Peter Hook & The Light at Leopardstown – Review

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peter-hookPeter Hook has stated that his mission with his band The Light is to play every song that he has ever recorded with Joy Division, New Order, Monaco and various other side projects that he’s been involved in over the years. This has seen him move on to playing New Order’s early albums over the past year or so with The Light. But with the band currently between New Order album sets at the moment, the crowd at Leopardstown were treated to a set made up entirely of Joy Division songs on Thursday evening.

Looking in remarkably good shape for a man approaching 60, Hooky arrived on stage with his red bass slung low in his trademark fashion, informing the crowd that he had just won €2 on the horses. This was the last thing he would say to the crowd for a while as the unmistakable cascading drums of Atmosphere opened proceedings.

The rolling toms and wailing guitar of Atrocity Exhibition were up next as The Light eased themselves in to a set that they seemed to enjoy as they found their groove, with Hooky indulging in some leg kicks during a punky version of No Love Lost. That punky aesthetic continued on Leaders of Men with Hook spitting out the lyrics in a vitriolic manner that offered a different perspective on the song to the original version that featured the iconic Ian Curtis on vocals.

While Hooky is no Ian Curtis vocally, he manages to stamp his own personality on the songs and it’s still a joy to hear these legendary tunes played by one of the original members of the band. He’s ably supported on the night by The Light who feature his son Jack Bates on bass (Hooky does join in on bass when he’s not singing) and most notably his former partner in Monaco Dave Potts, whose guitar playing is a joy to witness all night.

The gig kicked up a notch with a raucous version of Digital, that is sped up and sounds closer to the way Joy Division played it live rather than the recorded version. It got a number of people at the front pogoing and received the biggest cheer of the night so far at its conclusion.

That response seemed to spur on the band with Hooky declaring “I’m ready boys” before unleashing a primal roar to introduce a blistering version of Disorder, which featured some superb buzz saw guitar riffs from Potts. His guitar playing was also to the fore during a storming rendition of She’s Lost Control, with his grinding overdriven chords trading licks with that glorious chorus pedal bass riff while Hooky delivered the lines with a snarl, in contrast to the declamatory style that Curtis favoured on the recorded version.

There was a poignant moment towards the end of the set with Hook paying tribute to Annick Honoré, the former girlfriend of Ian Curtis, whose funeral had taken place earlier that day. “Good bless you Annick. I hope you find the answer to your questions,” said Hook before playing 24 Hours, a song that he informs the crowd was Honoré’s favourite Joy Division song. This is followed, quite appropriately, with Ian Curtis’s favourite song, These Days, before the main set was closed out with a pounding version of Shadowplay.

The band weren’t off stage for long before they reemerged for a three song encore that kicked off with a delirious version of Ceremony that had the crowds bouncing, before being followed up with an equally rousing Transmission. There was only one song that was going to end the night of course and the whole crowd gleefully sang along to every word of Love Will Tear Us Apart, dedicated “to all the ladies in the audience.”

Peter Hook has had his troubles in the past; he’s had his struggles with alcohol and his relationship with his former bandmates in New Order is fraught to say the least but he seems to be in a good place now. Happy in his own skin and clearly loving touring the world, playing the iconic songs that he was such a big part of creating, it’s great to see him in such good form. He even took the time after the gig to come to the back of the stage to chat to fans and pose for photos. He seems like a genuinely nice guy and it’s great to see a nice guy enjoying himself and doing what he loves.

 

Mark O'Brien

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