In what appears at first to be a cruel joke, the California promotional company, Goldenvoice, presents the Cruel World Festival in Los Angeles. Why a cruel joke? The bands scheduled to perform represent a post-punk lover’s dream. Among the advertised artists are Morrissey, Blondie, Echo and the Bunnymen, Devo, PIL and others.
The allure of post-punk
As its name explains, post-punk became a cultural phenomenon after the storied, but brief, punk era. The broad category contains a number of subgenres, including thought pop, college rock, indie rock and others, that grew into what most people call “alternative.”
Bands like The Smiths (of which festival participant Morrissey was the lead singer), Echo and the Bunnymen, The Judy Bats, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees and almost countless others, presented darkly poetic worldviews. Sometimes there was wry humor; sometimes wickedly pointed observations. All of this over punk rhythms mixed with soulful bass, and aggrieved or jangly guitars.
Post-punk created the majority of college-rock playlists across the US in the 1980s, and the soundtrack gained a dimension in the era of Music Television, when musicians who had previously been only heard could suddenly be seen.
The attraction to post-punk might vary from listener to listener. What is consistent is a depth that was arguably lacking from Top 40 pop, and a cataloging of life experiences that was lacking in other genres.
Cruel World Festival and post-punk
Goldenvoice’s Cruel World Festival seems a show whose time has come. Most of Gen X (and those at the end of the Baby Boom)is young enough to appreciate the music of their middle school through college days.
Post-Punk.com has announced the festival and the website reports that tickets will go on sale this Friday. Tickets to the show could be a great gift idea for a special someone who loves post-punk.
Goldenvoice, as some audiences might remember, is the company that brought the world Coachella.
The festival itself will be held May 2, 2020 at The Grounds at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Other bands that are scheduled to play the event are Psychedelic Furs, Violent Femmes, The English Beat, Gary Numan and Marc Almond (of Soft Cell fame).
Tickets start at $135. Selling begins at 12 p.m. Pacific time on Feb. 14. For more information see http://cruelworldfest.com.