my Top 100 Albums Of 2019 list). I don’t fully remember the makeup of the touring band last time, but I’m pretty sure they’ve added a second drummer and lost an keyboardist since then. Maybe they shifted someone from keyboards to guitar/bass? Either way, the 2nd percussionist definitely added a huge low-end boost to the band’s sound. As great as the songs from the new album sounded in a live setting, getting to hear songs from Vertikal and Somewhere Along The Highway made for a very welcome surprise. If I had any complaint whatsoever, it’s that the electronic elements were dwarfed by the thunderousness of everyone else on stage. There were a couple little passages where bleeps and bloops rose above the din, but for the most part it was pretty soft and added minimal texture.

I think at this point it is safe to say the awesomeness of the two Cult Of Luna sets I’ve seen requires I see them whenever they pass through town. For as little as they speak or interact during a show, they manage to put on a great performance. There’s a lot of movement on stage and in spite of what I wrote in the paragraph above this one their sound really is honed in nicely. Loud, yeah, but also remarkably nuanced — and at times even pretty!

With the North America tour wrapped up for now, who knows what the future holds for Cult of Luna. I hope they (and Intronaut and Emma Ruth Rundle) can hit the road again soon and continue treating fans to wonderful performances around the globe.

In the meantime, seriously consider buying albums (or merch) from any of these bands. Preferably from their own shops if they have any online.

Cult of Luna’s shop is located here and they have a Bandcamp page here.
Links to Emma Ruth Rundle’s store(s) are located here and her Bandcamp page is here.
Intronaut has some merch here and a Bandcamp page here.

Cult Of Luna Setlist:
01. The Silent Man
02. Finland
03. Nightwalkers
04. I: The Weapon
05. And With Her Came The Birds
06. Lights On The Hill
07. In Awe Of
08. Passing Through
09. The Fall

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