Cruel World 2023 – Accurate Name / Goldenvoice’s Redemption

Cruel World 2023 was (supposed to be) a one day post punk/new wave/goth festival in Pasadena, California on May 20th. It turned into a two day festival when a lightning struck the 20th – and the fire marshal shut down the concert! Just a handful of songs into Iggy Pop’s set!

Billy photo by A. Goldberg

As far as punks were concerned we had just a few must-sees. Billy Idol, Iggy Pop, and of course – Siouxsie Sioux.

Billy Idol played some Generation X tunes for us, opening with Dancing With Myself which immediately grabbed the attention of the crowd. A few filler tunes in and he gave a shout out to Generation X and brought out a killer version of 100 Punks, which was fucking delightful. Unfortunately, we had to rush from his set during Rebel Yell to make it to Iggy’s set. (Yup, the set times are possibly why it’s called Cruel World – you must choose between Billy Idol, or Iggy Pop! AND we had to choose both over Love and Rockets, cruel indeed!)

Iggy – C. Rees

We love Billy, but had to get to Iggy Pop, obviously; he’s the godfather of punk fucking rock. We got up to the stage early for his set. He was out to please the Stooges fans as we quickly got classics such as TV Eye and Raw Power. Then shit started getting weird. The music was cutting in and out for a couple of songs. We were close enough to could hear Iggy being spoken to through the monitors. Then, during Passenger – they full on pulled the cord on the festival. Lightning struck miles away, a handful of times, and SEVERE WEATHER ALERT came up on the screens and Iggy told us to evacuate. 70,000 fucking people.

This really happened.

If this was a punk show, it would have been a riot. But it was conveniently a new wave/post punk festival. There was no angry mob, just a dismal, disappointed, and sad group of 70,000, leaving like their train was cancelled at the same time their dog died. All of this mere moments away from seeing their goth queen Siouxsie Sioux (This was her first, and ONLY North American performance in 15 years!)

What the fuck was going to happen? Would there be refunds? A redo? We woke up the next day to find Goldenvoice had secured the venue, Siouxie, Iggy, and Gary Numan for a make-up concert that very next day. Luckily for us, Up The Punx HQ is a mere fifteen minutes away, and we have no lives, so we were free to make it back, but for the folks that traveled and have lives – partial refunds were given.

So a very trepidatious group of music fans drove back to the same place, for a ghost town version of the same festival. Barely any vendors or food, staff was limited, parking was free, and twenty thousand people changed their plans for the day to get what was promised on saturday, Iggy fucking Pop, and Siouxsie fucking Sioux.

Iggy – N. Bradley

Iggy came out full force and played an incredible set. He didn’t even address the chaos of the night before, just jumped right into it. Moving as only Iggy can – commanding the stage the same way he has for fifty years. He also gave us a VERY Stooges heavy set (which we appreciated) including TV Eye, Gimme Danger, Search & Destroy, Death Trip, I Wanna Be Your Dog, and I’m Sick of You.

Siouxsie – P. Ghana

Then it actually happened… the queen of Post Punk/Goth – Siouxsie fucking Sioux took the stage. She definitely addressed her disdain for the quick shutdown the night before. She even laughed it off saying that “It was all just part of their light show” and she proceeded to give us an even longer set than we would have gotten the night before. Tons of classic Banshees tunes including Night Shift, Arabian Nights, Kiss Them For Me (This track was the highlight of the night, she fucking killed it), Dear Prudence (who knew the Beatles could sound so good?), Spellbound, and an encore of Israel.

Watching the performance, the goth crowd used smile muscles they didn’t even know they had.

Siouxie & Crowd – P. Ghana

Hey Goldenvoice – we may not always be grateful for the things you do, but we can’t believe how well you handled this. A free makeup show. Free parking. Extended sets. Getting both headliners back for a second day. Thank you! We’ll be back!

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