May 22, 2023

CRUEL WORLD FEST 2023 – A Cruel and Kind Edition

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The dark goth gods in control!

We waited a whole year to be back at the Brookside at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and weird forces had different plans for everyone planning to attend the second edition of Cruel World Festival 2023 this weekend.

For us, the adventure started at the airport in Austin, Texas when our flight got delayed 10 times, yes, TEN times. What should be a 7:00 AM flight, turned out to be a 2:00 PM flight. We landed in CA at 3:00 PM PST and drove to Pasadena in the middle of Los Angeles traffic arriving at the Rose Bowl at 5:00 PM. Right on time to catch Gary Numan on stage.

But, besides the unfortunate events we experienced throughout the day, we also wanted to tell you the positive side of things and the great time we had.

The lineup was incredible, featuring some of the legends of goth-rock, new wave and post-punk, and the people who attended, the best!

Cruel World 2023 - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza

GARY NUMAN

Gary Numan rocked the stage, twice, since he was invited to perform on Saturday and Sunday after the festival was canceled after the severe weather alert issued by the city’s Fire Department.

He delivered an electrifying performance. His voice was amazing, his band was tight, and his synth sounds were out of this world. He played songs such as “Intruder”, “Halo”, ”Metal”, ”Haunted”, and “Cars” which got everyone dancing and singing along. Gary Numan proved once again why he is one of the pioneers of electronic music and a true icon of the genre.

Gary Numan - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Gary Numan - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Gary Numan - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Gary Numan - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza

SQUEEZE

The legendary band that has been making music for over four decades with catchy melodies and soulful vocals gave an amazing performance.

Squeeze included songs such as “Take Me I’m Yours”, “Hourglass”, “Up The Junction”, “Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)”, their classing “Tempted” and to finish their set “Black Coffee In Bed”.

Squeeze - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Squeeze - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Squeeze - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN

Ian McCulloch and gang couldn’t make it last year due to visa issues but this year Echo And The Bunnymen was able to deliver an incredible show to thousands of fans who anxiously waited to see them live, and dear friends it was incredible! They started their presentation with “Bring On The Dancing Horses” followed by “Rescue” and “All That Jazz”. Ian McCulloch’s voice still as powerful and haunting as ever. The highlight of the night was their rendition of “The Killing Moon”, which sent shivers down our spines.

Echo And The Bunnymen - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Echo And The Bunnymen - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Echo And The Bunnymen - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza

LOVE AND ROCKETS

A highlight of the night was seeing Love And Rockets play their first show in 15 years! The band got together again for this special occasion, and we couldn’t be happier! They rocked the stage with their classic hits like “I Feel SPeed”, “No Big Deal” and “And American Dream”. They also covered “Ball of Confusion” by The Temptations and made it their own. The crowd went wild for them and sang along to every word. They finished their 11 songs set with “Mirror People” and “Yon And Yang (The Flowerport Man)” Love and Rockets proved that they still have it after all these years. They are one of the best bands of the ’80s and beyond!

Love And Rockets - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Love And Rockets - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Love And Rockets - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza

BILLY IDOL

Where to begin to tell you about Billy Idol’s presentation? He really rocked the stage at Cruel World Festival! With his energetic and charismatic performance, Billy made the crowd go crazy the second he put a foot on stage.

He started his performance with one of his biggest hits, “Dancing With Myself” and you can imagine how things turned. Followed by another classic “Cradle Of Love” and “Flesh For Fantasy”. But not only did Billy give a great performance on stage, guitarist Steve Stevens also demonstrated his guitar abilities and made that guitar spit fire with incredible solos. The crowd went wild with every song and sang along with him. “Mony Mony”, “Eyes Without A Face”, “Rebel Yell” and for the end, “White Wedding”. He was in great shape and showed no signs of slowing down. It was a fantastic show that left everyone wanting more.

Billy Idol - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Billy Idol - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Billy Idol - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
Billy Idol - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza

THE HUMAN LEAGUE

The Human League was also one of the highlights of the festival which unfortunately ended early due to the sever warning alert issued by the Fire Department. 

The band was able to play 5 songs with no issues when suddenly their manager approached the band to inform them what was going on and sadly they had to stop their show. They were able to play songs “The Sound Of The Crowd”, “Mirror Man”, “Heart Like A Wheel”, “Love Action (I Believe In Love)” and “The Lebanon”.

The Human League - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
The Human League - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
The Human League - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza
The Human League - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza

IGGY POP

On the other side of the field and almost at the same time as The Human League, it was the turn for Iggy Pop to jump on stage. Iggy was giving an electrifying performance on Saturday night when right after the seventh song he had to stop due to the weather conditions. He still was able to sing some of his classic hits, such as “Five Foot One”, “Frenzy”, “Raw Power”, “Strung Out Johnny” and it was during “The Passenger” when he got informed of the severe weather alert.

Luckily, he got rescheduled for Sunday were he was able to finish what he started and included more songs such as “Lust For Life”, Death Trip”, “I Wanna Ve Tiyr Dog” and to finish “Search And Destroy”.

Iggy Pop - Photo: Coen Rees
Iggy Pop - Photo: N Bradley

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT

And as mentioned, it was during the performance of both Iggy Pop and The Human League when unexpectedly they had to stop playing and the audience got informed of a severe weather alert asking everyone to evacuate the field. 

Of course, everyone was confused and disappointed knowing they would miss the special presentation of Siouxsie. Especially for those who traveled from out of town just to see her and had return flights on Sunday.

The festival posted a statement on its different social media platforms “We are deeply sorry that some of you did not experience Cruel World the way in which we intended. For those of you unable to attend Sunday night’s performance, we are offering partial refunds on your festival pass.” And added “Thank you to Siouxsie, Iggy Pop, Gary Numan and countless others for making tonight’s show a possibility. Goodnight, Cruel World.

Cruel World 2023 - Photo: Nacho DelaGarza

SIOUXSIE

After the sad experience of having to cancel her show on Saturday due to the weather conditions, Siouxsie came back on Sunday to deliver an amazing extended performance at Cruel World 2023. Siouxsie was in top form, with her powerful voice and charismatic presence. With an iconic style, the night started with “Night Shift”. And it was right before the second song “Arabian Knights” when Siouxsie took the mic to say, “Yesterday the fire department broke in, I told them is part of our fucking light show!” and the whole crowd laughed and cheered. 

The band sounded amazing, creating a wall of sound. It was a night to remember for everyone who witnessed this legendary act. The night continued with “Here Comes That Day”, the classic “Kiss Them For Me” and The Beatles’ cover “Dear Prudence” and “Face To Face”. It was a total of 17 songs she played to her thousands of fans who traveled from all over the world to see her comeback for this special, and unique, presentation.

Siouxsie - Photo: Pooneh Ghana
Siouxsie - Photo: Pooneh Ghana
Siouxsie - Photo: Pooneh Ghana

Cruel World Festival 2023 was very well organized, with plenty of food, drinks, merch and amenities everywhere around. The weather was perfect, except for the severe weather alert that sadly forced us to evacuate. The atmosphere was friendly, respectful and inclusive, and we met so many awesome people.

Cruel World Festival is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see some of the legends live and can’t wait for their third edition next year.

Thanks again to Goldenvoice and Cruel World organizers for such a great experience!

The Heart Sounds team.

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