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Show Review: Peter Hook and the Light at the Magic Bag, Wed. 9/11/2013

Let's start this review by telling anyone out there that skipped out on this show because “it was just the bass player from New Order and not the full band” how you really screwed up and missed out on one of the best shows of the year. There is a sorted back story for why Peter Hook isn’t touring with New Order that is really neither here nor there. What matters is Peter Hook and his backing band the Light have put together a set of songs pulling from the Movement and Power, Corruption and Lies albums that reminded me what was so special about those early records while also putting his own distinctive spin on every track.

Before they even took to the stage, you could tell the show was going to feature a good bit of bass, as of the five guitars set prominently on stage, 4 of them were bass guitars. The show began with a surprise for most as the advertised “Slaves of Venus” was really a special set of Peter Hook and the Light playing a selection of Joy Division tracks which set the early crowd off to a roaring start. I’ve never had the chance to hear Joy Division music played live and Peter Hook’s version of it is  (excuse the pun) closer than I could have hoped for.  His backing the Light is a tight bunch of musicians he has been touring the past few years with and includes his son, Jack, on bass, along with Peter playing emphasis notes on his sticker-covered bass.

After the Joy Division set the band went back stage for about 20 minutes as Magic Bag began to fill to capacity and several of the late comers groaned over what they had already missed. While Movement was never a favorite New Order record of mine I have to hand it to Hooky, I was able to see the album is a new light, hearing some of the elements of songs that would later make up the perfect dance music New Order would go on later to create. Peter made mention of the importance of playing on 9/11 and said he was going to remember by playing his longest set of the tour.

Following the songs of Movement, the band took another few minutes break before going into their coup de grace Power, Corruption and Lies.  “Age of Consent” one of my favorite New Order songs, kicks off the album and Hook with his band kicking it harder with the vocals a little rough around the edges and guitars blazing through extended jamming at the end. As they went on playing the album, the synths became more noticeable, taking full presence on the intro to “5-8-6." The remaining songs of the set included moving takes on “Your Silent Face” and the album closer “Leave Me Alone.”

The encore included the remix of “the Beach” played on the speakers as the band took one last break before launching into “Ceremony” which brought the loudest cheer of the night. He followed it with “Temptation,”  the song everyone sang along with and where it seemed like Peter was putting a special emphasis on the “and I’ve never met anyone quite like you before” lines as he gazed appreciatively at the crowd. The band wrapped up the show with a foot stomping version of “Blue Monday” with Peter playing his heaviest bass lines of the night.

The show was a full 2 and half hours long. At the end Peter took off his shirt, which said “GEEK” in big letters, and threw it out to the crowd. While the band was packing up he came back out to shake hands and sign autographs to a crowd that hung around to say thank you for the incredible night.

Post by Mikel O.D. of MPAD MEDIA.