7th September 2013
Louder Than War’s newest writer, Nick Holmes, kicks off in emotional style with the return of Peter Hook & the Light. Expect to be tripping down memory lane. Photos all © Nick too.
Bassist Peter Hook was one quarter of legendary Manchester four-piece Joy Division, which evolved into New Order following the suicide of their vocalist, Ian Curtis, aged just 23 in May 1980. He was criticised by some for setting up what they saw as a glorified tribute act when he formed The Light, originally intended as a one-off memorial to Curtis at Hook’s newly opened nightclub, FAC 251 The Factory, in Manchester in 2010. The gig was a massive hit with fans and he took the band across the globe playing both original Joy Division albums, “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer” in their entirety. The naysayers were silenced.
The next stage of the journey is playing the first two New Order albums plus a few extras that serious fans will really appreciate. On the eve of a US tour and full winter UK trek Hooky and his troops, including his son Jack on second bass, landed in the small Dorset town of Bridport. Threatening clouds hovered while a queue gathered outside the venue. One earnest disciple proudly showed his Joy Division tattoo to anybody who passed, claiming to have seen them at his first ever gig. Inside the beautiful old theatre a mix of classic punk and early ’80s pop on the PA soundtracked quiet anticipation.
The lights dimmed as jarring rhythms echoed through the hall and there he was eyes tight shut and fist clenched. The effect was hypnotic and emotive as Hooky sang, “How I wish you were here with me…” This was the B-side of New Order’s first single. “In A Lonely Place” was a slightly chilling experience, as was it’s A-side, “Ceremony”. Both tracks were some of the last works by Joy Division. Linking up the jigsaw pieces New Order’s second single, “Procession”, led to the band’s debut album, “Movement”. It was a passionate lesson in the history of British music.
There was a pause after a painful squall of feedback. “It’s like fucking panto!” roared Hooky at the sound-man. He also grumbled about the sloping stage quipping,“It’s like being pissed!” Normal service resumed and third single “Everything’s Gone Green” was aired along with it’s B-sides as prelude to the full “Power, Corruption and Lies” LP. By now the crowd was drunker, the band was tighter and as faster, dance-driven numbers kicked in Hooky let fly. Singing, roaring, shouting and even some falsetto proved he is a capable vocalist.
The instrumental version of “Blue Monday”, “The Beach”, kept the audience jumping as the band took a break. What followed was a euphoric sonic rush. It began with clattering grooves of “Hurt” and “Temptation”, which famously appeared in the movie “Trainspotting”. The building was rocked to its foundations. If you closed your eyes you could imagine being in a sweaty club during the late ’80s dance music explosion. The show ended with the biggest selling 12-inch single ever, and live “Blue Monday” was truly thunderous with its staggered beats. Musicians and crowd were exhausted and a beaming Hooky laughed, “I’d forgotten how fucking hard that was!” before throwing his sweat-soaked shirt to the baying mob.
It was a fantastic show and Hooky has assembled a talented band, bringing to life songs that may have never been aired again in other circumstances. These songs sound so fresh and exciting despite being over thirty years old. Do yourself a favour and get a ticket to the forthcoming winter tour. You will never forget it.
In A Lonely Place
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Dreams Never End
Doubts Even Here
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Cries and Whispers
Everything’s Gone Green
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Age of Consent
We All Stand
Your Silent Face
Leave Me Alone
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All words (and photos) by Nick Holmes. This is Nick’s first piece of writing for Louder Than War. When he’s done more for us you’ll find them in his author’s archive.