June 7, 2023

Over the weekend, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California remodeled into the last word hang-out for the harbingers of darkness younger and previous because the venue held the 2023 version of Merciless World Pageant. The edgier sect of the ’80s new wave crowd and their youngsters, teenaged goths revamping old fashioned mohawks with eco-friendly hair merchandise, and anybody who might move as an additional in The Craft all got here out for the one-day-event-turned-two (Could Twentieth-Twenty first).

They had been all drawn to catch macabre legacy acts like Siouxsie (in her first North American efficiency in 15 years) and darkwave staples like Boy Harsher  in the course of the day-long expertise. This 12 months, nonetheless, Merciless World proved simply how merciless Mom Nature might be, as a lightning strike and subsequent necessary evacuation by the Pasadena Hearth Division lower the day brief. The sever climate alert got here a 3rd of the best way via punk godfather Iggy Pop’s hour-long set, leading to his mic being lower in the course of the iconic, “The Passenger.”

Whereas this left many followers disenchanted (bottles had been thrown, boos had been taunted), the cancellation is also seen as a blessing in disguise; competition producers Goldenvoice rescheduled headliners Pop and Siouxsie for Sunday night, extending the latter’s set from an hour to an hour and a half. The extra date additionally gave attendees a second likelihood to take pleasure in digital pioneer Gary Numan, who returned for an encore set, in addition to expertise DJ Membership Doom Dave on the primary stage.

All in all, it solely appears becoming that these creatures of the evening would carry lightning and inclement climate to the normally sunny and clear Southern California. Regardless of the sky’s ill-timed pyrotechnics and some final minute cancellations (Adam Ant and The Motels being changed by Squeeze and Berlin, respectively), Merciless World as soon as once more turned the supreme vacation spot for various, post-punk iconoclasts and their legions of followers.

Lengthy Dwell the ’80s

Say what you’ll in regards to the developments of the ’80s – your hair would seemingly agree with you, however someplace between the neon and Reagan, the period’s musical tastemakers gave us a plethora of hits. From karaoke classics like “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin and “Don’t You Need Me” by The Human League, to tongue-in-cheek anthems of delight like “Dancing with Myself” by Billy Idol and “I Soften with You” by Trendy English, the music of the time was catchy, thrilling, and continues to encourage even probably the most begrudging listener to sing alongside.

Briefly, the keenness can’t be denied and the impacts can’t be understated. And for these fortunate attendees of Merciless World 2023, the icons couldn’t be missed. With the aforementioned acts all in attendance — along with Echo & the Bunnymen (a welcome sight contemplating they missed the inaugural 12 months on account of visa points), ABC, Gang of 4, and Love and Rockets, to call just a few others — the competition may very well be thought of a household reunion for the bands that basically helped launch MTV. Whereas previous and new followers alike could have come for the hits (“Fantastic, we’ll play that music now,” Trendy English’s Robbie Gray quipped earlier than launching into “I Soften with You”), they had been left blown away by the feverishness and ferocity that demonstrated these new wave legends nonetheless acquired it. From Gary Numan’s face paint and excessive kicks to Berlin’s Terri Nunn’s foray into the gang atop a safety guard’s shoulders, the celebrities of the ’80s had been alive, properly, and able to rock.

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