The very first once-a-year Darker Waves post-punk competition took spot Saturday, Nov. 18, virtually on the sands of Huntington Beach, Calif., taking up two sprawling seaside blocks of the famed surf city’s Pacific Coast Highway. And of course, the juxtaposition of New Get playing Pleasure Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” Echo and the Bunnymen’s laryngitis-stricken Ian McCulloch rasping by means of the Donnie Darko-popularized “Killing Moon” and his band’s Dropped Boys soundtrack include of the Doors’ “People Are Strange” with shock guest Robbie Krieger Gentle Mobile screeching by the electro BDSM fantasy “Sex Dwarf” and tunic-shrouded, kohl-eyed Philip Oakey intoning Human League’s proto-synthpop 1978 basic “Being Boiled,” all towards a backdrop of swaying palm trees and crashing ocean waves, could possibly have seemed shocking to the uninitiated.
But the fact is, sunny Southern California has usually experienced a darkish facet.
In the ‘80s, there was the L.A. deathrock scene, influenced by Old Hollywood’s decaying glamour and pioneered by bands like Christian Demise and 45 Grave (both of those of whom performed Darker Waves this weekend). In that exact same 10 years, KROQ was the 1st American radio station to enjoy and winner the previously mentioned-pointed out British new wave functions, all of whom nevertheless have devoted audiences in Los Angeles and Orange County. (In simple fact, bands like Depeche Manner and the Remedy can continue to provide out multiple consecutive nights at the Hollywood Bowl as immediate result of KROQ’s many years of unwavering guidance.) These days, Goths from all over the world descend upon Disneyland, not significantly from the O.C.’s Huntington Seaside, for the yearly Bats Working day celebration, even though Los Angeles is house to a thriving submit-punk/industrial scene, led by Darker Waves functions like Chilly Cave, Drab Majesty, and Mareux.
L.A. has also hosted two prosperous years of the post-punk festival Cruel Planet (which this yr showcased the 1st U.S. concert in 15 a long time by Goth icon Siouxsie Sioux), and as 25,000 black-clad, pancake-faced, SPF 100-slathered lovers flocked to Darker Waves this weekend, it turned apparent that SoCal is the Goth funds of the United States.
The 30 acts who performed on throughout Waves’ 3 oceanfront phases throughout the day’s 10 hours, with scarcely five minutes of turnover between sets, ranged from the typical L.A. punk of X and T.S.O.L. to the nervy college or university rock of Violent Femmes to the early-MTV new wave of the Psychedelic Furs and the English Defeat to the mood tunes of Clan of Xymox, London Soon after Midnight, and Chameleons to even the peppy twee pop of ‘90s Swedes the Cardigans and (clean off their all-Smiths Glastonbury set with Rick Astley, who regrettably was a Darker Waves no-display) U.K. buzz band Blossoms. The biggest standouts, of course, had been the bands that properly played the hits, and absolutely nothing but hits.
Comfortable Cell frustratingly did not play what would have surefire crowd-pleasers like “Say Hi there, Wave Goodbye,” “Insecure Me,” “Bedsitter,” or, perfectly, “Frustration,” and Tears for Fears devoted way much too considerably of their headlining established to their outstanding but mostly unfamiliar 2022 album The Tipping Point. But when Andy McClusky took the stage, he instantly introduced that his synthpop duo OMD would be “relentlessly” cramming their way too-transient 40-moment set with “10 singles” — and a lot to the crowd’s delight, OMD proceeded to do just that, not permitting up the electricity from “Electricity” via “Enola Homosexual.”
McClusky and Tears for Fears’ Roland Orzabal each shouted out Devo as their favorite act of the working day, and judging by the large quantity of strength-dome hats noticed in the group (alongside with one boiler-suited, spiky-haired enthusiast in complete “Beautiful World” cosplay), this was an view shared by many. Devo, who have been one of the standouts of Cruel World 2022, thrilled with a number of costume quick-modifications and ahead-of-their-time classics like “Peek-A-Boo,” “That’s Fantastic,” “Uncontrollable Urge,” “Jocko Homo,” “Gates of Steel,” and, of system, “Whip It,” with frontman Mark Mothersbaugh even tossing a few pink memento Devo hats into the group. Devo’s fellow quirky mavericks, the B-52’s, also played a nonstop best-hits bash out of bounds, climaxing with the most beach front-suitable music of the working day, “Rock Lobster.”
“To absolutely everyone whose sneakers bought f***ed up, I hope it was worth it,” Mareux quipped at a person position in the afternoon, soon right before he protected the Cure’s “Perfect Woman,” as he appeared out at all the concertgoers trudging as a result of the sand in their heels and pointy boots. Possibly much more practical footwear and even better SPF will be in order future time, but admirers are absolutely already on the lookout ahead to revisiting America’s Goth capital for Darker Waves 2024.
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