Thursday, February 26
Peter Hook was the bassist in Joy Division and the band that formed from its ashes, New Order. That’s enough reason to want to see him – an icon from that post-punk/new-wave era. He’s running a decent covers-band now, The Light, featuring his son Jack covering for Hook on bass – occasionally Peter’s distinctive tones could be heard as almost an echo – his bass-guitar stance more like a lead guitarist’s or for that matter a soloist than the usual subdued bass role.
People are there for the connection, to stand in the same room as one of the men who was there with Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division. To be in the same breathing space as a man who had a hand in so many of those great pop singles from New Order, the band that didn’t even struggle on after the tragedy of Curtis’ suicide spelling the end of Joy Division but rather found their own fame, forging a new sound.
The main set is two New Order albums in their entirety, 1986’s Brotherhood and the previous year’s Low-Life. It’s a reminder of so many magic moments with songs like The Perfect Kiss and Bizarre Love Triangle arriving as perfect singalong anthems. Thriving still in this day and age.
The generous show started with Hook & The Light performing a set of Joy Division covers – a reminder of the visceral strength of these tunes, removed from the murky production of the albums they stand resplendent as get-you-in-the-mood rock songs.
It was a two and a half hour nostalgia-fest, packed with people clearly “there the first time”, a sea of tour t-shirts and fists pumping.
And it was made all the more remarkable given that Peter Hook really cannot sing. People were cheering who he used to be far more than who he actually is. Peter Hook & The Light is just a shadow of a man’s former self. But to see that shadow cast was what the people wanted.
This review appeared in The Dominion Post – I’ve reposted it here on Off The Tracks due to requests from people wanting to view it online