PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT - Cardiff Tramshed
March 17th 2017

To be a member of a generation defining band is no mean feet, but to be in two takes some beating. So step forward Peter Hook bass-playing behemoth in both Joy Division and New Order. Whilst things did not end amicably with the other members of New Order, it cannot be denied that Hook played a big part in both bands that brought the post-punk movement to national attention and then helped rock reinvent itself by an unexpected marriage with dance music.

Since 2007, and his acrimonious split from long time collaborator Bernard Sumner, Hook has toured relentlessly with his new band The Light, largely consisting of members of one of his side projects Monaco, including his son Jack Bates on bass. To date he has chronologically run through the recording history of both his former bands and has now arrived at Substance, New Orders 1987 compilation album that compiled all of the band's singles and b-sides to that point. Whilst that would normally be sufficient material for most bands, Hook is known for his lengthy set lists. So added to the already formidable repertoire of songs was a run through of Joy Division greatest hits.

It seems pointless to go individually through the 31 songs performed over the two and a half hours the band were on the stage. However, beforehand I mused on whether the more upbeat, dance-orientated, New Order numbers would have sat better in the second half of the show, following the more, introverted, down beat, Joy Division songs. In reality though, it worked perfectly.

In the past it was quite apparent that Hook's voice struggled to reach the high notes required in several of the songs. But he has now co-opted the services of David Potts to share the load. Not only does this help the cause, but gives Hook more time to prowl the stage throwing his famous rock star poses to the adoring audience.

For me, highlights in the New Order section were the bass driven intro to Ceremony, the crowd bellowed chorus of Temptation, the inevitable Blue Monday and the dance inducing True Faith. The fact that the services of a drummer was dispensed with for several songs in this section of the show indicates how reliant New Order were on keyboards, drum machines and sequencers at this stage in their career

However, I was always going to take more from the Joy Division tracks, being a band that were a defining influence on my generation. It is difficult now to imagine how different songs such as These Days, Transmission, She's Lost Control, Incubation and Atmosphere were when they came out. Dark, complex, introverted songs that flew in the face of the year zero three chord thrash that had resulted from the musical renaissance that was punk.

The best was left till last with Love Will Tear Us Apart. Whilst Blue Monday may have rewritten the musical record books, this is the one true classic written by either band and has truly stood the test of time since it was released nearly four decades ago. Inevitably the crowd were itching to be involved and large sections of the song were handed over to them with little accompaniment from the band. The almost guttural raw that emanated from the crowd at the end showed how much this song meant to so many people. Truly spine tingling stuff and worth coming out on a miserable, rainy Welsh evening.