Darker Waves Festival Debut: A Melodic Odyssey featuring Legendary Acts Tears for Fears, The B-52’s, New Order, and More

The first ever Darker Waves festival unfolded on the shores of Huntington Beach on November 18th. Presented by C3 Presents, the same organization behind events like Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, When We Were Young, and Sick New World, the festival featured three stages (Darker, Waves, and Tiki) showcasing over 30 bands throughout the day. Tears for Fears (Jamie Wollam) headlined the festival, with legendary acts such as The English Beat, X (DJ Bonebrake), and Violent Femmes (John Sparrow) gracing the stages. DEVO (Jeff Friedl) concluded their performance, marking what could be their final show, as the sun dipped below the horizon.

The evening sets included The Psychedelic Furs (Zachary Alford), Echo & The Bunnymen (Simon Finley), and The Human League, which served as the final act on the Tiki Stage. The B-52’s (Sterling Campbell) delivered their first California performance since their farewell tour at the Honda Center in Anaheim last year. Following their farewell tour, The B-52’s established a residency at The Venetian Theater in Las Vegas, NV. Campbell, who joined the band in 1992 after Alford (who had played the same stage with Psychedelic Furs just before their set), left the group a decade later. Alford returned, and then Campbell came back in 2007. Both Alford and Campbell had previously been drummers for David Bowie. Alford even appeared in the “Roam” and “Love Shack” music videos.

The current lineup of The B-52’s includes founders and vocalists Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, and Cindy Wilson. Their 12-song set featured hits such as “Roam,” “Love Shack,” and “Rock Lobster.” Advertisement

New Order closed the Waves Stage. Formed in 1980 after the dissolution of Joy Division following the death of singer Ian Curtis, New Order still comprises lead vocalist/guitarist Bernard Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris (both from Joy Division), and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert. Their setlist included iconic tracks like “Bizarre Love Triangle,” “True Faith,” and “Blue Monday.” The final song, and the only one from Joy Division, was “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

Tears for Fears, formed in 1981 by Guitarist/Vocalist Roland Orzabal and Bassist/Vocalist Curt Smith, took the stage. Drummer Jamie Wollam has been with the band since 2010. Their latest album, The Tipping Point (2022), marked their most significant release since their third album, The Seeds of Love (1989). Tears for Fears opened with the second single from their new album, “No Small Thing,” followed by the title track and hits like “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Sowing the Seeds of Love.” They also revisited three singles from The Hurting, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year: “Suffer the Children,” “Pale Shelter (You Don’t Give Me Love),” and “Mad World.” The band closed the night with a medley of “Head Over Heels,” “Broken,” and “Shout.”