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EDBZ Blog #26

The Eardrum Buzz Radio Fourth Anniversary week(end) is just around the corner! Starting Thursday, July 4th prepare yourselves for four days of guest shows, regular shows and many surprises. We'll have giveaways from labels and bands and maybe a live show or two. Contact me at if you're interested and give me some ideas of what you'll play. The show can be one or two hours (59:30 and 119:30 to allow for promos) and must be a mixed MP3 file with a photo of you and a setlist. If you can record yourself talking into a microphone or phone and mix the files, contact me ASAP! We're also looking for giveaways, whether digital or physical, and clothes are welcome too.

Cruel World Festival was once again a great day! This year I not only got to see Daanon DeCock but also Anthony Michalopoulos and we three had lunch, reminisced, caught up and got to see some amazing bands! The weather was clear and warm, the crowd was friendly and often flashy, I saw a cross-dressed kabuki samurai with a jagged and fiery mohawk, plenty of senior or close to senior citizens dressed like they did 40 years ago, maybe a bit too much leather and bondagey gear, younger folks there to see the bands their parents (or older siblings) turned them on to, and even a few youngsters and toddlers with headphones muffling the Post-Punk and Goth sounds. We never bothered checking out the food and drink selections but the water filling stations had cold H20 and the outhouses weren't too terrible. 

While the show wasn't "sold out" we were quite happy to not have to rub against as many shoulders and navigate through/step over as many people.  I'd still love an event where there were two, not three stages and the set times were staggered to enable us to experience more full sets, but we got to see enough. It was too often a Sophie's Choice of missing a band we loved to see another band we loved playing an overlapping time or clear across the grounds. So, sorry, Blondie, we missed most of Simple Minds' set, I'd loved to have seen The Motels and Heaven 17 and some of the more contemporary acts like Leathers and Model/Actriz but there's only so much we could handle trudging between the three stages. 

At the main stage we started out with French Police, who obviously took lots of notes on the Post-Punk and Darkwave bands from the past 40 years, with their drum machine beats, guitar slashes and barely audible vocals. 

The Faint followed but I never was a fan of their hard Disco style and idiosyncratic vocalist and was just bored, though the audience loved them and plenty of people were dancing and having a blast. 

Gary Numan played songs from The Pleasure Principle and while I don't know his catalog, aside from Cars and Are Friends Electric,  it was nice to hear a slower, less aggressive and angsty set than what they did in previous years. And yes, Cars was played, but instead of sounding like the minimal classic Coldwave track, everything was amped up and the guitars were turned to 11. He even brought on his three cute daughters to sing on one song.

Ministry dug up the old tunes from With Sympathy and Twitch, back when Uncle Al was touted as the latest synthpop pretty boy, singing with a fake English accent, he and the band revved up the proceedings with plenty of heavy guitars and live percussion. The set was bookended by appearances from the "Ministrettes" and the "Ministrings", four backup singers, a violin and a cello player. Whether you know the early songs or not, there's no doubt Al knows how to put on a show. And when they ended their set with Everyday (Is Halloween) tears of joy were flowing as we sang along to the lyrics "O, why can't I live a life for me? / Why should I take the abuse that's served? / Why can't they see they're just like me? / It's the same, it's the same in the whole wide world." 

We headed over the second stage to see some of The Jesus And Mary Chain's set. By then I was happy to zone out on the grass. The brothers put on a great show and I do enjoy a few of their songs, but I was tired. 

Adam Ant was my favorite set of the day. Loud, full of energy, with two drummers and Adam in black boots and jacket, ageless and dancing around the stage, the band ripped through so many great songs and got us all dancing and singing along. Hearing this set further drove home just how many memorable and influential songs Adam Ant has gifted us over the years and his signature tom-heavy sound was a joy to hear after his previous Cruel World cancellation. More acts like Adam Ant next year will surely make me and the masses happy to keep coming back. Get the compilation Stand & Deliver - The Very Best of Adam & The Ants for a sampling.

We got to see a few songs from Simple Minds across the grounds after Adam Ant and they had a huge audience dancing and singing along. Jim Kerr was the master of ceremonies presiding over the songs full of love and joy, backed by a powerhouse band and soulful backup singers with founding guitarist Charlie Burchill pulling out the dramatic guitar lines we all know and love. I hope to catch one of my favorite bands next year as Kerr announced a 2025 tour of the States. If you get a chance to see Simple Minds, please go! They have so many wonderful songs.

Placebo was surprisingly good for their set. I had seen them when they were first starting out and barely remembered songs from their first album. So to see them 30 years on, evolved and still going at it as a six-piece, Brian Malko's singing voice improved from the nasally approach of their beginnings was a joy to experience. They stayed to their early songs and it was a great time. 

Then over one stage and Interpol performed to thousands of fans, bathed in silver and monochrome colors and singer Paul Banks cool with slicked back hair and sunglasses, rarely the lights hitting his face, everything in shadows and grey. The constant reverb on Banks' vocals was excessive to my ears. Here's a band that you'd think was British but is from NYC, their sound is often danceable and upbeat yet has a dreary sheen. I preferred the songs when the rhythm section got funky and their tense sound loosened up.

Wrapping up the show in a pitch black bow and spiked black leather were Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins and Diva Dompe, this time billed as Tones On Tail. A few years back the trio toured as Poptone, named after the PiL track and played songs from Tones On Tail and Love & Rockets and put out an album of new versions of ToT and L&R songs. Diva is one of drummer Haskins' daughters and played bass, keys and sang live and on the Poptone album. For those not in the know, Tones On Tail was Ash and Haskins' project between Bauhaus and Love & Rockets, with Glenn Campling on bass. They did a tour of the States and UK but for many, us three included, we never got to experience their weird and wonderful songs live. I got to see Poptones perform a few years back at the Teragram Ballroom near downtown L.A. but it was great to hear the songs in a larger context and bigger stage. The trio's sound was a mix of jazz, ambient textures, noisy punkish rock, dance beats, playful rhythms and so much more, bridging and encompassing all things Bauhaus and a sign of what was to come with Love & Rockets once bassist David J returned to the fold.  The amount of Tones on Tail Cruel World shirts I saw in the audience during the day gave evidence of just how many people came to the festival for this set. While the majority of the Cruel World attendees were off seeing Duran Duran, the darker malcontents and music lovers were dancing to This is The Pops, Go and Burning Skies.

Who will Cruel World bring out to Pasadena next year? What band will come out of retirement or travel from the UK and Europe to entertain the Southern California masses? Get your wishlists going and I'll see you all next May!

Written by Bret Miller 

I'm on Facebook at:,, on Twitter @eardrum_buzz and Instagram @eardrumbuzzradio. I have an autopost for songs played on Twitter too.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email me at and send me your band submissions in MP3 format as well as your requests and keep up with our latest shows! Sign up for our monthly newsletter at the bottom of our website or check out the Blog page on the website.

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Thanks to everyone who listens to Eardrum Buzz Radio, chats with us throughout the week and during our live shows and helps spread the word. You are appreciated!

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Written by Bret Miller Eardrum Buzz Radio

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