By DAN MACINTOSH
The Cruel World festival lineup, scheduled for Saturday, May 2 at Dignity Health Sports Park, reads like the live soundtrack to Netflix’ Stranger Things or pretty much any John Hughes film from the day.
Nostalgia tour packages are big concert business these days, but this unique festival features acts much bigger than the usual one-hit wonders usually found traveling the nostalgia circuit. Headliners like Morrissey and Bauhaus easily fill good-sized concert halls all on their own. If “The Big Chill” track list was the soundtrack for baby boomers, Cruel World is the soundtrack for all those raised on college radio and KROQ (back when it was still good).
Much of this lineup can be described as Gothic (Bauhaus, Christian Death, 45 Grave) and Gothic-associated (Echo and The Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs). Many acts that don’t fit into either of these narrow categories, though, nevertheless represent some of the best music from that decade.
Public Image LTD. is edgy post-punk, English Beat is one of the best ska representatives and Blondie is, well, simply timeless. Lyrically, most of these performers lean toward the darker end of the subject matter spectrum, even if they’re not decidedly Gothic, so Cruel World is a wonderfully appropriate moniker.
While many of these acts play regularly in Southern California, we don’t see Marc Almond, Gary Numan and Bad Manners all that much. Of course, Berlin and Missing Persons are Los Angeles natives, but still offer light musical fun.
Coachella has done a find job of mixing in these throwback icons in with all the other new kids on the block, but no Coachella has offered up this much great nostalgic music in any one weekend. Oh, and you don’t need to camp or book a hotel room far in advance to attend it.
Cruel World’s smorgasbord makes The Cure’s Daydream Festival look like little more than an appetizer. Attendees will be sure to get their fill at Cruel World.
For more information go to the Cruel World website.