Peter Hook and the Light at Rock City, Nottingham, February 7, 2019 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Peter Hook and the Light

Peter Hook and the Light at Rock City, Nottingham, February 7, 2019,

Feb 15, 2019 Photography by Paul Mason-Smith Web Exclusive
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As the man single-handedly responsible for inaugurating the driving bass line to a multitude of post punk bands over the past four decades, Peter Hook needs little by way of introduction. He was a founder member of both Joy Division and New Order, arguably two of the most influential acts to emerge during and after punk’s initial fury. His unceremonious departure from the latter and subsequent court case over the use of the band’s name may have dragged on for years, but that hasn’t stopped Hook from doing what he does best.

While his former bandmates continue to make music as New Order, Hook has revisited every nook and cranny of his former bands’ distinctive back catalogues and as a result, created one of the most engrossing shows on the circuit. Together with his band The Light, they’ve spent the past nine years delving into the archives yet always found ways to keep the sets fresh. Sure, there are always going to be elements that breed nostalgia and it would be churlish to suggest otherwise. But by the same token, having such a vast canon of work to choose from means it doesn’t always have to be about “the hits.”

With son Jack Bates on bass playing duties with The Smashing Pumpkins at present, sometime Chameleons member Yves Altana is filling in on this tour. The line up is completed by long term associates David Potts and Paul Kehoe, both former associates of Hook from his Monaco days, as well as Doves’ keyboard player Martin Rebelski. Since forming the band in 2010, Hook has extensively toured each Joy Division and New Order album in chronological order, starting with Unknown Pleasures through to Brotherhood while more recently incorporating the Substance best ofs, both of which separately compile artefacts from the two bands.

For his show at Rock City in Nottingham, Hook returned to the New Order catalogue for 1989’s fifth album Technique and its successor four years later, Republic-two albums whose commercial success firmly established the band as a potent force to be reckoned with having both hit the heady heights of number one on the official UK album chart. The former arrived at the height of Manchester’s indie dance crossover boom where the latter scaled the axis between grunge and Britpop.

The show was bookended by two sets of material from both Joy Division and New Order that’s as obscure (“Something Must Break”) and unexpected (“World In Motion” complete with Hook himself taking on the John Barnes rap) as it is obvious (“Love Will Tear Us Apart” bringing the evening to a euphoric end). Of the album sets, it’s probably fair to say Technique received a warmer welcome than Republic. A record that documented New Order’s foray into the acid house scene dominating clubland at the time, even now those opening bars of “Fine Time” are among the most rhythmically infectious set to tape.

Songs like “Run” and “Vanishing Point” also sound as invigorating as when first released some 30 years ago, while “Round and Round” and “Guilty Partner” also stand out as fine exhibits of intelligently crafted pop with the appeal to captivate music fans of any given genre.

Republic on the other hand is a strange beast. It’s by no means a bad record but placed side-by-side with Technique it can pale into insignificance at times. A massive seller on release preceded by one of New Order’s finest and best loved singles “Regret,” yet at the same time it probably wouldn’t feature at the top of many fans’ favorite album lists.

Nevertheless, Hook and band do it more than justice this evening, even amidst a background of noise and chatter from an audience whose interest had waned once its four singles were dispatched. However, their loss is our gain, and while an opening salvo of the aforementioned “Regret” and “World (the Price of Love)” was always going to be difficult to follow, enthusiastic versions of “Young Offender,” “Liar,” and “Times Change” reminded us why we fell in love with Republic in the first place.

With just two more albums (that Hook played on) left to go, 2001’s Get Ready and his 2005 swansong, Waiting For the Sirens Call, it will be interesting to see what kind of response awaits should he decide to tour them in the future.

For now though, this is as good if not better than the present New Order set up. Long may it continue.

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