“I’m too old for this lark, you are definitely too old for this lark” jokes Peter Hook, former bassist of Joy Division, as he takes to the stage at Coventry’s Kasbah to begin his ‘Celebration to Joy Division’ tour in which he will perform Unknown Pleasures in its entirety.
He’s probably not wrong. Looking around the crowd, it’s packed full of fifty-somethings squeezed into Unknown Pleasures t-shirts that were once baggy. Any doubt about Peter Hook’s ability is dispelled by the opener, ‘No Love Lost’, as it explodes with a crippling dark bassline and the crowd’s chants of ‘Hooky! Hooky!’ are replaced with a thunderous chorus of “I need it, I need it!”. The lyrics are suited for the occasion and following the 2007 New Order meltdown and ongoing war of words between Hook and Sumner, perhaps Hook needs this tour to be a success more than he lets on.
His confidence is undeniable, and why wouldn’t it be? He’s the quintessential British bass player who’s skill shaped Curtis’ poetic yet bleak lyrics into a crafted art form. The band behind him are professional and tight, too and this adds to the occasion. ‘Disorder’ sounds as haunting as it does on record, whilst the opening reverb of ‘New Dawn Fades’ is despondent and menacing and it kick-starts a golden half an hour for Hook & The Light.
The Joy Division hits come thick and fast. ‘She’s Lost Contol’ calms the crowd down and there are awe-struck faces who nod along to the famous drum beat and Hook’s vocal sounds particularly Curtis-like. The harrowing baritone has been adopted by New Order, too, but it sounds particularly threatening when you contrast it with Hook’s usual animalistic growl. ‘Shadowplay’ becomes the highlight of the night, prompting a middle-aged man near me to hit the deck following a violent mosh-pit.
Hook indulges in two encores comprised of entirely Joy Division. ‘Heart & Soul’ gets the old guard appreciatively singing along before ‘Decades’ finishes encore one with an atmospheric and climactic instrumental. “Radio, live transmission” Hook grumbles at the start of encore two, leading to drinks going everywhere come the huge, anthemic chorus. ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, naturally, closes the night and there’s a sense that one of the most heartbreaking songs ever has just been performed. Hook removes his t-shirt, gives a thumbs up to the wild crowd, and disappears off-stage.
A quick look at the set-list shows ‘Ceremony’ (the beautiful unreleased Joy-Division song which was later re-done by New Order) was set to close the night. For whatever reason, Hook felt it was right to end with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Maybe he thought he gave his all into that last song as the crowd disperse singing the chorus back to the stage. It would be hard to disagree with the legendary bassist.
‘No Love Lost’
‘Leaders of Men’
‘Day of the Lords’
‘New Dawn Fades’
‘She’s Lost Control’
‘I Remember Nothing’
‘Heart & Soul’
‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’
James Daniel Rodger
Dance Yrself Clean