Photo above by Paul Clarke – as are those below.

Peter Hook and the Light

Hebden Bridge Trades Club

10th December 2014

It was party time at the Trades Club as Peter Hook and the Light ended their three night run with Low-Life and Brotherhood.

There are some albums that manage to capture the musical zeitgeist in a credible way whilst still selling squillions of copies and Low-Life was one of those.

It seemed fitting for Hooky and the Light to end their romp through his rich back catalogue in party mode with a room full of Hacienda and Ibiza veterans. You could feel the love in the room, but minus the chemical enhancements on a school night, which made the visceral reaction to the music even more moving.

This three night run though six albums has taken us from the industrial wastelands of 1970s Manchester through to the hedonism of the Balearics, and what we have learnt is that Joy Division remain the greatest of Northern bands, but out of tragedy emerged a band that was just as good.

Over the last five years Hooky has reasserted his right to play these songs and The Light are no mere backing band as they not only recreate the songs but breathe new life into them. Mind you, the songs are of such breath-taking quality you would be hard pressed to mess them up unless you were utterly incompetent which The Light, underpinned by Paul Keogh’s flexible drumming, are not.

But we were in a mood to celebrate and this time with a string of big hit records as New Order crossed over into the mainstream with Low Life that a friend described as a ‘seminal album in my life’. So no pressure there Hooky, but New Order’s crafty blend of guitars and synths remains potent.

You know it is a quality set when you can throw a classic single like Thieves Like Us as the third song, and it just builds from there with the first forest of raver arm waving as they hit Bizarre Love Triangle.  It says something about how good they were at this time that neither track appeared on an album.

Hooky throws in a breezy One Of These Days before his Monaco mucker Pottsy takes over vocal duties on Sooner Than You Think. Sometimes you have to smile at Bernard’s misanthropic words as Hooky spits out ‘Oh, how I cannot bear the thought of you’ in Face Up which seems kinda ironic given the recent rift. Low-Life remains a classic and they do it justice here.

Brotherhood is the weaker of the two, but that’s a bit like saying Booby Charlton wasn’t quite as good as George Best. Love Vigilantes draws us in before another gem in The Perfect Kiss. Only Bernard could seriously throw in a charming couplet like ‘I think you are a pig / You should be in a zoo’ which always raises  a quiet chuckle from me during Every Little Counts.

Once the albums are out of the way Hooky has been throwing in those songs that were singles or B-sides, so there’s a magic Shellshocked and an epic Confusion which should have been more than enough to leave us sated.

Not so, as the gang went out on a natural high as True Faith took the fortysomethings right back to FAC 51 mouthing the words with arms reaching to the sky. This is why people go to gigs because we need and want that sense of community with perfect strangers which Hooky understands. As a special treat they ended with Love Will Tear Us Apart which turned into a singalong, but also served as a thank you to the band for a great night.

Some people had jetted in from South Africa and Australia for these three nights so it is testament to the greatness of Curtis, Sumner, Morris, Gilbert and Mr Hook that with 80 songs played over the three nights there was not one duff track. Yes, some are stone cold classics, and others that are rightly album tracks, but their quality control was astonishing, especially as they and Wilson didn’t seem to have a game plan at any point.

Hooky always looked like the only one in New Order who actually liked playing live and he brings that energy to this project while showing the right amount of respect to the contributions of his lost friends. But best of all, Peter Hook and The Light entertain, while still retaining their own integrity and that of the music.

~

Check out our review of day one here and day two here.

As we explained here tall three shows were recorded by Abbey Road Live and are available to purchase as CDs or DLs via their website.

All words and photos by Paul Clarke. More writing by Paul on Louder Than War can be found at his Louder Than War author’s archive.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Well. Where to start with these reviews?

    1. There is no New Order song called “One of These Days”. That’s Pink Floyd. It’s called “This Time Of Night”, and has been for thirty years.

    2. Pottsy is not an infinitely better guitarist than Bernard ; good at guitar (and lovely as a person) Pottsy is, ‘ininiely better’ is massively overstating it.

    3. Hooky has no more right to play these songs than New Order. New Order don’t want to, and he does. To draw the analogy further, Roger Waters waited until 23 years after he left Pink Floyd before he did “Nothing But Pink Floyd Tours”, Hook waited 3 years. Hook hasn’t even tried to have a post New Order solo career to fall on its face before reverting to the nostalgia route.

    4. Hooky is a very different singer from Sumner, and his voice does not suit the New Order material, which might be why Potts sings several New Order songs in the sets. His voice is in a different key with a lower range, and sounds like a badly overdubbed TV actor when singing some of the material designed for a different singer with a higher range.

    5. Bizarre Love Triangle was on “Brotherhood.” Side Two, Track One. If you know these records as well as you think you do, you’d know this.

    6. You can’t “Breathe new life” into songs when you are reproducing 100% faithfully the original record. There’s more creativity and edge in one of New Order’s rubbish 1983 gigs where they’d play a different arrangement every night than there has been in The Lights five year touring cycle.

