WORDS AND IMAGES PAUL EVANS
The music of Joy Division and New Order lives on thanks to the dedication and talent of Peter Hook and the Light. Here’s to another 35 years celebrating their timeless art.
In the sprawling world of post-punk and new wave, the names Joy Division and New Order are spoken with the reverence reserved for legends. The bands’ influence is immeasurable and their legacy is preserved and celebrated tonight in Liverpool, a city steeped in musical history, with the performance of the seminal Joy Division and New Order compilation albums “Substance”.
Rebelski, the solo project of Peter Hook and the Lights keyboard player Martin Rebelski, takes the stage as the nights support act with an aura of quiet confidence. His performance is an enchanting voyage into sonic landscapes that feel both futuristic and timeless. He effortlessly blends elements of ambient, electronic and classical music into a unique tapestry of sound. His music is both introspective and melancholic, tugging at heartstrings with its tender melodies. Each piece he plays feels like a carefully constructed journey leading me through a range of emotions. Rebelski’s prowess and ability to craft intricate, emotive soundscapes leaves a lasting impression on me and I make a note to check out his future gigs.
Thirty-five years is a significant span of time in the world of music and what better way to pay homage to two seminal compilation albums than with a live performance by the man who shaped their iconic basslines, Peter Hook.
The stage is bathed in ethereal blue lighting, the lights dim, the smoke machine fills the room and the unmistakable drumming and bassline of “Murder” sends a shiver down my spine. The audience, a diverse mix of generations, sway to the melancholic yet irresistible groove as Peter finally joins the rest of the band on stage. “Lonesome Tonight” continues the sombre journey, its haunting vocals and eerie guitar work creating a poignant atmosphere. Peter Hook’s bass, unmistakable as ever, anchoring the songs with its haunting intensity, his vocals adding a raw, emotional layer to the song originally sung by Bernard Sumner. The audience, filled with fervent fans, stand in rapt attention, soaking in the chilling atmospheres that only the songs of New Order and Joy Division can create.
“Mesh” seamlessly flows into “Ceremony”. The song’s infectious rhythm and soaring guitar marking the beginning of a dynamic shift in tonight’s setlist. Originally written during Ian Curtis’s time with Joy Division, it has become a New Order classic. It’s a song that serves as a bridge between both iconic bands. Peter’s vocals tonight capturing the essence of Ian Curtis’s melancholic allure as The Olympia pulsates with energy as if the very spirit of Manchester is in the building.
“Everything’s Gone Green” and “Temptation” transport us into the real beginnings of New Order. The pulsating synths and hypnotic beats of both songs capturing the spirits of our carefree youth tonight and induce dancing throughout the venue. There are moments in music that are almost religious in their significance and the unmistakable intro of “Blue Monday” is one of them. The crowd goes into a frenzy as the song is performed before the funky guitar riffs and steady bassline underpins the hypnotic groove of “Confusion”. The crowd continue to dance proving the song is as irresistible now as it was back in the ’80s.
“The Perfect Kiss” is a moment of sheer exuberance. With its infectious melody and hypnotic beats, the song perfectly captures the sense of longing and euphoria that New Order’s music is known for. Peter Hook’s animated performance and the band’s tight musicianship make this a standout moment of the evening. The audience sing along, swept up in the irresistible melody and the nostalgia it evokes. “Bizarre Love Triangle” and “True Faith” encapsulate the vibrant spirit of the ’80s, the synths and beats are electrifying and the room is a sea of dancing bodies. Peter ‘s vocals bringing a new dimension to the songs.
Returning to the stage for Joy Division’s “Substance”, “No Love Lost” is a powerful reminder of the band’s raw energy. The haunting vocals and aggressive guitar work resonates through the venue and the audience respond with passion. It’s another reminder that Joy Division’s music remains as compelling as ever. “Leaders of Men” and “Digital” maintain the intensity and the crowd thrive on the energy of both songs. Their haunting melodies and frenetic rhythms a reminder of Joy Division’s uncompromising sound.
The thunderous bassline and piercing guitar riffs of “Transmission,” are a direct conduit to the post-punk spirit of Joy Division, Peter’s voice tonight a gritty homage to Ian Curtis. “She’s Lost Control” follows, a song that carries the weight of history with it. Its haunting sound and dark lyrics have always struck a chord with Joy Division fans. The room is consumed by the music and the audience’s response is yet again a testament to the enduring legacy of the band. As “Atmosphere” begins a solemn hush falls over the venue. This Joy Division classic is perhaps one of the most emotive songs the band recorded. The audience sways in unison and Peter’s voice resonate with a haunting quality that sends shivers down the spine. It’s a deeply moving moment that encapsulates the essence of Joy Division’s music.
Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for. One of the greatest songs ever recorded. As the opening notes of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” echo through the venue the room comes alive again and we all sing along passionately. The song, both a celebration and a lament, encapsulates the dual nature of Joy Division’s and New Order’s music and it’s a fitting way to close the set. The melancholic melody and haunting lyric hanging in the air as the band leave the stage.
Tonight’s performance is a remarkable journey through time. The band’s ability to seamlessly transition between the worlds of Joy Division and New Order showcases their musical prowess and for the audience it has been a chance to relive the magic of two iconic bands and celebrate their timeless music. As I leave The Eventim Olympia, I can’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to witness such a remarkable concert. The music of Joy Division and New Order lives on, thanks to the dedication and talent of Peter Hook and the Light. Here’s to another 35 years of celebrating their timeless art.
PETER HOOK AND THE LIGHT
Peter Hook-Vocals and Bass guitar.
Jack Hook-Bass guitar
Martin Potts-Lead guitar
Everything’s Gone Green
Thieves Like Us
The Perfect Kiss
State of the Nation
Bizarre Love Triangle
No Love Lost
Leaders of Men
She’s Lost Control
Love Will Tear Us Apart
FOLLOW PETER HOOK AND THE LIGHT
I’ve loved music since forever. Graphic designer, photographer and artist at painted.papillon.smile (www.ppsdesign.co.uk)