Peter Hook and The Light | Review

Peter Hook and The Light | Review

Limelight, Belfast • 02 December ’17

By Neil Trelford • Photos: Bernie McAllister

As the festive lights twinkle on in the run-up to Christmas, Peter Hook and The Light illuminate the stage of Belfast’s iconic venue, The Limelight.

Hooky’s annual pilgrimage preaches the gospel of both his old and new testaments to an eclectic crowd of New Order and Joy Division fans. It’s a gathering that have turned up in serious numbers ready to be born again.

Tonight is a celebration of Substance, an album title that personified both Joy Division and New Order in an inextricable identity.

Hooky deliberately engineers the audience back to the early 80s with his introduction to life in New Order with ‘Chosen Time’. It’s a song from New Order’s first album Movement which is fraught with the band’s coming to terms with their sparkling but devastating past.

Cruising through ‘Procession’ and ‘Cries And Whispers’ the camp catalyst ‘Ceremony’ is polished with no mercy shown and the first sing-a-long of the night is induced.

‘Ceremony’ was a raw Joy Division track that Bernard Sumner and New Order buffed into their first single release. It was truly a song that epitomised the tears, travesty and admiration of their extraordinary friend and leader, Ian Curtis.

Peter doesn’t try to mimic Ian or Bernard in the vocal department but ensures that his current band, The Light, is on the same distinctive tune as his former bandmates.

A swell of transient dancing breaks out to the undeniable 80s king dance-floor filler ‘Blue Monday.  ‘How does it feel?, well judging by the crowd’s reception, truly wonderful and as coherent as it’s famed biggest selling 12 inch single status of that time.

The band coerce the reminiscent revellers through the Hacienda years with punchy renditions of ‘The Perfect Kiss’, ‘Subculture’ and the psychedelic ‘Shellshock’ before the New Order crescendo of indie classics ‘ True Faith’ and ‘1963’.

A gulp of an intermission blockades the emergence of the old testament and Joy Division. Blazing in with ‘No Love Lost’, a track featured on their first E.P. An Ideal For Living.

Joy Division’s bitter launch into the post-punk era continues with some notable dynamic modern cleanups of ‘Heart And Soul’; ‘These Days’ and ‘Warsaw’.

Then as ‘Leaders Of Men’ paves the way towards the first of the night’s real fist pumpers ‘Transmission’ the Limelight’s ensemble are justly hooked. The uniqueness of Ian Curtis’s vocals are somewhat recreated tragically in the epileptic ‘She’s Lost Control’.

Then with classic sombre versions of ‘Incubation’ and ‘Dead Souls’, the bass maestro Hook pays tribute to his dear comrade, soul mate and leader of men by dedicating a rapturous version of ‘Atmosphere’ to the one and only Ian Curtis. It’s a poignant moment that exemplifies Hooky to his humble roots and no more words are required as his donning of a Joy Division t-shirt idolising an acclaimed image of Ian Curtis.

And with such a sentimental note, Peter Hook and The Light, dim out in true glorifying homage with a spine-tingling detonation of the timeless and still ground-breaking classic ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.

Neil Trelford (Author of The Youth Club)


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