    7. “Movement” is a disappointment solely because of Hannett’s swampy production that buries the vocals. The Peel Session versions are much better and clearer.

    8. New Order gigs aren’t joyless, (though are lot more Joy Division-less) and they haven’t played a stadium in the UK since 2002, when Hook was in the band. Smaller is not automatically beautiful, and bigger not necessarily better.

    9. I’ve never actually see anyone genuinely take and effectively Hook to task for his approach to monetising his past by, amongst other things, selling off bricks from a nightclub he once ran : and I don’t see that here either. I boycotted all the JD Hook gigs, as they felt absolutely like invalid nostalgia to me, with not enough connection between “The Band Where Hook Played Bass and Sang Lead On Half A Song Thirty Five Years Ago” to “The Band Where Hook Sings And Plays Bass 10% Of The Time.” Most of the parts Hook actually played on the JD+NO records are played by Jack and nto Hook, so the guy that played bass on the records isn’t even playing bass for huge parts of the shows. At least Hook sings lead on several early NO songs and backups on near enough every other one.

    10. The absence of any ‘new’ material at all makes this utterly redundant in many ways. The youngest song over these three nights is still 27 years old. It’s nostalgia.

    “I’m my own tribute band.” : Peter Hook 06 October 2012

    What no one can deny is The Light work hard, play long sets, have a huge bank of songs, and play their hearts out. But they are a JD/ NO tribute band with JD / NO’s bass player who doesn’t play bass very much.

    Oh yes, and if Hook and I were talking, I *would* say this to his face if it seemed relevant, before anyone accuses me of being an Internet Coward, as has been known.

  2. Why people have to knock Hooky is nothing more than illegal. The fact that his gigs sell out for me means that people are willing to pay in their droves to see and hear these albums, however old, in their entirety. Rather that than a band where 3/5ths are original members that do half a job of recreating the singles and sod off if you want anything else. (Including new material). Hebden Bridge Trades Club = intamacy. Lets see the band claiming to be New Order play in a venue like that- it wasn’t for the money, that’s for sure.

  3. If Hooky had formed a band called The Light to play old AND new stuff, or Revenge/Monaco/JD/New Order stuff, then great. But just playing old-old-old stuff seems deeply cynical to me. New Order do play quite a lot of non-hits, and have also played two new songs as well,

  4. It seems portentous to talk about “boycotting” as if playing classic material is akin to Apartheid. As some of us get older we are less precious about authenticity and are just happy to have a good night out. And Peter Hook and the Light sounded like a good night out from the get-go and thus it proved once again at Hebden Bridge. The much vaunted intimacy was a little unnerving. Like a character breaking the fourth wall during a film.

    I’ll never understand why it is okay for a teacher to make a living going into a classroom and a barrister making a living going into a courtroom but it is somehow wrong or vulgar for a musician to make a living getting up on stage. This was my first full JD night with the Light and I was somewhat taken back at just how intense and effecting the rendition of Closer was. I would not therefore describe the experience as without force, void or foundation (as in invalid.)

    In my opinion, the vocals on Movement were a “happy accident” by the producer. JD was dominated by one personality whereas the forced impersonality of Movement created a teutonic, monolythic atmosphere which made it a Krautrock classic. I never thought I’d ever hear “Mesh” or “Cries and Whispers” live again so thanks for that.

    I must disagree about Peter’s vocals which have moved on in leaps and bounds.

    I appreciate that a certain edge may have been lost improvisationally live but edge with New Order more often than not meant shambolically played. A professional, polished performance has its virtues too, including some thumping bass and guitar breaks building up in layers. The three nights were a real gift which made me wish life could be like this all the time.

    P.s. The only off putting aspect was Hook insulting his audience numerous times. Never a good idea even in jest. Maybe it’s a Northern thing. I’d day it to his face only I lack Mr Reed’s alleged courage.

  5. To me, the connection between The Light and JD is quite thin : Hook barely plays bass in the JD sets, and having “The bass player sing whilst another person plays his bass lines” feels tenuous to me. The Light are powerful and faithful live and you certainly get a lot of bang for the buck with 3_hour sets. Never denied that!

  6. How would you know what he barely played in the JD set if you weren’t even there? And why just those shows?

    Sorry, I’m not perverse enough to talk myself out of a great fuck. Just weak willed, I guess.

  7. Oddly enough because the shows are all over the Internet! JD only sets just don’t appeal to me, for the reasons above, and that’s my choice.

  8. I can’t see the amount of bass he plays in the JD set as being any different to the amount he plays in the NO set. So I am puzzled as to that reasoning. Although I can’t say for sure as I don’t go to his shows to be a stuffy accountant timing every moment each player plucks on a string in some purity mode. I go to get swept away in the emotion of some of the greatest music of all time. But each to their own, as you say.

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