Peter Hook and the Light at The 1865 on 27.4.2023
Just a brief note for this one – I wanted to mark it – I gave up work earlier in the day. What more can be said about the sounds of Joy Division, this gig being one on the Hooky tour showcasing both the studio albums: Unknown Pleasures and Closer.
It’s both albums in full, Unknown Pleasures first. Before that, no support band but instead a shorter introductory set of New Order songs. Well worth getting there on time for and wrestling for a car park space with the late arrivals for tonight’s Premier League relegation battle at St Mary’s, very close by, between Southampton and Bournemouth (Bournemouth won it.)
An odd day for me this one: this afternoon I left my job and full-time employment, probably forever, to look forward to more years of enjoying life as a grey-haired gig goer. I came back from the office, got changed and with our little car full, drove to tonight’s gig (with SHa, GAl, AFr). No end of term beers tonight – this was another long-standing musical appointment – hadn’t intended to end my career today when I bought the tickets.
The only surprises in the setlist are the New Order component to start – which I take as a big bonus – and perhaps less surprising, the encores. Confusion was my New Order highlight and this section ended with the 1997 Monaco single What Do You Want From Me?, Hooky’s post New Order band, which had two albums – must check those out.
I saw Monaco live once, although I don’t remember it (Reading Festival), never Joy Division, and after a few New Order gigs with and without Peter Hook, I find that in the last three and a bit years, I keep bumping into excellent Peter Hook sets at festivals – Great British Alternative Festival at Butlins 2020; Victorious Festival 2021, Let’s Rock Exeter 2021; Rebellion 2022 and maybe the best of these Shiine Weekend at Butlins 2021. This is the first proper Peter Hook and the Light tour gig I’ve been to though. They have all been great sets, with some more limited on time than others. This is indulgent though – the Joy Divison studio albums. A packed room full of largely male ex-John Peel listeners, of an age, in dark clothes and Doc Martens. There are some young people in here though – all is not lost.
Despite the cool and grumpy look to Hooky over the years he always performs with so much passion and effort. This is a long trio of a set and he is up front an full-on throughout. After all these years he still giving it like he’s touring a debut album, and with a polished band with him (including his son) to give a better live sound than surely any Joy Division performance (just listen to live album Still).
After gorging on this dark feast what then for the encores? Firstly, New Order’s Ceremony, then Transmission (YouTube from Mr Bitz II) and inevitably Love Will Tear Us Apart, the big singles that were not from the studio albums.
I can’t imagine anyone even half liking New Order or Joy Division would be disappointed by a Peter Hook and the Light gig. This was another winner.