Lovers of 80’s music in synth-pop and post-punk genres celebrated Saturday with a full list. Iggy PopGang of Four, Love and RocketsEcho and the Bunnymen and the Human League take the stage cruel world festival in Pasadena. One of the festival unexpected second evening Number of performances on Sunday after lightning interrupted Saturday night show Siouxie could play.
It’s no easy task to give loyal fans what they want while avoiding sounding entirely like the best hit sampler of the ’80s. Most of the participants listened to these bands under their spiked belts for forty years and recognized most of the songs from the first strumming chord. Although most of the shows released new music over the next 40 years, the audience wasn’t really there to make new discoveries, and the bands were burdened with tight sets that were heavily MTV staples.
In the first episode of Saturday’s show, when newer artists such as Californian dark wave Soft Moon and Belarusian post-punk band Molchat Doma perform, young audiences come to watch the musicians who have proven that the genre never dies – they just relax. In his coffin for moments like Cruel World.
On the grassy Brookside at the Rose Bowl venue, tens of thousands of attendees showcased impressive goth fashion from a wide range of ages, some of them the children of the older goths in the crowd. Dressed in leather coats, lots of black mesh and lace, multicolored mohawks and all manner of Doc Martens, the audience didn’t hesitate to wear their outfits as the weather was blessedly mild compared to last year’s Cruel World and the sweltering 2019. pasadena dream festival.
In the afternoon, Gang of Four fired up the crowd with their signature angular sound. While some of the sharper chords are a bit lost in the daytime outdoor setting—admit it, post-punk sounds better in a smaller club—leading lead Jon King made up for it with a bit of cheeky showmanship, and at one point threw a microwave into the pit. A short break and an effective walk around the stage that caused the audience to applaud during the enthusiastic rendition of “I Love a Man in a Uniform”, “Anthrax”, “To Hell With Poverty” and “At Home He’s a Tourist” . A large graphic behind the band sends an inclusive welcome message, declaring “Women’s Lives Freedom” and “Black Lives Matter” along with British, American and pride flags.
Fans were disappointed that Echo and the Bunnymen’s set did not have video projection, which is a must for major festivals on flat ground. Since only those in the front could see Ian McCulloch and his crew on stage, the band’s proficient playing of familiar hits like “Bring on the Dancing Horses” and “Lips Like Sugar” risked sounding like a recording and the lethargic confusion of the band’s ballad. “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Nothing Lasts Forever” drained some of the crowd’s energy.
Love and Rockets teamed up for the first time in 15 years, featuring Daniel Ash, David J (in a flamboyant red sequined suit) and Kevin Haskins to rock harder rock with highlights including the whimsical visuals of “Kundalini Express.” put together for the set. and a simplified cover of “Ball of Confusion” with graphics emphasizing the political significance of the lyrics.
Billy Idol’s fans were among the most enthusiastic and adored at the festival, especially when the British new wave icon revealed his 3-year-old granddaughter, Poppy, and asked the crowd to attend the “Happy Birthday” event. While a longer set would have given him a chance to do more Generation X songs, the upbeat energetic “100 Punks Rule” was the highlight of the day, along with staples like “Rebel Yell”, “White Wedding” and “Eyes”. “Without a Face” and a Spanish-inspired guitar solo by Steve Stevens. “I want to thank you for making my life so wonderful,” the idol said, and even if you heard “White” for the thousandth time, it was hard not to be impressed by the accumulated love for his music over the years. Wedding.”
As night fell, Iggy Pop was rocked by songs such as “Five Foot One” and more as the preteen son of Stone Age Queens Josh Homme danced like a storm on stage. As Pop sang the words of “The Traveler” (“I see the stars coming out tonight, I see the bright and empty sky”), several lightning bolts flashed in the distance, and his voice was cut off from time to time. Moments later, a larger and more visible lightning bolt passed through the Pasadena sky, and the sound stopped completely when an announcer asked the large crowd to evacuate the area. Despite the lack of rain or more thunder, the Pasadena Fire Department was not taking any chances.
Organizers Goldenvoice quickly reunited and planned a makeover night at the same venue as Pop and Siouxsie on Sunday with Gary Numan, who had already played a full set of their own intriguing industrial-electronic soundtrack on Saturday – though there was no Human League, they had the set. Saturday for sure.
For the second night in a row, proto-punk Iggy Pop squirms around shirtless as massive video monitors accentuate every vein in her 76-year-old muscular frame. “Deja vu, baby!” announced on stage. Always an entertainer, he’s gotten into trouble twice, spit and scratched his ass, and has managed to translate into thrilling hardcore performances of classics like “Lust for Life.” There was no sense that it was an act of nostalgia as a gray-haired gentleman and a woman of a certain age dressed in a flawless GBH leather jacket were raising their fists at every word of “I Want To Be Your Dog”—just the music was as powerful and devastating as ever.
As the skies darkened, Siouxsie, who shed Banshees long ago, stepped onto the scene, sounding a little pissed off to the wary fire department the night before. “I was trying to tell them this was part of our goddamn light show,” she exclaimed, wearing a shimmering metallic jumpsuit.
Like a torch singer in the nightclub of the Immortals, Siouxsie was lit in black and white on the monitors, casting eerie shadows on her face to match the trembling grave sound. For his first US performance in 15 years, he was able to play “Israel” an extended set of 17 songs, including the second encore. From the drifting clouds of “Dear Prudence” to the bat-like shapes of “Spellbound”, as well as old movie clips, lava and women dancing and swimming, visuals enriched every song.
While some fans were unable to return for the second night, Cruel World offered partial refunds to those who could not attend. For others, it’s turned into a two-night festival rather than one – better to experience more of Siouxsie, a rare opportunity these days.