Finding Self Actualization at an Early Afternoon Punk Show with Ex-Cult

Chris Shaw of Ex-Cult. All photography by Meggyn Pomerleau

self-love is allowing yourself to embrace who you are now

Following a long night of Saturday’s Pickathon, vocalist Chris Shaw beckoned us to the front of a peculiarly beautiful Woods stage with an energy none of us had that early afternoon. Somehow within the first song, we all embodied it and couldn’t turn back.

Ex-Cult, an explosion of unsuspecting punks from Memphis, Tennessee comprised of aforementioned Chris Shaw, Alec McIntyre, Frank McLallen, Michael Peery, and JB Horrell, has been on my radar since blindly going to check out their set at Levitation in Austin, Texas two years ago. What’s convenient about Ex-Cult is that you can feel a pressure consistent with being hit by a semi truck, but there are no physical repercussions.

Prior to their afternoon show at Woods Stage, Ex-Cult created a physical strength, seducing me to the mosh pit at Galaxy Barn. This was in turn replaced by the shedding of all self-deprecation, allowing mindfulness and a clear head. Losing myself in “Knives On Both Sides”, I noticed how casual it was for each musician to hammer out the brassy yet technically perfect sounds. Each pause, shred, and movement was calculated and correct.

Frank McClallen of Ex-Cult


“Mr Investigator” off their latest release, Negative Growth [produced by Ty Segall], quickly became a classic for me during both of the live sets.

“You left people tattered,” I told Chris Shaw after the Galaxy Barn set. He simply replied with “good” and a chuckle.

Look out for Ex-Cult’s tour dates here.


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