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Live Review: Peter Hook & the Light

A little over a year ago Peter Hook, the revered bassist from New Order, put together a live band and treated fans to early New Order material. While there may have been some concern on how he could pull this off without key members from New Order, Hook and his band surpassed expectations with their own raw and rousing renditions that left the crowd exhilarated. When it was announced Peter Hook and the Light were touring again, this time to perform two of New Order’s finest albums, “Low Life” and “Brotherhood,” expectations were re-calibrated and tickets for the show went fast.

In front of a sold out crowd at the Magic Bag, Peter opened the show with some Joy Division, this time selecting some of the older, more obscure songs. Then the band went into the New Order material with a couple unexpected tracks, including “Thieve Like Us,” which was nice to hear since it’s one of my favorites. Moving into “Brotherhood,” actually released after “Low Life,” Peter and his band breathed new life into the tracks and again brought a raw authenticity to them. The obvious difference with a Peter Hook show is the absence of Bernard’s vocals but I think Hook has an adequate vocal and his guitarist very effectively adds his vocal to compensate. With the amazing bass playing from both Peter Hook and his son, Jack, combined with euphoric interplay of the entire band it’s easy to overlook and differences and focus on the brilliance of the performance.

That brilliance was put into full effect when the band move into the “Low Life” album and did an absolutely stunning version of “The Perfect Kiss.” I always thought about these New Order songs as complicated studio productions but Hook and his band manage to re-work them into effective live tracks with dazzling instrument breaks and go-for-it-all endings. For “Elegia” the instrumental track, Peter took a seat and his bass became the centerpiece of the song which washed over the audience with intensity and beauty. The set ended with lively versions of “Subculture” and Face Up.” The encore included the up to this point conspicuously absent, “True Faith,” everybody’s favorite New Order song, “Temptation,” and no New Order set would be complete without “Blue Monday” as the closer. By the end of the show, Peter Hook and the Light had played for over 2 ½ hours with the crowd enjoying every minute of it.

Review and Pics by Mikel O.D. of MPAD Media