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Cult classic

Fresh from his tenure filling Jim Morrison's estimable role in the Doors, Ian Astbury accepted what he told Rolling Stone was "the inevitable": He called up his old partner Billy Duffy and reactivated the Cult.

The Cult is the band that most successfully walked the tightrope between '80s alternative and '70s arena-rock. In the process, the group created three hard-rock classics that proved heavy guitars were not the sole property of metal dudes with bad hair.

Astbury and Duffy -- the voice and the guitar behind so many classics, including "She Sells Sanctuary," "Fire Woman" and "Wild Flower" -- reportedly killed the Cult following the lukewarm reception granted 2001's "Beyond Good and Evil," due to what Astbury called a desire to rescue the band. Record label apathy and the general feeling that the industry was collapsing upon itself led to some serious infighting in the Cult, and Astbury felt it was time to pull the plug before the band members ended up hating each other.

Christening this tour "A Return to Wild," Astbury and Duffy buried their differences, dug into their catalog and came up with an 18-song show highlighting their finest moments, with a healthy mixture of old and new stuff.

That, apparently, is exactly the kind of heavy rock majesty audiences in these parts have been craving; the Cult's 8 p.m. show on Tuesday inside the Town Ballroom, 681 Main St., is sold out.

-- Jeff Miers

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