By Carron Stacey
WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE: The Brook, Southampton
I knew he was good live (I saw him at Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival) and I knew the likely set list (I’ve done my research). Yet still Hooky managed to blow my mind with his buzzing set that leaves me, two days later, almost in shellshock. (See what I did there?)
Opening with a Joy Division ‘support act’, the first thing to strike me was the audience. There’s something special about seeing a mid-50s geeky man pogoing to Transmission. You could see the music really meant something, you could feel his connection with it. Hooky’s voice is well suited to Ian Curtis’s low tones, from Ceremony through to Decades via She’s Lost Control – I never thought I’d hear these songs live.
Ten minutes off and it’s time for the New Order set – their fourth album, Brotherhood, Bizarre Love Triangle a highlight for me. Then into Low-Life, their third album (Hooky says it sounds better out of chronological order). I know these songs, but it takes hearing Hooky play them to realise just how much his bass is central to them, playing bass solos in some cases. Watching him play the high notes was mesmerising (I was in the third ‘row’ of the audience so this was easy, though my neck ached afterwards!). His band were tight, his son playing bass too, and his guitarist singing the more ‘Bernardy’ songs.
At Victorious, they gifted us with Blue Monday, however it’s not on any of the setlists so far, but they get round that – it’s put on as a teaser in instrumental form during the wait for the encore. Thieves Like Us, my all time favourite New Order track was my moment at the gig. I just could’ve stayed and listened to that all night. True Faith had the younger element roaring along, Temptation went down brilliantly and was their scheduled last song. I’m sure they don’t do this at all of their gigs, but they must’ve enjoyed The Brook so much that they included Love Will Tear Us Apart as the finale. I understand why he wouldn’t want to play it all the time, but it did hit the spot. With an extra build-up and lead guitar part, we all threw our hands up and sang our hearts out.
On a Joy Division documentary we caught later that night by chance, Tony Wilson said that the band weren’t afraid to mix rock and dance and you could tell that by the dancing. You just couldn’t remain still. Hooky certainly doesn’t; as soon as he sees a camera, he’s strutting and posing mid-strum for our benefit. What a presence. What a gig. What a god.
- Peter Hook and the Light are on a European tour. Ticket details here.
- Carron tweets @AHumdrumMum